Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

Ah, the Power Rangers. As a kid there was no better finale to the after school lineup than seeing Jason, Billy, Kimberly, Zack, Trini and Tommy take down another of Rita Repulsa’s evil minions. Sure  it was cheesy, sure the villain/action sequences had the appearance of a badly dubbed Japanese b-movie, sure plenty of people didn’t get it at all and despised the hype it generated. So what?

After several seasons of Americanizing the various Tokusatsu Super Sentai cycles, the Disney Company (who bought the rights to the series in 2001) have decided to replay the original series on ABC Kids, albeit repackaged. Unfortunately, the comic book style wipes and sound effect bubbles don’t work, and feel more as if Disney is intentionally trying to play up the cheese. Looking back, I can see why the original version was so easy to criticize – the wooden dialogue, the overly simplistic plots, the overuse of stock footage, etc.

But, then, thinking it over, there was nothing quite like it on American TV before. Besides following in a late 80’s/early 90’s tradition of interest in asian culture (already fed by The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, movies like Big Trouble in Little China and video games like Street Fighter 2), the show managed to take many of the fantasy/sci-fi/action elements of saturday morning cartoons, and, for better or worse, present them in live action.

Now lets keep our fingers crossed and hope that Disney finally decides to release the originals on DVD…

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