“Here Comes the Power Again”

May 25, 2010

I must admit that when I first learned that the Walt Disney Company purchased Power Rangers in late 2001, I was none too pleased.  At the time I expected the show to go downhill drastically and fast.  Once the first promos started airing for Ninja Storm though, I knew that I would likely be signing a different tune. 

Over the course of the seven full Disney seasons, I felt there was always some enjoyable parts to the seasons.  Truthfully I never once felt that the writing and production teams weren't trying to make an exciting and enjoyable show.  I personally enjoyed Ninja Storm, Dino Thunder, SPD (still my favorite despite its faults), Jungle Fury and RPM.  So I don't think the effort was ever completely lacking.

Where the real difference came in was marketing and product placement.  I don't think Disney ever fully knew what exactly they wanted Power Rangers to be, or where it could fit in with their image.  In the early years of their ownership, they did at least give it a good try.  The promotions for Ninja Storm through SPD were awesome and covered not only television, but print and internet as well.  Mystic Force still had some good advertising plans, but I could see how it was starting to be scaled back a bit.  But for the remaining seasons, the promos and ads just fell off a cliff.  This really was the time when I feel the Walt Disney Company decided to begin scaling down on the importance of Power Rangers. 

Truthfully, there really was a time when Disney knew how to do both action adventure shows with comedy.  The Disney Afternoon block from the early nineties is the perfect example of this.  But after the end of Kim Possible and American Dragon Jake Long in the mid 2000's, it seems like the primary focus for Disney became the pre-teen girl demographic with High School Musical, Hannah Montana etc...  Granted there isn't anything wrong with those series and targeting that demographic, it is just that Disney at one time tried to appeal to both boys and girls, and recent years indicate that that is no longer the case.  Yes they have the Disney XD network that is supposed to be geared towards boys, but I feel that too much of its programming falls into the trap of just silly humor and little action (except for Phineas & Ferb cause it’s cool).  Now with Disney owning Marvel Comics I feel that they do still want to try and capture that male demographic, but until they learn to how and where to market their action adventure series, this too may not prove all that encouraging.

So while I was okay with Power Rangers ending with RPM, I did feel that there would be a day when it would return.  However, I never in my life expected it to be just over a year later, let alone Saban buying the series back.  When the final episode of RPM aired, I sent a Tweet to Cheryl Saban, Haim's wife.  I told her that I just wanted her husband to know that with Power Rangers ending, I was grateful to him for creating the show.  When she replied back saying that he would appreciate that and to not give up, that changes were brewing, that caught my interests.  I did not mention this on my site knowing that fans would start jumping to all kinds of theories and conclusions.  I myself expected that perhaps Saban would team up with Disney so that he would pay and produce the show while Disney aired the show, and then the two would split the profits of the series.

So in the middle of what is a completely horrible month of May for me, I come home and see on Twitter the news of Saban buying Power Rangers from Disney.  I was shocked and amazed.  Not by the fact that Saban wanted the show back, but by the fact that the Walt Disney Company would actually sell the show to him.  Disney isn't a company that is really known for selling properties once they have them. 

Now that a couple of weeks have passed since the buy back, and we have learned more of what is in store for our favorite superhero franchise, I must admit that I am getting more and more excited.  From what we know thus far, it looks like the new 2011 season will be drawn from the Shinkenger season, which pleases me greatly.  This way the entire writing and production crew can look at the entire completed Japanese season and decide how they want the US season to flow, move and complete.

It is also awesome that Saban wants to make another Power Rangers movie, and that Bandai's video game department will be in charge of all future Power Rangers games.  The move to Nickelodeon is one I did not expect.  If I would have been forced to guess, I would have expected PR to move to Cartoon Network, but I hope the new network move will prove advantageous.  Heck, it is all ready a better network than relying on ABC Kids.  And with Nicktoons planning on airing reruns from all 17 seasons, I could not ask for more.  I know some fans are questioning why this new season will only consist of 20 episodes.  My take on this is that, like most shows on television, Nickelodeon has only ordered 20 to start with.  Once the show premieres and we see how well it does, probably by episode 10 or so, if the ratings are good, they’ll go ahead and order another 20, thus likely giving us a full 40 episode season of Power Rangers Samurai whatever they call it. 

The only question I do have is the possible return to New Zealand production.  Granted I have no problem with New Zealand, and I can fully understand the financial benefits to filming there.  I just expected, along with many other fans, that Saban would return to California to set up shop there.  It is good that we have a veteran Power Rangers producer in Mr. Tazchor to head the show.  But I do hope we do not see a return to Power Rangers being a Sentai clone as that is not what Power Rangers is meant to be.

Overall I am really excited to see Power Rangers get new life with the man who helped bring it to life.  I look forward to the new season, Nicktoons reruns, and all the new adventures that lay ahead for Power Rangers.

Have a Nice Day


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