Back when I was a little Chin, there was one TV show that ruled them all: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Damn, did I love that show back then. Over here in Europe, it used to air every Saturday morning, and you could bet your action figure collection I would sit in front of the telly then and witness the epic fight between good and evil. Everything about Power Rangers just spoke to me: the over-the-top fight scenes, the gigantic robots and monsters and the inspiring teamwork of the Rangers. Back then, I didn’t want to be a firefighter or astronaut; I wanted to be a Power Ranger.
Eventually, I grew up though and discovered how cheesy and corny most of the show was. The acting was just bland (even for a kid’s show), the plots overused and the effects were…disappointing. However, no matter my age, something still fascinates me about this recycling of Japanese stock footage. When I subscribed to Netflix yesterday (yes, we finally have that in these parts of the Old World), I discovered that service offers the entire show. Not just the original seasons, but everything up to Samurai. Am I tempted to marathon those? Well, does the Red Ranger like to shout “It’s morphin’ time“?
Anyway, it’s hard to pinpoint what it actually is that still intrigues me. There’s something underneath those layers of cheesiness and bad acting that gives the show its appeal. What if someone was to cut away those cheap elements, and actually invest into creating a new, yet true-to-the-original show? What if someone took some time to write some decent characters and plot, giving the show some depth while keeping it accessible for children?
Shows like Avatar: The Last Airbender proof that it is possible to create children entertainment that takes its viewers seriously, while also being intriguing enough to attract an older audience. Even before that, the comic industry has evolved from its cheesy beginnings to some really deep and challenging graphic novels. Where’s that evolution in the Power Rangers franchise? Is it because the producers want to play it safe, or am I truly the only one who would like some more depth with his Zord fights?
Fortunately, I’m not. The fan production MMPR is on its way, which will provide a darker re-interpretation of what it means to be a Power Ranger. Though I think that it will visually stray too far from the original, it seems to give some more depth to the universe. And hell, I’m always game when it comes to a return of Lord Zed!
So, fellow Rangers out there, what do you think? Would the world be ready for a more challenging, dramatic Power Rangers story, or should the Rangers stick to their screaming, arms-waving combat scenes? Shout out in the comments!