Friday, 2 September 2011

Power Rangers Samurai

You know what my favourite thing is about Power Rangers? No, it's not the martial arts. It's not the Godzilla-style man-in-suit giant robot fighting action that's somehow better than any expensive CGI creation could ever be (the major flaw in Power Rangers: The Movie - but more on that another day).

My favourite thing about Power Rangers is the way they talk.

Now I know you'll all collectively going 'huh?' at that. Possibly more so when I point out it has nothing to do with the dialogue or the way the actors read the script. It's specifically when all the Rangers are wearing their suits. Because when they're all suited up with their helmets completely covering their faces, it's impossible to tell who's talking.

The way round this? Every time a Ranger says something he dramatically waves his arms around.

Power Rangers was 'created' in 1993 by Saban (whom I'll refrain from gushing all over like previously). Created got little quotation marks there as Power Rangers uses a lot of footage from various Japanese series, which stretch back to the late 70s. This Japanese footage is mixed with newly filmed bits filmed using American actors to produce Power Rangers as we know it here.

When Mighty Morphin' arrived on the scene they were cries from The Media about its violence. You know, in the same way The Media kicked up a fuss about the violence in Ninja Hero Turtles, ThunderCats, He-Man...

Time passed. The Media decided to complain about other things (violence in computer games, for example). And Power Rangers kept going. And going. And going... While almost every other children's franchise is on the scene for a couple of years and then fades away, Power Rangers is fast approaching its 20th anniversary.

Cleverly, The Powers That Be decided to reboot (more or less) the franchise every year, and thus never alienating anyone new to the series. The only constant characters were Bulk and Skull, the comedy relief from Mighty Morphin who somehow managed to continue appearing long after all all other cast members had departed.

But the time came that even Bulk & Skull were absent. Saban wasn't even involved any more, with Disney having acquired the rights in 2001 when it bought Fox Family Worldwide. In 2009 production of new episodes stopped completely (there was a 're-version' of Mighty Morphin shown instead - I'm not even 100% sure if that was even show here or not).

Had Power Rangers finally reached its end?

Don't be silly!

In 2011 everything old is new again. It's a fresh start, and also an old start. With Power Rangers Samurai, Saban is back in control and has hired Jonathan Tzachor, who worked on the on show in '93, as Executive Producer. Much to the delight of old fans, the original theme tune is back! (Just think how big a hit parents will be with their children when they know all the - admittedly not many - words to the song!) The sense of fun & comedy that were kind of lost for the previous few incarnations is back!

Bulk is back! We don't have Skull, but we do have his son whom Bulk is attempting to train as a samurai. Yes, that's going to end well...

Of course there are the zords! And much to my delight the Megazord is still portrayed by a man in a suit, which means it's perfectly possible for children to make their own surprisingly-accurate Megazord outfit from some cardboard boxes.

And best of all, the Rangers still make extravagant arm movements when talking!

Go! Go! Power Rangers!

Power Rangers Samurai is currently on Nickelodeon from Saturdays to Wednesdays at 3pm, with repeats at 4pm.

I was asked to write this entry by Mischief PR. They made no requests on content other than I mention the times Samurai was showing on TV. Since I already had a post written on Power Rangers ready for upload, I had no problem doing this. They certainly didn't ask for a week's worth of stuff, which has really come about because the boys are loving their Power Rangers at the moment.

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