I think it’s safe to call Power Rangers a dynasty now. This show has been running in various incarnations since 1993. Time space ninja samurai cop dinosaur turbo rangers. They’ve done it all. For me, they’ll always be Mighty Morphin. Debuting in August of 1993, when I was in 5th grade, I secretly watched the show without letting my friends know the social faux pas I was committing. The show held my interest for the first season, but after that it was mostly something to watch to kill time.
For years I always thought something was amiss with the show. The civilian portion of the show versus the costumed portion had a distinct difference in film quality. That and they were suddenly awfully fond of poses. Many years later while watching I Love the ’90s on VH1, I finally had my suspicions confirmed. Power Rangers repurposed footage from a Japanese superhero series called Super Sentai. It would also explain the fondness for giant size Godzilla type monsters. In Japan I saw commercials for the next Super Sentai series; Pirates. Just a heads up. Another thing that stuck out to me even though I was 10 were the ranger colors. Why was the black guy the Black Ranger, the Asian girl the Yellow ranger (who is completely a guy in the action scenes), and the other girl the Pink Ranger? Stereotypes!
Like many other kid shows of the time, the first season contained 60 episodes to run 5 days a week for the fall season. The first season also saw the debut of Tommy, the Green Ranger, arguably the most famous Ranger. First appearing as an evil ranger, he eventually broke free of the spell controlling him and fought along side the Rangers before losing his powers. Eventually he came back as the White Ranger. Portrayed by martial artist Jason David Frank, who went on to be a founder of the ‘Jesus Didn’t Tap’ MMA apparel line. Take that for what it’s worth.
Another humorous moment for me was during the second season. The original Red, Black, and Yellow Rangers, Jason, Zack, and Trini were scarcely seen. Due to contract negotiations, the actors reprised their rolls in limited capacity. We mostly only saw Billy and Kim, the blue and pink Rangers, while the other three were shown in b-roll footage. It was typcially the same scene of them coming out of the ocean after surfing or scuba diving or some nonsense.
There was the fair share of controversy when Power Rangers initially aired. Many parents complained to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that the show was too violent for young children and had no redeemable educational qualities. I forgot what it was like when parents actually cared. Actor David Yost (Billy – Blue Ranger), was on the show for several seasons and incarnations, eventually serving as a mentor for new Rangers. The actor left the show suddenly over a pay dispute. Years later Yost revealed the real reason was due to the production crews negative treatment of his homosexuality. He walked off set because “[he] was called ‘faggot’ one to many times.” Supposedly the producers often asked the other actors what they thought of his sexual orientation. I give the guy credit for sticking around as long as he did.
Through it all, Power Rangers persevered. Purchased from Saban in 2001 by Disney, then bought back by Saban in 2011. The shows current incarnation, Power Rangers Megaforce, is now airing on Nickelodeon. The show celebrates the 20th anniversary of the series, and will feature “the return of many historic Rangers.” Tommy. Got to be Tommy. If you have time, here’s a bit of nostalgia.
“Recruit a team of teenagers with attitude.”