“Time to Take Power Rangers Back To School”

May 7, 2013

The past few weeks have seen a number of developments & behind the scenes info concerning Power Rangers Super Megaforce. A fair amount of this has not been received too well within the Power Rangers fandom. This got my gears turning & I was reminded of Bandai America’s tough years. I consider Power Rangers Mystic Force to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Reversioned, to be Bandai America’s learning years. This was when Bandai’s Power Rangers line went on the decline, hit rock bottom, and then climbed back out, stronger than ever. I feel Samurai, Super Samurai, Megaforce & Super Megaforce could be the same for the series’ production side. However, in order for the show to return to the glory of old, or even recent past, there are issues that need to be dealt with.

Let me first say that I do recognize that Saban Brands has done a tremendous deal of good for Power Rangers, since buying the property back. The show is essentially back on the world stage, being broadcast to several nations all over the globe. There are now many more licensees to the Power Rangers brand than there have been in I don’t know how long. Finally, Saban Brands has done an excellent job in promoting Power Rangers. From online social network accounts, to talk shows & appearances, Saban Brands has worked extremely hard to make sure kids know what Power Rangers is.

Having said that, it’s now time for Professor Linear to go over his list of what items need to handled.

#6 - Network

Let’s be honest and call a spade a spade here. Nickelodeon is, hands down, the worst network to handle airing Power Rangers ever. Looking only at Nickelodeon, we get one or two airings a week, not even a bare minimum of promotion outside a “season premiere”, time slots that can’t possibly draw in good ratings, and abrupt mid-season breaks that slowly take away what viewers the show does have. Can anyone possibly tell me they think this is actually healthy for Power Rangers? Either Nickelodeon needs to start giving Power Rangers just as much fair treatment & promotions as their normal shows, or a new & better network home needs to be found.

#5 - Mighty Morphin

Ever since Saban Brands bought Power Rangers back, I feel like we have had Mighty Morphin crammed down our throats. It’s brought up in so many interviews, news articles, tweets, merchandise, videos, etc... It’s just too much. I understand that Saban Brands would desperately love for Power Rangers to be the extreme success it was during the Mighty Morphin days, but you can’t recreate that. Times have changed and what today’s generation of kids like, is not what my generation liked.

I fear this has created a severely clouded view inside Saban Brands. They seem to feel Mighty Morphin is the only success Power Rangers ever had. But when you ask many fans their favorite season, you’ll likely get any season besides the Mighty Morphin years. Power Rangers has had plenty of success beyond just Mighty Morphin (including the Disney owned years too), and if the staff at Saban Brands could remove their rose colored glasses, they could begin to see it too.

#4 - Casting

If it’s one lesson I have learned since our 15th Anniversary, it is to not get too attached or care too much for a recent Power Rangers actor/actress. Since 2007 we have had a few unfortunate issues with certain Ranger actors. They have shown themselves to be quite egotistical, and showing no real morals that a Power Ranger should hold. This sadly has come about due to Power Rangers world wide success. Now actors see the show as a chance to be worshiped by children all over the world. So these god complex actors try out for the show, some luck into a role, and eventually their true colors are seen by all. But there is a fix for this. If PR were to cast in a more quite and private manner, it would throw many egotists off. All that would need to be done is make up some fake named show, that needed actors & actresses with athletic, gymnastic or martial arts talents. Basically, don’t broadcast to the world that you are casting for Power Rangers, but for a smaller & lesser known show. Without the potential of world wide attention, the egos will likely go elsewhere.

#3 - S.A.G.

This also relates greatly to casting and is an issue that has always been attached to Power Rangers. The Screen Actors Guild is the main actors union in the United States. During the original Saban run of Power Rangers, SAG was basically a bad word, since a show that hires union actors, has to follow certain rules, regulations, conditions, and pay standards. Saban Entertainment dug its’ feet in and refused to hire & use SAG members for years, until the time of about Turbo or In Space. Then once Disney took control of the show & moved production to New Zealand, boom back to the days of no SAG. By refusing SAG actors & actresses, Saban Brands cuts their potential talents greatly. Plus, it does not send a good message to potential actors when a show refuses members who are part of a union. Yes it costs more to hire & use SAG actors, but would it really cut that much into the profits of a show that makes money all over the world?

#2 - Writing Team

Power Rangers has been going for 20 years, and yet if you look at some of the episodes from the past few years, some might wonder how. Samurai is a great example of this, in that many times the entire show felt like it was talking down to the audience. It was as if they thought their viewers were two or three year old children, that had to have everything explained to them slowly, carefully and with kid-safe gloves. It all made for some rather aggravating moments. Plus there is the issue that almost no one writing for the show now, seems to really have a grasp of the Power Rangers universe. When you have a show that now has 20 years of history, you need to have an Executive Producer that knows & cares, as well as a writing staff that is knowledgeable about the series. One benefit the series has now, is that we are not having to play a guessing game with the source footage. Yet so many episodes & story arcs still feel like they were just translated from their Japanese scripts. Power Rangers works best when it is original, and it makes the source footage work for them. Yes, there are times when stories from Japan can be used, but there are other times that originality works better. It’s a balancing act that Power Rangers has gotten right with many other seasons. It’s all about having a good writing & producing team.

#1 - California

Pick you jaws off the floor. You read that correctly. Yes, I think it is time Power Rangers moved production back to California. I know that it was moved to New Zealand to save money, and yes the Disney New Zealand seasons were good. However, there is just something missing with the show being away from it original home. If the show were to return to California, the good old atmosphere & locations would return too. Yes, it would be more expensive than New Zealand, but again, for a show that now makes money all over the globe from merchandise, broadcasting and DVDs, I don’t think it is beyond the realm of affordability.

Also by now there are plenty of Power Rangers fans that would love to work on the show as stunt members, prop makers, production assistants, editors, camera operators, directors or writers. I’m not saying every single fan has the talent, but take into consideration one such fan that did make it; Amit Bhaumik. Back in the olden days, Amit ran a site called Power Rangers Online Archives, and it was one of the best sources for Power Rangers information. Through hard work & schooling, Amit perfected his trade was hired as story-editor for Power Rangers Wild Force. Plus he wrote some of the most memorable Wild Force episodes in “Reinforcements From the Future” Parts I and II, and “Forever Red”. He wrote two holiday Power Rangers Samurai episodes as well. So it is indeed possible to be a fan of the series, dream of working for it, and actually achieve it.

So that is my list of items I feel need to be addressed, in order for Power Rangers to continue into the future. I fully recognize the futility of this ledger, but I still wanted to express my views. No matter what, I will always love the Power Rangers series, and I shall continue to support & promote the franchise as best I can. Here’s hoping that some lessons can be learned, and Power Rangers continues to improve.



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