Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Originality in Power Rangers

This post is somewhat similar to the one FantasyLeader did a few months ago, talking about the originality in Power Rangers. Fans like to complain that Power Rangers is never good unless it's exactly like it's counterpart.

Some fans tend to complain that Power Rangers is better when it stays true to the original content. I fully disagree to this. I mean, yes, we had some good seasons like Lightspeed and Time Force. But sometimes it feels like I'm watching GoGo V and Timeranger with a different cast.

Fans also complain that Power Rangers is too campy and cheesy. This, makes no sense...at all. Since the campiness and cheesiness make Power Rangers unique.

Here's an example, when the producers and writers saw Megaranger, they thought is was a space season. But when they actually saw footage of the show, it wasn't, exactly. Megaranger was video-game themed. They never left Earth, their ship was in orbit, it just flew down to Earth for the fights. There was no footage of the ships sailing the stars, no alien landscapes or monsters, no space at all from the Sentai that was destined to be 'Power Rangers in Space.' But since the producers thought that it was gonna be the last season of Power Rangers, they went ahead and still went with the space idea. Shot their own footage of space and such. It looked bad, but it worked. It's also loved as the best season of Power Rangers ever.

Another example would be Power Rangers RPM. Disney hired Eddie Guzelian who had worked with a few Disney shows such as American Dragon: Jake Long and Kim Possible. When Guzelian first saw footage of Go-Onger, he basically went nuts. He wasn't sure on how to make it into a Power Rangers season. He defied the Sentai material, changed Go-Onger significantly. Go-Onger was turned into a post apocalyptic setting with a mature tone, a Terminator/Mad Max feel and a new villain named Venjix. The season was serious, yet lighthearted, serious, yet funny. This season was the best we've seen in years. It's said that Eddie had some other plans for the show (like an ending totally different from Go-Onger's and the one that Chip wrote, another story arc between Dillon and Tenaya, revelation of Dr. K's actually name, etc). If he hadn't gotten fired, we most likely would've seen those happen. It was a good season. It was unique in it's own way, and it didn't need to copy elements from the Sentai material.

And finally, my last example, Power Rangers Operation Overdrive. The basic premise of a millionaire relic hunter funding his own team of rangers to find the jewels of the Corona Aurora was amazing in theory. What we got was FAR different than that. The rangers weren't very likeable, the story was muddy, and I feel like a lot of the characters were so one note it felt like I was watching the same episode with a different adjective each week. This season is just absolutely terrible, but it did show Power Rangers' true colors. It had so much potential, and it all went down the drain.

Overall, Power Rangers doesn't need to stay true to the original material Sentai offers. It's just some of the writers and producers (I'm looking right at you, Tzachor and Kalish) are just lazy to come up with something original. Yes, we did have some good seasons that stayed true to the original content like Lost Galaxy and Time Force, but it's just we want to see something new and interesting. I'm hoping that we'll see something new and creative for Season 18. If not, make it a good adaptation, Tzachor.


  1. You wrote a masterpiece. I couldn't have said it better myself. Sentai fans need to realize that if it wasn't for PR, they'd know NOTHING about Sentai. I'm glad you wrote this. People can finally see that PR is much better than they think.

    1. I couldn't agree more.

  2. Lost Galaxy is not true to the source material; the theme of Seijuu Sentai Gingaman was the forest and nature - not a space opera. Otherwise, great piece!

  3. You've missed a key factor here. The problem is that while Power Rangers continues to reuse footage from Sentai series, there will always be limits on what works with a Power Rangers story and what doesn't.

    The problem with OO for example was that it essentially ripped off the premise of Boukenger (Mr Voice was essentially a female Andrew Hartford hiding behind a computer voice and avatar, the number of artifacts was reduced down to 1 and the multiple villains were also used) while trying to shoehorn footage. It was "different" if you call even a cheap ripoff of the plot different.

    The first 2 parter was decent enough, but it quickly descended into painful viewing when you hit episode 3- largely because it was trying to shoehorn different characters into the original Boukenger suit footage.

    Therein lies the problem too- while Sentai footage is used rather than reshooting with different actors in the same suits to fit in with an original script, that will always constrict the scope that a PR rewrite will have.

    The other problem is character depth and rich backstory. Some characters like Andros in "In Space" have it, but compared to Sentai, there's a wide divide.

    I don't think you necessarily have to copy the equivalent Sentai series, but you do have to at least reach the bar they've set.

    Having recently got into Sentai through Power Rangers, I completely agree with the pro-Sentai camp in principle and can completely see where they're coming from.

    PR comes across as a cheap rip-off because of the terrible production values- namely the lazy use of stock footage while trying to produce a completely different story.

    I could see the Sentai crowd for the most part equally loving PR if it went in a different direction to the equivalent Sentai series, but it would require a massive shift in how PR is made.

    For this to happen, there would need to be completely original footage shot, possibly even right down to the Zord battles, while still using the same costumes as in Sentai.

    PR for now is a cheap knock-off of Sentai, even with Samurai where it manages an average of near-miss.

    The only reason it remains so is because of cheap and lazy production values.

    1. Wow, small-minded much? As far as I'm concerned, you're a liar who doesn't appreciate the Power Rangers for who they are. So what if they're not entirely like original sentai? You expecting them to be totally perfect? If so, I have news for you: There's no way that's ever goin' to happen 'cause every one of those heroes are imperfect in their own ways and always will be. Besides, they were made by an imperfect man.

  4. PR does have its own uniqueness, because of its campy nature, I agree with you there, but it has got to find a better balance. I watch the show now and I cant take the character development episodes seriously because of all the "comedy" that's been shoved in there, and I can't fully enjoy the comedy, because it gets interrupted by the plot line. I think PR needs to decide if it is a comedy or a drama. If it's a comedy, it needs to lose some ( well, a lot) of the battle action and character development and if it is a drama, it need to lower the reins on the comedy, lose the senseless filler episodes and really focus on the acting and writing, in reference to character development.

    1. That all makes sense.