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Series / Power Rangers: Dino Thunder

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"Dino Thunder, Power Up!"
"White Ranger, Dino Power!"
Morphing calls, Power Rangers Dino Thunder

It's the first day of school in Reefside, and three students have already run afoul of the Sadist Teacher and are given detention. Thankfully, the new biology teacher doesn't want to be stuck with watching them, so he tells them that if they go out and bring back something prehistoric for his paleontology studies, he'll call it off. During their search, they stumble into a secret lab and decide to swipe some ancient-looking gemstones to fill the requirement.

The good news here is that the gems were infused with energies from the impact that wiped out the dinosaurs, and have already "bonded" with the students, giving them superpowers. The bad news is that a saurian Mad Scientist wants their power to start a new age of dinosaurs and is coming after the kids. The really bad news is that the gems are Loyal Phlebotinum, and taking their power requires killing the current hosts.

The really, really good news is that the new bio teacher is none other than Dr. Thomas James Oliver, known to his friends as "Tommy", and a man with a little experience with these matters.

Doug Sloan, Ann Austen, Jackie Marchand, and Jason David Frank all return in season 12 of Power Rangers, based on Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger. The dinosaur motif apparently made everyone nostalgic and as the season also boasted the 500th episode (a clipshow episode where the show recapped each incarnation of the franchise in a condensed manner) and a rarity in the form of an episode of Abaranger, which was given a Gag Dub as far as being a show within a show.

The series is generally considered to be one of the strongest seasons of the Disney Era (alongside RPM) and up there with some of the most beloved seasons, with fun, strong characters and a wonderful team dynamic between them. It was far from free of problems, though: due to contract issues, Jason David Frank only really appeared in half of the season, with the character spending most of the season frozen in amber or invisible/only visible in morphed form.

But, come on, everyone knows Tommy is the most morphinomenal Ranger EVER.

Dino Thunder is the last Power Rangers season to date, and the only one of the Disney Era to have full team-ups with the preceding and succeeding seasons. Also of note is that this is the second Power Rangers season to only have one female Ranger. She more than made up for it, though, and appeared in the Milestone Celebration episode "Once A Ranger" as a representative of this season.

Dino Thunder was also the last to feature actor Pua Magasiva as Shane Clarke before his death in 2019.

It was followed by Power Rangers S.P.D..

Recurring Power Rangers tropes include:

  • Aborted Arc: Early in the season, Mesogog states that since Tommy had a part in creating the Tyrannodrones, the latter would find a way to use them against him. This never happens, and it is never brought up again.
  • Action Girl: Kira is the sole female Ranger who gets busy beating the daylights out of Mesogog and his goons with her comrades and friends.
  • Actor Allusion: In "Lost and Found in Translation," the English voice of the Japanese Blue Ranger is provided by Jorge Vargas (Blake, the Navy Thunder Ranger in Power Rangers Ninja Storm).
  • An Aesop: Lost And Found In Translation has a rare moral on Fandom Rivalries, in that you should enjoy fiction for what it is and don't let your biases overcome you.
    • Also in that episode, Kira comments she's starting to see the moral here; Conner bitterly replies "What, that Power Rangers are doofuses?" Kira points out that it's "Money isn't everything."
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Zeltrax trashes the Dino Lab
    • Also in one of the few inversions of this trope in the entire PR series: the Rangers storm Mesogog's base and are able to destroy it.
  • Animal-Motif Team: They have motifs of dinosaurs, consisting of the tyrannosaurus (The Red Ranger: Connor McKnight), triceratops (The Blue Ranger: Ethan James), pteradon (The Yellow Ranger: Kira Ford), brachiosaurus (The Black Ranger: Dr. Tommy Oliver) and The White Ranger, Trent Fernandez-Mercer, whose dino motif was not givennote .
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: All of the Rangers have superpowers and are based on dinosaurs.
  • Big Bad: Mesogog is the main villain of this Power Rangers series.
  • Brains Versus Brawn: The Leader Conner is a Jerk Jock to Jerk with a Heart of Gold, who often mocks The Lancer Ethan for his lack of interest in athletics while Ethan (The Smart Guy and Black and Nerdy) finds Conner's disinterest in academics to be immature. In "Leader of the Whack", the two are transformed into the opposite of their default personalities, with the implication that on some level, a part of them wishes to explore the opposite of who they present to the outside world.
  • Chest Insignia: The team dinosaur-footprint logo on the chest; the White Ranger has a version on his belt instead and the Triassic Ranger version is modified to look like a Styracosaur head.
  • City of Adventure: Reefside
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Had a run in the UK Jetix Magazine and Power Rangers Magazine.
    • A Cine-Manga was published by Tokyopop.
  • Compressed Adaptation: Was given 38 episodes to Abaranger's 50. This included an original two-part team-up with Ninja Stormnote .
  • The Dragon: Co-Dragons Elsa and Zeltrax
  • Finishing Move
  • Five-Token Band: Two Caucasians, an African-American, a Native Americannote , and an Asian (Filipino).
  • Fleeting Demographic Rule: It's been 11 years since the last dinosaur-themed Rangers.
    • It's played with, however, mostly because of Tommy's return.
  • Home Base: The Dino Lab under Tommy's house
  • Humongous Mecha: As always, the Rangers have giant robotic Zords that combine to form a giant robot called a Megazord.
    • Animal Mecha: Of the prehistoric variety.
    • Combining Mecha: The main trio have the Thundersaurus Megazord, and Trent joins the Drago and Stegozords into the Dino Stegozord; both of them can then combine (with some Mezodon parts) into the Valkasaurus Megazord. The Mezodon Megazord can also team with the Expansion Pack mecha to form the Triceramax Megazord.
    • Mecha Expansion Pack: The Parasaurzord, Cephalozord, Dimetrozord, and Ankylozord. The Stegozord is also an expansion for the Thundersaurus Megazord, but is mostly used as a main component for the Dino Stegozord.
    • Transforming Mecha: the Mezodon Rover
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: The Red Ranger usually gets most of the cool toys, but Conner gets a power-up by taking power from the rest of the team (at least at first) to become the Triassic Ranger, and then the Triassic Ranger has its own Battlizer. Plus not only does his Tyrannozord form the bulk of the main Megazord, but his Triassic-mode "Mezodon" (Styracosaurus, which was actually from the Late Cretaceous) zord forms a Megazord in itself.
    • Funnily enough, the one time an upgrade goes to someone else (Ethan's Hovercraft Cycle), you have Conner commenting that he wants one of those.
  • Limited Wardrobe: After Tommy gets the Black Ranger powers, he notes that he's going to have to go shopping for black clothing. It's the first acknowledgement of the Ranger tradition of color-coordinated civilian outfits and a massive Lampshade Hanging.
    • Interesting note: before this, we see him wearing nothing but BLACK. Also of note is that despite the themed coloring, there is variation in what outfits each ranger is wearing. Also, some of their friends like Hayley utterly subvert this.
  • Make My Monster Grow: The franchise's tradition of defeated monsters being revived as giants is done with Mesogog's hydro-regenerator, which shoots a seed into the air, creating clouds that rain down a growth chemical.
  • Mentor Archetype: Tommy serves as the mentor of the Dino Rangers.
  • Mini Dress Of Power: Part of the Yellow Ranger's costume.
  • Mooks: Tyrannodronesnote ; also Triptoids a few times.
  • Motifs: Dinosaurs
    • Dinosaurs Are Dragons: Trent's mecha is called the "Dragozord", despite clearly being a pterosaur (specifically, a tupuxuara).
    • Whateversaurus: The Thundersaurus Megazord. Kira also ad-libs "morphasaurus" when she's at a dino dig and needs an excuse to pull Tommy away.
  • Never Say "Die": For the most part, played straight as usual; however, when Anton Mercer first arrives, Tommy flat out states that he thought he was dead.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Partially subverted since the bulk of the main cast was either American or Canadian. The main culprit this time was James Napier, who seemed to slip with every other line.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: A jock, a nerd, a rocker, an artist, and their badass teacher.
    • Cassidy herself notes this early on, wondering why the jock, the nerd and the rocker are all hanging out together.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!!: Power Rangers with DINOSAURS... AGAIN!
  • Stock Footage:
    • There are the usual issues in recycling footage from an entirely different show, but this season clashed with some intended story beats and forced the creators to find workarounds: the White Ranger Clone was created to keep in step with the fact that AbareKiller remained an enemy throughout Abaranger, and plans to make the Triassic Ranger a proper Sixth Ranger had to be scrapped because it clashed with AbareMax-as-powerup footage too much.
    • Plus little things left over from Abaranger being Japanese. In "Beneath the Surface", Conner tries to justify some especially Japanese-flavored footage with "It's attacking Little Tokyo!" "A Ranger Exclusive" has a TV station control room staffed by all Asian guys. And one use of the Triassic Dimension leaves a character plummeting to Earth - over Japan.
  • Super Mode: Super Dino Mode. It was available from the start in the source material, but here it was held back until later. Almost parodied with Conner, as he also has the Triassic Ranger mode and then a Battlizer on top of Triassic Ranger.
  • Thememobile:
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: Subverted in "Game On" when Conner is blasted (incidentally sending him on an inconsistent trajectory).
  • True Companions: Conner, Kira, Ethan, and Trent become this.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React: As is the norm for the franchise, we generally get a MOTW appearing with an Evil Plan Once an Episode, with our heroes then arriving on the scene to stop them.

This subseries contains examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Kira's nightmare from "In Your Dreams" features a crocodile monster who's crazy in love with her.
  • Aborted Arc: Trent slowly starts to get overtaken by the evil White Dino Gem and eventually joins forces with Mesogog, which puts him at odds with his adoptive father, Anton. Once Trent is abruptly accused of treachery by Mesogog, however, the villain slowly kills Trent using a laser until Anton transforms back and intervenes, with the resulting chaos leading to the evil encoding of the White Dino Gem being destroyed and Trent becoming a more straightforward hero.
  • Academy of Adventure: Reefside High, where most of the action takes place.
  • Acid Reflux Nightmare: Tommy initially blames his nightmare in "In Your Dreams" on the calamari he had for dinner.
  • Adapted Out:
    • The Raptor Riders weren't cut out of the show entirely like some Sentai elements have been, but they were upstaged only a few episodes after their introduction by the Raptor Cycles and only made a few minor appearances. The same goes for the Triptoids, who made a couple token appearances but were otherwise replaced by the Tyrannodrones.
    • Of the Abaranger villains Geilton (adapted as Zeltrax, who wasn't even a character in Abaranger, but just a suit of armor) and Jannu (adapted as Elsa) remained as major villains discounting Trent and the Evil White Ranger's ordeal; Lije wasn't adapted at all while Mikaela, Voffa and their combined form were all Demoted to Extra. Mesogog technically counts as Dezumozorya's counterpart as the Big Bad of the show but he's so drastically different to his equivalent that he might as well be a completely original character.
    • The Dino Zords do not retain the unique personalities and characteristics their Sentai counterparts had.
    • Mai, Ryunosuke and Emiri don't receive any individual specific counterparts; Ryonosuke's role is merged with Asuka's and given to Tommy Oliver and Hayley, Emiri is sort-of adapted into Devin and Cassidy, while Mai is completely left out; mainly because Conner here is a teenager rather than a young adult.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: In Abaranger, Stegoslidon (The Stegozord's Super Sentai counterpart) willing defected to AbareKiller (The White Ranger's counterpart) under the prospect of becoming more powerful through combining with AbareKiller's partner, TopGaler while actually doing so to keep an eye out on Mikoto to prevent him from getting himself killed in his games. However, in Dino Thunder, no such explanation exists as to why the evil White Ranger suddenly gains control of the Stegozord following his fight with Conner, especially as the explicit sapience of the Zords is all but outright removed.
  • Adventures in Comaland: "Fighting Spirit"
  • Aliens in Cardiff: The location of the Abyss of Evil was revealed to be somewhere in western Fresno County in California (which is the perfect place to put a secret ninja academy).
  • All-Natural Gem Polish: Averted, at least somewhat. All the Dino Gems are brightly colored and not dirty at all, but only the White Gem that Mesogog specially prepared is cut. Tommy obviously never bothered with the ones he found.
  • Alpha Bitch: Cassidy. Becomes a Lovable Alpha Bitch halfway through.
  • Always Someone Better: The Ninja Storm Wind Rangers have a year's greater worth of experience than the Dino Rangers, so it comes as little surprise when they end up dominating the latter in their first fight after being brainwashed by Lothor. The Dino Rangers end up on a more even playing field in their rematch, but Cam and the Thunder Rangers cut things off before they can get too destructive.
  • And Starring: Jason David Frank
  • Bad Santa: Conner's nightmare in "In Your Dreams"
  • Badass Longcoat: Mesogog wears a long coat in all of his appearances.
  • Badass Teacher: Tommy is a biology teacher who later joins the Dino Thunder Rangers in stopping Mesogog, but at the end of the season decides to live the quiet life teaching. Again.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: Tommy fights his past Ranger selves in his mind while he's physically unconscious in "Fighting Spirit".
  • Beam-O-War: Tori vs. Kira, except it's water against sound.
  • Big Good: Tommy takes on this role as the mentor to the new team, and they note that without him, they would likely not survive their battle with Mesogog.
  • Black and Nerdy: Ethan is a black guy and an expert in tech and gaming.
  • Bowdlerise: Jason Frank wasn't allowed to use his trademark Kiai ("Aiyah! Si-aiyah!") because Disney was convinced he was swearing.
  • Boxing Kangaroo: The Cephalozord is used as a dinosaur version. It even gives the Megazord, more or less, a superpowered punch.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy:
    • Lothor somehow has the means to do this to the Wind Rangers after he escapes from the Abyss.
    • This happens to Kira in "The Missing Bone", courtesy of a MOTW with mind control powers.
    • The finale reveals that Elsa was a case of being brainwashed to Mesogog's side all along.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • At the end of one episode, Tommy thanks the Rangers for hanging in with him. Because of camera set up, he's looking directly down the camera while talking to them. His lines from memory:
    Tommy: I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for hanging in there with me. I know it's been a while. It means a lot to me.
    • ... And let's not forget Mesogog snarling at the viewer in the opening credits!
  • Chained by Fashion: referenced in "Back In Black":
    Zeltrax: You're not getting through that portal unless you're in chains!
    Kira: I might be able to pull that look off, but these guys? No way!
  • Chekhov's Gunman: All of the Ninja Storm Rangers, first seen and mentioned in Episode 4, soon become important later on during the "Thunder Storm" two-parter.
  • Clark Kenting: Elsa/Principal Randall doesn't have to do much to disguise herself and keep other from finding out her true nature as Mesogog's general. Lampshaded:
    Conner: I can't believe we didn't work it out! They look exactly the same, except one wears glasses.
    Ethan: Hey, Clark Kent and Superman look the same, but no one ever puts that together.
  • Clingy Costume: This happened to Tommy when Jason David Frank was unavailable except for voiceovers for a while.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: Trent's Dino Gem and morpher are this when the White Ranger was his Superpowered Evil Side. The accident that broke the gem's control was implied to have fixed this problem, too.
  • Clip Show: Two: "Legacy of Power", the 500th episode that recapped every previous season; and "A Test of Trust", which recapped Trent's actions throughout the season.
  • Cool Teacher: They don't come any cooler than the man who wrote the book on being a Power Ranger. This is the man who, it has been noted, could now, make an entire team of rangers just from past powers.
  • Continuity Nod: Tommy and Kira find a photograph of the original team. Kira laughs at his long hair.
    • Ninja Storm also gets a shoutout in the premiere:
      Mesogog: The citizens of Reefside will think that idiot Lothor has returned.
    • And then the Crossover episode drove that home.
    • Tommy's Dino Morpher works differently than the others. His is activated by inserting a key and turning it. You know, like the last one he used.
    • A subtle one to Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. Zordon mentioned that two identical Pink Rangers in the same place and same time would be dangerous. When there are two White Rangers with the exact same powers existing at the same time, it begins to make one breakdown completely, forcing a battle to the death between the two.
  • Contractual Genre Blindness: Tommy, for not suggesting that the Rangers check for somebody who has started wearing white once the White Ranger shows up. Especially bad considering his Lampshade Hanging earlier in the series.
    • Like Tommy though, Trent already wore a lot of his Ranger color before he ever became a Ranger.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Anton Mercer is teased as one.
  • Cute Bruiser: Kira is the team's Yellow Ranger with all the cute looks of a high school girl.
  • Dark Secret: Trent, the White Drago Ranger, is the adoptive son of Anton Mercer, a.k.a. Mesogog.
  • Dating Service Disaster: "A Star Is Torn" sees Ethan sign up for a dating service site. To no troper's surprise, he's set up with Cassidy. What is surprising is that they go with it for the next few episodes, leading directly to her Character Development.
  • Death Glare: Tommy gives Trent one when the rest of the team finds out the above.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Cassidy
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Dezumozorya, the main villain of Abaranger is technically adapted as Mesogog, but the latter barely has any similarities to him. As for the forms he takes, not only are two of them (Lijewel's monster form and Dezumovoorla) reduced to mere minor unconnected threats with only one, Friggia, getting a name, but his final form is adapted as merely Zeltrax's powerful Megazord which has no mind of its own and is fully controlled by the cyborg warrior, the opposite of the situation in Abaranger.
    • Because the Dino Zords are void of personality unlike their Super Sentai counterparts, they do not get much focus.
  • Depraved Kids' Show Host: The Funky Fisherman in "It's a Mad, Mad, Mackerel" is a G-rated version, as he's more cranky than anything else. Downplayed in that he learns to change his attitude by the end of the episode.
  • Deus ex Machina: Multiple, sometimes more than one for the same problem because the first one didn't solve it and almost always with a more logical alternative already introduced in the story.
  • E = MC Hammer: Some of Dr. O's lessons.
  • Evasive Fight-Thread Episode: The first time the Dino team fights the brainwashed Wind Rangers, it's an aversion — the Dinos lose badly. The second time (unmorphed) is a little more even, and the other Ninja Storm Rangers interrupt before they can morph.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Replicant Zord was the dark version of the Thundersaurus Megazord after Ugly Monster transferred itself into the robot.
  • Evil Knockoff: The White Drago Ranger clone is Trent in his White Drago Ranger form, but as a clone working with the villains.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Brainwashed Trent/White Ranger Clone speaks in a deep voice tone when working with Mesogog.
  • Evil Teacher: Elsa as Principal Randall turns out to be one of the villains working for Mesogog.
  • Expy: Trent is a Ranger with a chest shield and a dragon Zord who starts out evil due to being Brainwashed and Crazy but then joins the team he once fought against, much like Tommy did.
  • Fantasy Helmet Enforcement:
    • There's one instance of a helmet appearing out of nowhere between shots, when Tommy has to drive a barely-conscious Elsa out of the area on an ATV. Presumably, this would've been Disney-ABC's BS&P department interfering.
    • In the very first episode, Tommy also makes a point of fastening his seat belt before driving off even though the freaking Tyrannosaur chasing him seemed to be the greater safety hazard. Lampshaded by the man himself: "Yeah, lock the door, Tommy. Real good."
    • In a jeep with the top down no less! Red Racer would be proud.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: The main trio fits this trope with their civilian powers. Ethan (The Fighter) haves the ability to generate an Instant Armor allowing to have a Super Strength in addition. Kira (The Mage) haves a Sonic Scream who is the most destructive such as the only long-ranged power among the five rangers. And Conner (The Thief) haves a Super Speed allowing to suprise his ennemies.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: Elsa and Tommy. In-Universe, the rest of the cast even picks up on it in "Beneath the Surface".
  • Follow in My Footsteps: A point of contention between Dr. Mercer and Trent, as Mercer wants to groom Trent for the business world and thinks his drawing hobby and afterschool job at Hayley's are beneath him. In Mercer's defense, some of his lines suggest that he's preparing Trent to handle being on his own in case he loses his internal battle with Mesogog.
  • Gag Dub: "Lost and Found in Translation", obviously.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Hayley.
  • Meaningful Name: Elsa is the name of a heroine from Wagner's operas, who was in love with a man whose face she could never see.
    • Conner's name as well—his first name is the name of an Irish king, and his last, McKnight, is Scottish-English, the name in combination essentially being 'Irish king who is also a warrior'. Ironically, Disney didn't bother playing with this in casting, and Conner acts VERY American.
    • Kira's first name means 'Sun, Light', which is appropriate given that she's the Yellow Ranger.
    • Ethan's name means 'Strong'.
    • 'Anton' is a form of Arthur, as in King Arthur, and his last name, 'Mercer', means 'son of Mercury'... or, weirdly enough, 'shopkeeper/merchant'.
  • Mind Rape: Mesogog does this to keep his subordinates in line.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Most of Mesogog's monsters, courtesy of his Geno-Randomizer.
  • Mundane Utility: In "Disappearing Act", the Rangers use their high-tech surveillance system to watch Ethan on his date that they prepped him for; and Tommy uses his invisibility to help out.
  • Mythology Gag: Tons.
    • Tommy is usually the culprit. He keeps Sentai logos and MMPR publicity pictures on file and before suiting up as the Black Brachio Ranger, the Rangers found him suspiciously familiar with how all this stuff works. He even said at one time "If there's something I've learned by being a Power Ranger is that everything is possible."
    • The Dino Thunder logo, designed by Tommy, is presumably awfully similar to a certain Dragonzord symbol that he once wore...
    • Tommy's address is 1992 Valencia Ave. Valencia was the location of the studio facility in California where all of the "indoor" scenes in the Saban era of the franchise were taped; 1992 is when Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers began production.
    • The biggest gag is probably when the Power Trio spent all of "Lost And Found In Translation" watching a dubbed episode of Abaranger (bad Hong Kong-styled translations and all!) with Conner hating its corny nature before warming up to it when the other Rangers encourage him to enjoy the show for what it is.
    • And Conner says his twin brother went to the Wind Ninja Academy. It was really funny in context as said brother did appear in the last episode of Ninja Storm.
    • Conner's ability to send his battles as the Triassic Ranger to a weird other dimension, while unintentional as a carryover from Abaranger, serves as one to VR Troopers (which Jason David Frank was supposed to star in before Tommy's popularity brought him back to MMPR), where (as they adapted the Metal Heroes shows) this was common to both the heroes and later the villains.
  • Narm Charm: This is the In-Universe conclusion the Rangers come to after watching a dubbed episode of Abaranger, despite Conner initially believing it was making them out to be a complete joke.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain:
    • So Elsa, how did handing out detentions work out for you? Oh yeah, it created your enemies, the Dino Thunder Rangers.
    • To be fair, it actually did work out for her, since it led to her ultimately being freed from Mesogog's control and able to lead a normal life but it wasn't her purpose as her Elsa personality.
    • Zeltrax's attempts to frame the White Ranger for trashing Mesogog's lab so as to claim back his position of power directly led to the evil being removed from Trent's Dino Gem and the Dino Thunder gaining a powerful ally instead of a borderline Invincible Villain to deal with.
    • See Literal Split Personality above.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The Show Within a Show Ocean Alert from the episode of the same name is clearly the Rangerverse version of Baywatch.
  • Not Himself: All the teens have an attitude adjustment in "Leader of the Whack": Conner's the nerd and Ethan's the jock, Kira's a prissy girly-girl, Devin's a ladies' man and Cassidy's a Shrinking Violet.
  • Not Quite Dead: Mesogog shows up for one more fight at the end of the season, causing the Rangers to lose their powers.
  • Oh, Crap, There Are Fanfics of Us!: "Lost and Found in Translation" has the main three rangers watch Abaranger (and not just a clip or two, but a whole episode that the audience almost sees in its entirety; opening and all) Kira and Ethan love it from the start; Conner does not but eventually warms up to it.
  • Older and Wiser: Tommy
  • Older Than They Look: Jeffrey Parazzo was 26 when he played Trent, and Jason David Frank looked a quite bit younger than his actual age (31) during filming, too.
    • Jason's (Tommy's) case is actually Lampshaded by Cassidy in the first episode when she questions whether he's old enough to be a teacher. Tommy responds by saying 'I can assure you, I'm old enough'.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Averted with Tommy... by applying it to Hayley:
    Hayley: Tommy's good with dinosaurs and fossils, but a rocket scientist? He ain't.
    Conner: And lemme guess: you are?
    Hayley: Among other things.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Played with in "Legacy of Power", as Conner accidentally kicking the computer makes it look like it crashes at first, but ultimately seems to help. Then in "Game On", Conner being thrown into another computer serves to pull Ethan and Kira out of the game world they were trapped in.
  • Phantom Zone: When in Triassic mode, Conner can send him and whoever he's fighting to a strange alternate dimension full of trippy stuff, which can harm the monster and allow Conner a clear shot.
  • Phlebotinum Killed the Dinosaurs: More like "What Killed The Dinosaurs Became Phlebotinum", but eh...
  • Plot Hole:
    • The White Dino Gem is originally being described as being "fully evil". Eventually, Trent joins the good guys because the "evil coating" on the gem was destroyed.
    • The "Thunder Storm" crossover has the two teams of Rangers destroy a variety of villains sent by Lothor and Mesogog, so they knew Lothor has returned, but then they go back home and act as if their mission is over. The problem is that they know Lothor is out there, but everybody forgot to wonder if he's been taken care of. (Lucky for them, Mesogog put him away)
  • Portal Network: Mesogog's invisiportals.
  • Power Incontinence: Tommy gets encased in amber just as he's about to tell the others that Trent is the then-evil White Ranger. When the Rangers manage to free him, he can't demorph. Then when he gets out of that, he becomes invisible. Then he falls into a coma. Four Is Death, indeed (he finally gets better in "[[Fighting Spirit"). This was an example of Real Life Writes the Plot. Jason David Frank had other commitments in the United States during a chunk of production, so this arc was written to allow him to leave the set but still keep his character involved via voice-over.
  • Power Walk: in "Back In Black" - only the Rangers stop in their tracks when Hayley tells them about Mesogog's deadly firewall. Complete with Record Scratch to stop the music.
    Hayley: "Did I forget to mention that?"
    (the Rangers, Conner in particular, give her a look)
    Hayley (sheepishly): "I... take that as a 'yes'."
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: the Thundersaurus Megazord's Pterarang
  • Professor Guinea Pig: Mercer. This lead to Mesogog's creation.
  • Prophecies Rhyme All the Time: "Tutenhawken's Curse" has the titular curse having rhymes throughout.
  • Put on a Bus: Zeltrax disappears and is presumed destroyed after a climactic battle with Tommy in "A Star Is Torn". He reappears in "The Passion of Conner" and "Isn't it Lava-ly", but as he's now gone rogue from Mesogog's forces he then lies low until the finale.
  • Readings Are Off the Scale: When Tommy first detects the White Dino Gem, he explains that his power readings were so high his equipment couldn't measure it.
  • Redemption Quest: Just after Trent breaks free from his brainwashing, things are dire and Tommy takes him along to retrieve a much needed power up.
  • Red Herring:
    • Hints keep coming up throughout the series indicating that Mercer might actually be Mesogog's lackey, Zeltrax. But he's actually Mesogog himself... Sort of.
    • Alternately, the hints are that Mercer is Mesogog himself. True only in a technical sense; while they share a body, Mercer is actually good and fighting Mesogog.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: The fact that Hayley has such an intellectual ability, and yet is only the owner of an internet café (to whoever's looking from the outside, at least) is rather baffling, though when we first meet her Ethan mentions that she apparently worked for the government in some capacity before quitting.
  • Refusal of the Call: Kira in the premiere; Conner in the second episode. Neither sticks.
  • Resistance Is Futile: Zeltrax gives the line to a kidnapped actress. "Hey, I was up for that part!"
  • Rival Turned Evil: Zeltrax is actually Tommy's old colleague/friend Smitty, who is never mentioned until the episode where Zeltrax is unmasked).
  • Same Character, But Different: Tommy. A doctor of paleontology? Really?
  • Sarcastic Clapping: Ethan to a dance monster in "In Your Dreams".
  • School Forced Us Together: The series started when the three Rangers-to-be got stuck in detention with Tommy forced to watch over them.
  • Sealed Cast in a Multipack: Although the series didn't focus on them as much as other examples, it did this with the scattered Dinozords.
  • Secret-Keeper: Hayley provides the team with major nerd knowledge - being an M.I.T graduate and an apparent rocket scientist. She also knows they're rangers and runs a cafe.
  • Ship Sinking: Not in the series itself but due to the fact Tommy is single, he's obviously not with Kimberly or Kat, though it's slightly subverted since as per Word of God, the ending of Zeo's Christmas Episode, featuring an older Tommy and Kat together, is still official canon. He's later with Kat romantically, apparently having a son with her, in Dimensions in Danger.
  • Ship Tease: Kira and Trent, as well as Anton and Elsa in the finale.
  • Shout-Out:
    • It's a bit of a stretch, but the Funky Fisherman, and his sidekick the giant talking fish, are nautically-themed children's characters. Only one other example springs to mind...
    • Dragon War, a card game that uses many similarities to both "War" and Yu-Gi-Oh!. Two notable ones are the Magic Arrow card, and the Ruby Dragon card. The former looks quite a lot like the Living Arrow card. The latter is the most powerful card, and happens to have the same coloring as Osiris/Slifer, one of the Egyptian God Cards (and just as powerful).
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Dino Thunder in general outlook is basically the first season of Mighty Morphin' pushed a bit further towards the Cynicism side.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: Tommy Oliver's doctorate apparently came with smart-guy glasses.
    • In "Leader of the Whack", Conner, normally the unintellectual jock, gets a personality inversion from a strange meteor fragment and starts behaving like a brainiac. In the next scene he is suddenly wearing glasses. Either he normally needs glasses and doesn't wear them (or wears contacts) because glasses would spoil his athlete persona, not that there's any sign of imperfect vision in other episodes; or the glasses are cosmetic and he's wearing them because he's feeling nerdy and therefore needs to wear glasses; or they're reading glasses and he doesn't normally bother reading (he did come in with a pile of books the first time he was seen wearing them).
    • The team's actual brainiac, Ethan, doesn't wear glasses—but he's a gamer/hacker type, not a bookworm type, so it's not really an aversion.
  • Spectacular Spinning: The White Ranger's morphing sequence features him jumping into the air and spinning around as his costume forms around him.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Fans use both Conner and Connor. In-show, he specifically tells one person "Conner with an E-R".
  • Sssssnake Talk: Mesogog is noteworthy in that he can apply this trope to words without an S sound and make it work.
  • Stealth Insult: During the Ninja Storm teamup, Mesogog greets Lothor with "Your reputation precedes you." (consider the above-mentioned Continuity Nod from the premiere.)
  • Storming the Castle: The Rangers, Hayley, and a Mack truck attack Mesogog's island fortress while Trent rescues Anton. It even happens at the same time as Zeltrax is trashing the Dino Lab.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: Tommy in "Legacy of Power". Kira in the premiere. Trent, too, and even to himself (well actually, Anton Mercer) at one point. Don't forget Elsa in the finale. Mesogog really likes doing this to people.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: Trent is the strongest Ranger after he joins the good guys (as is typical for Sixth Rangers), except for the episode "Fighting Spirit" in which suddenly Tommy is stronger, just because the episode is about how awesome he is.
  • Such A Lovely Noun: Trent to Elsa in "House of Cards" after she blew her cover. She throws the fact that the other Rangers don't know that Mesogog is Anton right back at him.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • How Ethan ends getting detention in the first episode after he hacks into the school system and makes the school sprinklers go off numerous times as a prank. Principal Randall easily catches Ethan because it would only take someone as smart as him to hack in the school system and tamper with the sprinklers when they went off, as well the fact that he is the only one who had umbrella meaning he knew it was going to happen.
    • Ethan lets his experience of at a video game called "Detonation Man" (plus the fact the he has ALL the top ten scores) go to his head, refuses to practice for a video game tournament, and pays the price at the video game tournament when he loses to Devin.
    • After Anton Mercer gives Ethan and Kira detention for being late to class, as they had to fight Zeltrax and a monster called Termitetron when appeared at the school, a bully named Derrick decides to have fun at Ethan's expense by tripping him. Unfortunately for Derrick, Anton Mercer saw him do it and he gets detention too because of that. Bullying another student in front of a teacher can get you in trouble.
  • Take That!: One of Mesogog's first lines is calling Lothor an idiot. Apparently the producers didn't care much for last season's villain, either. This is reinforced when Tommy, recapping the previous show in the crossover episode, refers to the Thunder Rangers as their hardest battle.
  • Technicolor Science: Mesogog's lab has entire racks of specimen jars with brightly colored fluids.
  • Temporary Substitute: When Jason David Frank took time off to visit his family in Texas, the producers were forced to first trap Tommy in Ranger form, and later, render him invisible for two episodes. Since Tommy is a high school science teacher, they also had to grab several Substitute Teachers. To make things significantly more interesting, one of the substitutes was the human form of Mesogog.
  • They Would Cut You Up: Before the kids learn just who Tommy is, this is the reason Ethan gives to Kira for keeping the gems a secret. Guys with super-powers often end up in labs with wires sticking out of their heads. Conner adds that even he knows that one.
  • This Is a Drill: The Thundersaurus Megazord's Dino Drill
    • The Ankylozord provides a second by replacing the right arm.
  • This Is Wrong on So Many Levels!: Ethan's opinion of a life-sucking donkey monster in "Diva in Distress".
  • Those Two Guys: Aspiring news anchor Cassidy and her cameraman Devin, classmates of Conner, Kira, and Ethan and student of Tommy.
  • Thunder = Downpour: When a monster is destroyed at human-size, Mesogog activates the "Hydro-regenerators" which launch a small ball of energy. Then, we hear a thunder crack, storm clouds fill the sky, some rain-like liquid falls, and the rain causes the monster remains to combine into goo, which then turns into a megazord-sized monster, and the sky clears up, all in a few seconds.
  • Titled After the Song: Two episodes (the fifth, "Back in Black", where Tommy returns to duty, and the two-parter finale, "Thunder Struck") are named after AC/DC song titles, for some reason.
  • TV Genius: Ethan.
  • Two-Teacher School: More like two teacher city. When one of the teachers was incapacitated, they had to hire a local millionaire scientist to teach his science class, rather than an, I dunno, substitute teacher or something.
    • Well, a lot of that was probably Randall's doing in favoring Mesogog's alter ego, but the point does still stand. Perhaps Anton was doing it on a discount For Science!.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Mesogog stands out as one of the darkest villains in Power Rangers annals, being genuinely ruthless and terrifying without an ounce of comic relief to him.
  • White Is Pure: Played with in regard to the White Ranger, Trent Mercer. He is the only one of the teen Dino Rangers who isn't introduced as someone willing to break the rulesnote  and is characterized as a sweet, well-meaning kid when not controlled by the white dino gem (whose control he is eventually freed from).
  • Who's Watching the Store?: Hayley runs the Local Hangout, but it's open/closed or she's available as the plot demands.
  • Widget Series: In-Universe, when Hayley gets a satellite TV installed in the cafe, what is the first thing the three Rangers watch? Abaranger
  • You, Get Me Coffee: The Funky Fisherman.
  • Your Size May Vary: The Brachiozord.


Video Example(s):


Dr. Thomas James Oliver

It's not everyday you see your science teacher and school principal trying to kill each other Mortal Kombat style.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

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Main / BadassTeacher

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