Thursday, 19 January 2012

It's Morphin' Time!

I thought it would be a good idea to take a break from all the gaming blog posts and talk about something from my childhood. I then thought that it would be great to talk about the very first TV show I watched as a kid, Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.

The original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers

Yes, this show about six "Teenagers with attitude" was a huge part of my early life. When it first arrived on our TV screens all those years ago, there was nothing like it. I had brightly coloured superheroes, ugly monsters, magic, giant robot dinosaurs and a big blue head. It had everything you could possibly want in a children's TV show. Another thing that I think made Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers popular when it first arrived was the stars of the show, the Rangers. More specifically, the people under the spandex.

From left to right: Billy (David Yost), Trini (Thuy Trang), Tommy (Jason David Frank), Jason (Austin St. John), Kimberly (Amy Jo Johnson) and Zack (Walter Jones)
The reason why they were so popular with fans is that they are all different, yes, they do appear to be your stereotypical teenage characters, which are quite bland, but the circumstances that they are put in make them interesting and seeing them develop as the show goes on. Another thing that made these six characters so great is the chemistry that they had. As each character was purposely different, they were able to play off each other which meant that the characters were such a tight knit group.

  • Jason: The Red Ranger and leader of the Power Rangers. He was strong, compassionate and was always open to listen to his team mates. Twice in fans' polls, Jason has won the "Best Red Ranger of all time" award. A title he still holds. I have to agree, Jason is my favourite Power Ranger ever.
  • Zack: Let's get it of the way, the black guy is the Black Ranger. This was purely coincidental and there was no racist underlining. Zack was the goof ball of the group and was easy going, but always took his ranger duties seriously. He and Jason were best friends in the show and the actors, Austin St. John and Walter Jones, became very good friends.
  • Trini: Like with Zack, there was no implied racism from the show's producers. This is because Thuy Trang wasn't originally cast as Trini, an actress called Audri DuBois was. She wasn't the same race as Thuy. Trini was like the agony aunt of Power Rangers. She was usually the one the others went to if they had any perosnal problems. Trini was strong minded and always calm. She was rarely the focus of the team but didn't need to be. She was very underrated if you ask me.
  • Billy: He started off as the stereotypical nerd, but as the show went on he grew in confidence and even led the team on occasion. Billy was ridiculously clever and his inventions were invaluable to the team. Without him, the Power Rangers would have been screwed.
  • Kimberly: Originally, the character of Kimberly was going to be a ditzy, materialistic idiot. Thank god that was changed. Kimberly won the hearts of many young boys around the world, myself included. :) Kimberly wasn't your typical damsel in distress. She was a strong and capable ranger who was the saviour on numerous occasions. Plus, she is very pretty, which helps.
  • Tommy: What can I say about Tommy? Well he did start out as very shy, letting Kimberly make the first move in their budding romance. He was forgetful but he was a great fighter and let's be honest, he had the coolest zord. :P

Sadly, this never lasted for long. Half-way through the second season, Austin St. John, Walter Jones and Thuy Trang left the show. It is believed to be because of contractual issues regarding pay, although the real truth has never been revealed. Personally, I think that ultimately, letting them go and bringing in replacements, cost them more money than it would have to keep them. It is known that the actors on Power Rangers were payed very little.

 It's disappointing that it happened, especially where the movie is concerned, since chemistry is very important in movies with multiple protagonists but what can you do. As a kid, I never noticed it when Austin, Walter and Thuy had left the show and three stand-ins were used. Now, watching those episodes back today it's glaringly obvious.

Another thing that is obvious but you didn't notice as a kid is the difference between the footage. There is a big visual difference in the quality of footage between the original footage and Japanese footage bought by Saban to be used as the basis of the show. Power Rangers actually came from a show in Japan called Super Sentai. When Power Rangers creator Haim Saban first saw this show, he had the idea of adapting the show for a western audience. He tried for years but failed, until in 1992 Fox Kids agreed to buy the concept and the rest is history. Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers is based on the 1992 Super Sentai series Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger.

There are numerous differences between the two shows: First of all, Zyuranger has ancient warriors, not teenagers. Then there is the fact that Zyuranger has five men and one woman, whereas there are two female Power Rangers. The yellow ranger in Zyuranger is male, ironically named Boi, which explains why only the Pink Ranger costume has a skirt. Also, the Zords in Power Rangers are actually Gods in Zyuranger, and speak to the ancient warriors.

There is more, like how the Dragon Ranger, Burai, is the Tyrano Ranger Geki's brother and the fact that in Zyuranger, Burai actually dies and not just lose his powers like Tommy did.

There are similarites, Rita Repulsa is actually Bandora in Zyuranger. You can see the palace says "Bandora's Palace" in both, thanks to the use of the same footage. Goldar is Grifforzer, and the rest of the villains and monsters in Zyuranger are in the first season of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.

Here are the Zyurangers in action:

Here is the same footage in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers:

There is more I could say about Power Rangers but I think that I've said enough. I think that it's a testament to the popularity of the show's premise and the characters that the show is still going nearly 20 years later. You can watch Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers on Netflix now in the UK, so if you want a nostalgia rush, then you should watch it and memories will come flooding back.

Anyway, I'll leave it here for now and as Zordon says "May the Power protect you".

No comments:

Post a Comment