“A Tale of Two Ranger Worlds”

April 9, 2011

 

It has been nearly two months since we entered the new world of Power Rangers, as  well as a new season of Sentai in Japan.  I figured it was time that I weigh in on my thoughts on these two new Ranger Worlds.


I will start with Power Rangers Samurai.  To be simple, I think Power Rangers Samurai is okay thus far.  There have been good episodes, bad episodes and episodes that were just there.  I like the cast and their performances are good enough for me, though at times it does almost feel like they are talking down to the audience.  The general motivations for the characters are okay, but still lacking in spots.  The villains are not living up to what I would have liked.  Besides Deker & Dayu, there’s been no real villain & Ranger interaction and fighting.

The main issue causing some problems on the story side is that Samurai is relying heavily on the Shinkenger storyline.  Now I have only seen about three episodes of Shinkenger, and know only the bare basics of the series story.  However, you can tell many times where they are copying scenes directly from Shinkenger.  Mia’s cooking burnt chicken for Kevin, the fisherman helping Kevin at the beach, and Mia giving Mike the Beetle Disc are just some examples.

Now copying the Japanese story is not a problem, so long as it is does properly and still allows the story to flow seamlessly.  This is not the case as with Samurai.  Take the fisherman that helped Kevin in “A Fish Out of Water”.  You can’t say the guy helped Kevin at all, other than taking him to his tent and getting him out of the heat.  Kevin didn’t learn anything from him, the guy didn’t help him in reeling the Swordfish in, and he was never seen after the Zord was caught.  He just seemed to be there because in the same Japanese episode, there was a fisherman that helped the Blue Ranger there, except in the Shinkenger episode, the fisherman had a backstory and purpose.



Another prime example comes from “Sticks and Stones”.  Mike states to Emily that he keeps trying to be better than Jayden.  When was this ever shown or stated?  From all that was shown before, Mike showed to be a team player who respected Jayden as the leader, not someone who wanted to be better than the leader.  This again was taking a character plot from Japan and putting it in Samurai, but it doesn’t fit as Mike’s character does not match Shinken Green.


These are areas where the writers have just taken too much from the Japanese material, taken some out, but forgot to put things in that would help keep the show flowing without awkward head scratching moments.  




Even with it’s flaws I still am enjoying Power Rangers Samurai, though my biggest complaint comes not with the show, but with the network it airs on.  Ever since it was announced that Power Rangers would be airing on Nickelodeon, I had severe concerns.  Nickelodeon has never been known as a big Action & Adventure network, and after this much time, I now know why.  Nick only wants to do comedy and tween sitcoms.  From everything I have seen of Nickelodeon’s treatment of Power Rangers, I have come to the decision that this series is nothing more than a red headed step child to the network.


My belief in this idea comes from three main points.


First is the fact that Nickelodeon skipped the real premiere episodes of Power Rangers Samurai.  At this point there is absolutely no denying the fact that Nick did not air the first two episodes of Samurai.  There has been plenty of evidence from Director credits not matching up on episode titles, commercials showing footage we have still yet to see, and of course the flashback sequence in “Forest For the Trees” that showed Jayden using his symbol power to summon a horse; footage that we have never seen before.  


I do not know what numb skulls work at Nickelodeon, but I think they have a belief that viewers are stupid & would never notice that episodes were skipped.  Did they not think we would want to see how these five individuals came together to form this team of heroes?  Did they not think we would question where the footage from the first “sneak peek” was that we got back around Christmas?  Or did they really just think we would not care?  Power Rangers is a show that, for the most part, tells a story that must be told in order, from beginning to end, without jumping or skipping around.  By not showing these first two episodes, it ends up hurting the show story-wise because you do not know the full background & motivation of the characters.  So skipping the real premiere episodes, and likely holding onto them for some special “event” sometime in the future, that is strike one.


Strike two comes from the fact that, to date, we have still not seen one single previous season episode aired on Nick or Nicktoons.  Ever since the San Diego Comic Con last year, the news was that previous seasons of Power Rangers would air on Nicktoons, during weekdays.  At that time, this was scheduled to begin in the Fall of 2010.  Sure enough Fall came and went with no reruns.  Winter past and no reruns.  Now we are into Spring of 2011 and not one single word has been spoken about previous seasons from Nickelodeon.


I have to wonder if Nickelodeon even knows of Power Rangers past?  Do they realize that there are 700 past episodes, ready to be thrown on Nicktoons?  No, I do not expect Nicktoons to become a 24/7 Power Rangers Past Network.  All I expect is what was told us.  Two older episodes a day, airing Monday through Friday.


Finally the biggest irksome point for me can be summed up in one word.  That word?  SUNDAY!  Why?  Why would any network put an ACTION ADVENTURE show on a Sunday?  Sundays are the lazy do nothing days of the weeks, thus the overall mood of the day does not match that of Power Rangers.  Now some would argue that Power Rangers is still doing good enough in ratings on Sundays, and I agree with that.  However, there has been some evidence that the RERUNS that air on Saturdays are getting better ratings than the NEW episodes on Sundays.  One of these instances was the weekend of March 26th & 27th.  The rerun of “I’ve Got a Spell on Blue” scored 2.8 million viewers on Saturday, while the new episode “Forest For the Trees” only managed 2.2 million viewers.  That is 600,000 more viewers on a Saturday than Sunday.  But the real twist in the Saturday / Sunday knife is Nickelodeon’s own Supah Ninja’s show.  When the show officially premieres this month, it gets a Saturday premiere.  What is so special about Supah Ninjas you may ask?  Simple, Supah Ninjas is a show that is produced by Nickelodeon.  Power Rangers is owned & produced by Saban Brands, so Nickelodeon has no investment what-so-ever in PR.  


Will Nickelodeon ever finally get the point to move new Power Rangers episodes to Saturdays?  I can hope, but judging by their behavior & attitude to this point, I am not putting too much faith in that.  I miss the days of Fox Kids & ABC Family / Jetix.


Well enough with the okay season and horrible network.  Now... LET’S GO, LET’S GOKAIGER!




Wow, that is the word that continues to come to mind when I watch Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger.  I am usually not the kind that likes to watch a Sentai season week after week.  All times before I would watch about three to four episodes, loose interest and just keep up with the basics of the season.  This time however, the season grabbed my attention from the start and has not let go.


To begin with, the Legendary War that opened the season was a great spectacle to see.  Seeing all 34 previous Super Sentai teams fighting together was awesome.  Then moving into the introduction of our heroes proved just as great.  Each member of the Gokaiger team has a unique personality and they all add something to each episode, making the show all the more enjoyable.


This being the 35th anniversary season for Super Sentai, the idea of having the Gokaigers be able to change into any of the 34 other teams has proven a very cool point.  Thus far we have seen three special episodes where the teams have met up with previous season’s Rangers.  Each one of these shows were excellently written and added to the character development, not to mention proved to have some awesome throwbacks in action.


While these girls and guys do not necessarily believe themselves to be heroes, they continue to show their true hero spirit in all their adventures.  And I will be staying with this team for the entire voyage.


Now it’s report card time.


For Power Rangers Samurai,  a B-.  It’s okay, but still has some work to do.


For Nickelodeon, a D.  Not much more to say about that.


For Gokaiger, an A+.  Good original season that still pays homage to the past.



Have a Nice Day

 

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