Within the Power Rangers fandom, there's a sub group of fans who's love for Power Rangers all revolves around one character. The Power Ranger Legend, Tommy Oliver. Some fans say that Tommy is the pinnacle of Power Rangers. Other fans say that Tommy is the only good thing about Power Rangers, while the rest of the franchise sucks. Of course, such fans entitled to such opinions would bring conflicts amongst the other fans.
So what's so great about Tommy? What has he got that no other ranger has got? Well, let's take a look. When Power Rangers first started, it wasn't anything spectacular. The writing quality was below par, the characters were stereotypical, and the footage splicing was bad. Power Rangers did not become popular until the "Green with Evil" arc. A five episode long arc that starred Tommy. This arc made Power Rangers huge and Tommy instantly became a favorite amongst fans. During the time (and even now), five part long arcs were extremely rare for a kid's show. To date, there has never been a five part long arc in Power Rangers ever again.
Tommy first made his appearance with a bang. He had a cool personality, and was the lucky guy to end up in a romantic relationship with the lovely Kimberly. Tommy's fighting skills were also on par with Jason. He even demonstrates his skills against putties on his own in a way that wasn't done with the other rangers before. Tommy also did many things that shocked a lot of fans. He infiltrates the Megazord and knocks the rangers out and takes all five of them on with no problem! He also breaks into the Command Center, wrecks it, and severs the link to Zordon. Things get even worse for the rangers when Tommy helps destroy the zords and leaving the rangers powerless. For the first time, the rangers were almost defeated. Tommy also introduced the new Dragonzord which looked really cool, and was summoned by a really catchy tune with the Dragon Dagger. When the arc came to an end, Tommy is freed from Rita's spell, and joins the team as the sixth ranger, which caused lots of fans to cry in joy. It was even better to watch this new sixth ranger do a roll call with the team, morph with them, and to have his Dragonzord combine with the others for brand new powers and combinations (lots of fans would so buy the toys for this). As Zordon said "We're watching history in the making." And quite the history it would be.
So with Power Rangers really popular, mostly thanks to Tommy, a lot of fans were now huge fans of him. Tommy also started a rivalry with Jason for who was the best. The fans did the same. :P It was a brilliant idea when the Green Candle Arc came and wrote Tommy out. It showed that fans truly liked him and that Tommy really was the most popular character on the show. And it surprised many when Tommy later came back. Basically, all the plots focused around Tommy. And it saddened fans even more when Tommy lost his Green Ranger powers for good.
Regardless of Tommy's evolving character, Sentai fans often viewed Tommy as a watered down version of Burai. To an extent, this is true, as all of Tommy's story arcs (up to this point) were based on Burai's arcs. But we all know that Tommy goes beyond the Green Ranger and picks up some other things to do. So it's mainly his Green Ranger form that gets criticized by Sentai fans.
One of the most famous two-parter arcs in Power Rangers was "White Light." It was a huge mystery as to who the White Ranger was going to be. And it shocked many when Tommy was revealed as he pulled his new helmet off. The White Ranger powers were made from "good energy," meaning that Tommy was officially part of the team to stay.
Now, this is where the Tommy fans really started to appear. So many fans were so overjoyed with Tommy, that they just wanted to keep watching the show just for him. Especially since he was now the team leader, the show focused on him more, and Jason was gone (which stopped the rivalry). Other fans didn't like how Tommy became the star of the show, rather than the whole team getting equal attention. Others felt Tommy got a little too cocky and annoying for his own good. Some Sentai fans felt the same way. Especially when Tommy fans criticized Kou for being younger than Tommy. This infuriated many Sentai fans, who shot back by saying that Kou at least had an emotional and believable story. This could also be the case with Tommy fans having experience with Justin (since Tommy fans obviously have watched Turbo).
For the fans who were annoyed with Tommy as the White Ranger, they were were glad when Tommy was toned down by the time Zeo had started. Tommy finally got his very own Red Ranger suit, showing off his status as the team leader even more now. Around this time, Power Rangers' popularity was starting to decline, and fans were finding less reasons to stick to watching the show. Since Tommy already laid a huge impact on Power Rangers, it wasn't surprising that fans would continue to watch Power Rangers for him as one of the reasons to keep watching. The other characters in Zeo didn't really have as big of a legend as Tommy did.
Some fans felt that Tommy wasn't a very good leader, and did better as a sixth ranger. Many believed that Jason was much better at being a leader. This happened even more when Jason returned in Zeo.
And of course, writing Tommy out in Turbo, along with the other four rangers was a huge deal. Especially when the "Passing the Torch" was very poorly written. Many fans just dropped Power Rangers there.
After Tommy's departure from Turbo, Power Rangers continued on, with very well made seasons, thanks to Judd Lynn. In Power Rangers Wild Force, Tommy helped gather together ten Red Rangers to help fight against remnants of the Machine Empire. Such an act to lead the leaders of all the Power Rangers seasons up to that point, truly earned Tommy the title of "Best Power Ranger ever." Of course, not all the Red Rangers agreed. :P
To pay homage to the very first season, Dino Thunder made use of it's dinosaur motif, and also attempted to bring back a veteran ranger. Originally going to be Jason, instead, Tommy came back, which further boosted his reputation as a ranger. In this new era of Power Rangers, many fans kept rooting for older rangers to return to the show and to build up their reputations and legends as rangers. Tommy started this. And shortly after, Adam would follow (which also made him quite legendary).
Not only did Tommy return to Dino Thunder as a mentor, but also became the new Black Dino Ranger, making this his fourth color as a ranger. Tommy by now had an entire arsenal of different powers all throughout the franchise! Tommy also had recorded an entire history of the Power Rangers (including Ninja Storm) to keep track of where things were going. Everything about him was truly a legend. And it amazed fans when he fought his former selves in "Fighting Spirit."
Though other fans weren't pleased about Tommy's return, thinking he had overstayed his welcome in the show. Plus, other fans didn't think Tommy was as great in Dino Thunder, especially when he got stuck in his suit for most of the season. Some fans were also annoyed when many fans thought Dino Thunder was amazing, just because Tommy was in it. Especially when fans chose to watch the season just for Tommy. It also annoyed Abaranger fans, since lots of Tommy fans criticized Abaranger as an inferior show due to not having Tommy in the show.
To date, Tommy has served as a ranger in more episodes than others, as well as more forms and more colors and more seasons. Today, many fans root for Tommy to return to more seasons, in order to further add on to his reputation as a ranger and making his legend even bigger. Tommy truly has a huge fanbase. A fanbase that not too many would argue with. MMPR fans, Zordon Era fans, and fans of all seasons support Tommy. Most of the non-Tommy fans exist within the Saban/Judd Lynn era of seasons. Some of these fans believe that despite Tommy's legendary status, he has yet to appear in a "good season." There are lots of fans now who watch Power Rangers just to see the rangers come back and boost up their legends and reputations. Overall, the Tommy fanbase seems quite stable (even though it goes overboard at times).