Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (Fox Kids, 1993-1996)
This is a show that is a perfect example of a rather brief cultural phenomenon. It’s hard to put this one into a genre, but it could be classed as superhero action with some fantasy adventure thrown in too. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was a rather odd show, it definitely wasn’t played for laughs, but sometimes it came across as so ridiculous you had to wonder how seriously it was supposed to be taken.
Five rather fit Californian teenagers one day are transformed into the Power Rangers, all notable by their different-coloured helmets and costumes, such as red, blue, and so on. There were a huge amount of other characters in the show, and the ones that still stand out are Zordon (not “weird floaty head thing” as I always thought they were called) who would summon the Power Rangers and explain their next mission.
One of the many enemies was Rita Repulsa who was memorable because nothing she said ever actually went with her mouth, some terrific dubbing there. It’s a show where it’s probably not worth analysing the plots too closely, but of course there was plenty of action. Can the Power Rangers save the world just by kicking a few robots? Well of course they could, and everyone was satisfied, at least until they had it do it all again in the next episode a week later.
I’m fairly sure that Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was never shown in this country on CITV, but it was a part of GMTV’s Saturday morning schedule in the mid-90s, and it really gave their children’s programming a boost as viewers loved it. What with this and the hiring of Mr Motivator (who would also introduce some of the episodes), GMTV had finally come across a winning formula that they had been trying to find in the two years since the launch.
The show became popular enough for the opening theme to be released as a single in 1994, although it never really challenged for the Christmas Number One, it did make the Top Ten. And there was also the first of many films released in 1995. I must admit that I got a little swept up in all of the hype myself, and I’m fairly sure that I had some of the doll figurines, and even set the video for a few episodes.
There has been a huge amount of merchandise, including some computer games and comics. After the original version came to an end in 1996, there have also been lots of spin-off series, featuring all kinds of variations on the format (but retaining the basic idea of the Power Rangers), which have run for many years, going past the 90s, and into the 2000s and beyond.