|This article is about the Power Rangers series.|
- "It's Morphin' Time!"
- ―The first and most well known morphing call.[src]
- "Rangers forever, Defending together!"
- ―motto in Dimensions in Danger[src]
In 1978, Marvel Comics had made a deal with Toei to adapt their Spider-Man character. The adaptation was a success. In fact, it was such a success, that Toei would implement concepts from the Spider-Man show into their Sentai series. Toei and Marvel then partnered to create three Sentai series and rebranded it to Super Sentai. Stan Lee of Marvel was interested in adapting Super Sentai so he got a tape of Sun Vulcan and showcased it to Margaret Loesch, head of Marvel's TV division. She thought it was "hilarious". They pitched it to various TV networks, but they all declined. Meanwhile, in the 80's, during a business trip to Japan, music producer Haim Saban was at his hotel room. The only thing playing on TV, was Super Sentai. Specifically, Bioman. He was fascinated by the idea of five people in brightly-colored spandex defeating rubber monsters. Then he got an idea of adapting it to an American audience. He then pitched his idea, Bio-Man, to different networks but they all declined until, years later, he got to Fox. Margaret Loesch was the CEO of Fox Kids so they both had some familiarity with the series. So they made a deal to produce 52 episodes. They acquired the rights to Toei's semi-current series, Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger. They also made a deal with Bandai America to bring the toys to America. Now, with the show and the toys, they created Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
Each entry of the Power Rangers series is based on one entry of the Super Sentai series of shows. The franchise is not an English dub of the original, but a new production with English-speaking actors spliced in with the original Japanese footage to varying ratios. Due to the very Japanese nature of many of Sentai's stories, the American adaptations are generally changed to fit its Western audience.
Each show was produced and distributed by Saban Entertainment from 1993 until the end of 2001 and was broadcast on the Fox Kids Network. At the end of 2001, when Wild Force was in early production, Power Rangers and Saban Entertainment were taken over by the Walt Disney Company, who renamed Saban Entertainment, BVS (Buena Vista) Entertainment. However, the show continued to air on Fox until Fox Kids was closed down in the middle of the Wild Force run. The remainder of the series and all subsequent series have aired on various Disney-owned stations up until the end of 2009.
It was announced on May 12, 2010 that Saban Brands bought the Power Rangers franchise including all world wide rights and property from the Walt Disney Company. It was also announced that Saban would be entering a partnership with Nickelodeon to bring Power Rangers Samurai to Nickelodeon in 2011, making it the first series to be shot in HD and the first to be split into several seasons: Power Rangers Samurai becomes the first series to be shot and broadcast in HD and the second series to be split into more than one season: Power Rangers Super Samurai. Power Rangers Megaforce was the next season of Power Rangers. The season celebrated the 20th anniversary of Power Rangers in 2013. This initiated a major event called Power Rangers 20. The second season of Megaforce, titled Power Rangers Super Megaforce, incorporated elements from Gokaiger. That made the first hybrid adaptation since Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and historic rangers made an appearance. In February 2014 Saban announced the release of Power Rangers Dino Charge in 2015, that adapted Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger instead of Gokaiger's successor Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters. This marks the first time a Super Sentai series has been skipped over for a more recent one. In 2017 and 2018, Nickelodeon aired Power Rangers Ninja Steel and Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel, which was based on Shuriken Sentai Ninninger, skipping over Ressha Sentai ToQger.
On February 12, 2018, Saban Brands confirmed that Power Rangers renewed their partnership with Nickelodeon through 2021. Later that year, Saban Brands sold the Power Rangers franchise to Hasbro along with many other assets they owned for $522 million.  After Hasbro took over the franchise, Saban Brands planned the layoffs and had shut down the company on July 2, 2018, while a select amount of employees (including Chip Lynn) transferred to Hasbro - with Haim Saban serving as an advisory role and as executive producer on Power Rangers Beast Morphers.  Hasbro went back and adapted Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters into two seasons of Power Rangers Beast Morphers in 2019 and 2020, marking the first time that a previously skipped-over season was revisited and adapted, meaning that adaptations would not be entirely ruled out for seasons that had been, for the time being, skipped over. In early 2020, Hasbro announced they were set to adapt Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger into Power Rangers Dino Fury to air in 2021. Although it was stated that Nickelodeon would broadcast the series, no official renewal of Hasbro's partnership with the network had been announced, leaving it unclear as to whether Hasbro may renew the contract or if they may begin airing the franchise on a different network.
As stated by Hasbro in investor conferences, the company's long-term plans for the franchise will see Power Rangers expanding from the traditional Sentai adaptations to much more in addition, which may include animated projects, feature films, and other television projects.
In 2010, after the finale of RPM, first-season episodes of Mighty Morphin was rebroadcast on ABC Kids with footage restored to better quality, some scenes cut from the original episodes, and comic-book style graphics added.
Power Rangers has received Japanese dubs. This practice stopped, however, after Lightspeed Rescue. In 2011, Power Rangers S.P.D. was dubbed into Japanese as well, followed in 2012 by Mystic Force and in late 2013 with Samurai.
Elements of a Power Rangers season
Each of the Power Rangers seasons, or "incarnations," centers around a group of people, often teenagers (the age range of the actors actually varies from 18 to 23 years old), that gain super powers to fight various villains, ranging from demons to witches to aliens. To activate these powers, these characters, known in general as the Power Rangers, "morph" (short for "metamorphosis") by performing a standard action and reciting a "morphing call." Throughout the series, the Power Rangers learn the importance of teamwork and perseverance as they battle progressively harder-to-defeat villains. Like its Super Sentai counterpart, from which part of an episode's action footage is taken, a monster is unleashed on the Power Rangers and it is usually up to them to oftentimes destroy the monster. (Only in two rare cases has a monster ever been spared or was good from the start).
Often, before a monster is defeated, a monster will grow into gigantic proportions, forcing the Power Rangers to use gigantic (bio)mechanical machines known as "Zords." In many cases, these Zords can be combined to form a more advanced (and human-like) machine, known as a "Megazord." In many series, because of the way Zords are combined, the Power Rangers may also use interchangeable parts to enhance their fighting power, or combine Megazords together to form larger Megazords. Though only in the first four seasons, there were extremely large combinations of Zords known as Ultrazords. Technically, two new Ultrazords appeared in Ninja Storm, but these formations were never referred to as such. Operation Overdrive, RPM, and Super Samurai were the next three series to feature official Ultrazords, even going beyond the usual number of Zords combined to create Ultrazords, the Drivemax Ultrazord using 10 Zords, succeeded by the RPM Ultrazord which used 12 and the Samurai Gigazord which used 13.
In each incarnation of the Power Rangers seasons, there are generally people outside the Power Rangers aiding their cause. Among them is a mentor or teacher figure to help lead the Power Rangers, Zordon for example, as well as a technical wizard or magician who designs the various tools used by the Power Rangers; William "Billy" Cranston is perhaps the best example of the latter. There are also characters who have tools and powers like the Rangers but are not Rangers themselves (Ninjor, etc.) Characters for comic relief are generally also present, with such characters attempting to discover the identities of the Power Rangers (Bulk and Skull, for instance), and nearly succeeding on several occasions.
The Rangers themselves are often color-coded, with each Ranger wearing their designated color even when unmorphed. In some such shows as Lightspeed Rescue, Wild Force, and S.P.D., a jacket is given to the Power Rangers to distinguish them from non-Ranger characters. Typically, the Original 7 colors (Red-Yellow-Blue-Pink-Black-Green-White) and the 2 Additional colors (Gold and Silver) are the colors used. In series where new Power Rangers are introduced, they either utilize one of the not-yet-utilized previously mentioned colors, or they do not follow the color-naming conventions at all; an example is the Lunar Wolf Ranger in Wild Force. The Red Ranger is usually the leader of the team, except in the second and third seasons of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers, Time Force, and, arguably, S.P.D.
Each team of Power Rangers, with few exceptions, obey a general set of conventions, outlined at the beginning of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and implied throughout many of the other incarnations, although not stated explicitly. These include the Power Rangers being forbidden to use their Ranger powers for personal gain or for escalating a fight, explaining why the Rangers do not simply step on the small monsters with their Megazord. The Power Rangers are also forbidden to disclose their identities to the general public, barring extenuating circumstances. (This rule was disregarded, however, in Lightspeed Rescue, S.P.D., the final installment of Mystic Force, Operation Overdrive, and RPM). The penalty for violations of these rules, at least in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, would be the loss of "the protection of the power."
The arsenal available to the Power Rangers is also somewhat standardized: each Ranger is generally armed with a weapon such as a laser gun or a sword. Each Ranger also has a secondary set of weapons, that can often combine to form a larger weapon (usually a cannon). As the series progresses, one or even all of the Rangers are also usually given a motorcycle for long-distance travel, as well as individual zords. In many series, a Ranger is also given additional zords or weapons, in some cases one Ranger may receive something that other Rangers may not have - an example of this is the Battlizer given to the Red Rangers (up until the 19th season) of each series since In Space; but this has stopped at Jungle Fury and restarted recently in Super Samurai. Although much of the arsenal can also be found in Super Sentai, there are generally at least some items that are not generally added for the express purpose of marketing toys designed and sold by Bandai.
In later incarnations, it is also common for each incarnation to be separate, story-wise, from another incarnation. A tradition in later incarnations is for two teams of Power Rangers to team up and take on a villain. In Wild Force, the tenth incarnation of Power Rangers, this is taken to the next level, as ten Red Rangers teamed up in the episode "Forever Red". The only seasons not to feature this are Mighty Morphin, Turbo, Ninja Storm, Mystic Force, Jungle Fury, RPM, and Dino Charge.
"End of the World" Plot
In several Power Rangers series, the series ends with a battle that pits the Rangers against overwhelming odds. Each battle features several basic traits, including:
- All or most of the current Zords are destroyed either during or prior to the battle.
- The main villain makes their presence known to everyone and fights the Rangers.
- The city is overwhelmed by an army of Enemy Foot Soldiers.
- Several or all of the Rangers' vehicles are destroyed.
- The lead Ranger, usually Red, faces the primary villain in a battle that seems to be in the villain's favor.
- The villain is sealed away or destroyed, putting an end to their threat until next season.
Several series also involve the villains unleashing evil Zords upon the city, which do battle with the Rangers's remaining Zords. After the end of this plot, the threat of the current villain is negated for good or until their next appearance. The only seasons not to feature this plot are Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers, Zeo, and Turbo, as their ending battles are all combined with that of In Space in the special episode "Countdown to Destruction." It should also be noted that the Super Sentai shows also use this kind of plotline for the end of their storylines, but is generally something different, although the final battle plots for some of the PR series do have a few similarities to the final battles of the Sentai programs upon which they are based.
Many critics of the early Power Rangers series claimed that the Power Rangers use unnecessary force to destroy their monsters, and often get into fights when better alternatives were available, such as reasoning with the monsters or villains. In some cases, networks pulled Power Rangers from its lineup, citing such concerns. Later incarnations of Power Rangers often attempt to explain the actions of the Power Rangers, but many still believe that Power Rangers remains a series too violent for young children. Norway pulled the series as they believed that the series caused two boys to beat up a girl in 1993 (it was eventually found that the murder was unconnected to the series). For a time Power Rangers was pulled from Malaysian television screens as the word "morphin" (in the phrase "It's Morphin Time!") sounded a bit too much like the drug morphine. Then they showed the title shortened to only "Power Rangers" instead.
The first season of Power Rangers also drew criticism from some groups claiming that the Ranger colors were racist, specifically referring to Zack, the Black Ranger (played by African-American actor Walter Jones) and Trini, the Yellow Ranger (played by Asian-American actress Thuy Trang). This criticism was rendered moot when the two actors left the show (along with the Red Ranger) halfway through Season Two and were replaced with an Asian American male as the Black Ranger, and an African American woman as the Yellow Ranger. This was mentioned on VH1's I Love the '90s. Amy Jo Johnson and Walter Jones appeared in the "1993" episode. Jones had even stated that he was originally cast as the Blue Ranger, but chose to be the Black Ranger himself, as he felt it would make him more recognizable.
The fact that there are very few links between the later Power Rangers series (apart from the name and format) is often resented by the older Power Rangers fans. Each series now seems to start the story anew instead of continuing from the previous season as it used to. The first Power Rangers show to stop being a direct continuation from the previous was Lost Galaxy; however, recently there has been a small attempt at making the series after Lost Galaxy in canon with the Power Rangers timeline with Tommy Oliver's recall of the events in an episode of Dino Thunder and in Wild Force's tenth incarnation celebrationary episode "Forever Red" which featured all the Red Rangers from Jason Lee Scott right up to Cole himself.
In the United Kingdom, the first incarnation sparked fears that kids would hurt themselves by recreating the moves in the series. As a result, GMTV had to issue a warning at the end of an episode stating, "The Power Rangers are specially trained martial arts experts, so don't you copy them!" Sky One also issued a warning stating, "Do remember that the Power Rangers are specially trained in martial arts, so please don't try to copy any of their fight sequences at home." Whether or not the warning aired at the beginning or the end of the episode is unknown.
When Power Rangers was first released it was classified as children's programming. However, since its release, the show has continued to evolve into a program that is enjoyed by more mature audiences, partly due to its aging original fans. This has led to some fans requesting that the tone and format of the show be changed in order to better suit its more mature audience. However, whereas Power Rangers still appeals to older viewers, the show's producers feel that a more mature show might alienate their largest demographic—children. It would also cause them to lose revenue in toy and merchandising sales, which finance the shows.
A criticism not explicitly leveled at the shows themselves came from actor David Yost, who acted out William "Billy" Cranston beginning in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers's first season. Yost, who is gay, leveled accusations, after his involvement with the program had ended, that homophobia was rampant on the set (specifically from the behind-the-scenes crew) during his entire time of such involvement.
The Power Rangers series have also brought forth three movies.
- Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995)
- The Rangers fight off against Ivan Ooze and his Oozemen and Tengus (later to be called Tengas in the series), and get new Ninja Powers. Although it has the same cast as seasons 2 and 3, it is non-canon because it is set in a seperate timeline from the main universe. However, the idea of the Ninja FalconMegazord came from Ninja Sentai Kakuranger which was adapted into Season 3 soon after the Movie premiered..
- Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (1997)
- This movie provides the series premiere to Power Rangers Turbo. Lerigot from Liaria flees to Earth from the Piranhatrons, and 12-year-old Justin Stewart steps in as the new Blue Ranger. Zordon gives the rangers new Turbo powers. This is the only (commercially released) movie to be canonical to the TV series since it acted as the catalyst for the TV series' plot.
- Power Rangers Samurai: Clash of the Red Rangers - The Movie (2011)
- This movie occurs sometime during Power Rangers Super Samurai (apparently between The Rescue but after Ancient History) and acts as the team-up movie between the Samurai Rangers and Power Rangers RPM. The plot involved Scott Truman teaming up with the Samurai Rangers to stop the evil Professor Cog and a Mooger army led by General Gut. Although this didn't originally appear to be canonical, the episode "In The Driver's Seat" featured Professor Cog returning and fighting the Megaforce Rangers so this is the 2nd and final to date movie to be canonical to the series (although this was a made-for-TV special).
- Power Rangers (2017) This rendition of Power Rangers was released in March 24th 2017 and is a reboot of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
A movie was planned to be produced for Power Rangers: Time Force in 2001, but the threat of a Screen Actors Guild strike cancelled those plans.
Following their re-acquisition of the Power Rangers franchise, Saban announced plans to make a new theatrical Power Rangers movie. It was announced on the Power Rangers website that Lionsgate, working with Saban, would make a rebooted movie based on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, to be released on July 22, 2016. On April 30, the film's release was moved back six months to January 13, 2017, and then again to its final release date of March 24, 2017.
From 1995 to 1997, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie & Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie grossed $76 million worldwide altogether. MMPR:TM grossed $66,433,194, while T:APRM grossed only $9,615,840 and was considered a flop (though it won back the rest of its budget when it was released on video, and it's even more of a hit in the UK). As for the reboot film, it has grossed $142.3 million worldwide, supassing the previous 2 films, making the film series grossed $218.3 million worldwide.
Home media and streaming
As of October 1, 2014, 40-50 Power Rangers DVD collections have been released in the United States:
- The Best of the Power Rangers: The Ultimate Rangers, 2003; BVHE (DVD compilation of episodes from five different seasons of Power Rangers. The episodes include "Forever Red" and "White Light" [Tommy's reintroduction as the White Power Ranger])
- Power Rangers Ninja Storm Volumes 1–5, 2003
- Power Rangers Dino Thunder Volumes 1–5, 2004
- Power Rangers S.P.D. Volumes 1–5, 2005
- Power Rangers Mystic Force Volumes 1–3 and 'Dark Wish', 2006
- Power Rangers Operation Overdrive Volumes 1–5, 2007; BVHE (The release of an entire season for the first time in the US.)
- Power Rangers Jungle Fury Volumes 1 & 2, 2008 (Volumes 3,4 & 5 are only available in the UK.)
- Power Rangers RPM Volumes 1 & 2, 2009; BVHE Volumes 3 & 4, exclusive to Amazon.com, will also be available in the near future.
- Power Rangers RPM 'Bandai Demo DVD', 2009; BVHE (A promo DVD given away at Disney Stores. Contains the episode In or Out).
On March 12, 2012, Shout! Factory announced a home video distribution deal with Saban, which includes the first 15 series of Power Rangers. In Summer 2012, TimeLife.com released two box sets. One being all three seasons of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, the second contained Power Rangers Zeo to Power Rangers Lost Galaxy. On August 28, 2012, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 1, Volume 1 was released at retail. In November 2012, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Complete Series was released, as well as Zeo to Lost Galaxy in two separate sets outside of Time Life in late 2012 and early 2013. In mid 2013, they announced a similar set for release of Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue to Power Rangers Dino Thunder. April 2014 saw the release of Shouts' final box set, Power Rangers S.P.D. to Power Rangers RPM.
From 2011 until 2021, every season of Power Rangers was available to stream on Netflix. It was announced that on February 1st, 2021, all seasons of Power Rangers with the exception of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 1, Power Rangers Ninja Steel, Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel, and Power Rangers Beast Morphers would be leaving Netflix, as the contract previously signed by Saban Brands had expired, and had not been renewed by Hasbro aside from those particular seasons. Hasbro has yet to make an official announcement on possible future streaming platforms that will host Power Rangers. Sister shows Big Bad Beetleborgs and VR Troopers will also be leaving the service.
Beginning in 2021, episodes from past seasons (notably the reversion of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 1 and Power Rangers Dino Charge) have been slowly but surely been released for viewing on the official Power Rangers YouTube channel.
Lionsgate has also been releasing DVDs and Blu-Rays of Samurai, Super Samurai, Megaforce, and Ninja Steel in a deal with Saban.
- Power Rangers Samurai Volumes 1–3
- Power Rangers Samurai: Monster Bash
- Power Rangers Samurai: Christmas Together, Friends Forever
- Power Rangers Super Samurai: The Complete Season
- Power Rangers: The Clash of the Red Rangers
- Power Rangers Super Samurai Volumes 1–3
- Power Rangers Megaforce: Ultimate Team Power
- Power Rangers Megaforce: The Mysterious Robo Knight
- Power Rangers Megaforce: The Great Dragon Spirit
- Power Rangers Megaforce: Ultra Defenders
- Power Rangers Megaforce: A Battle to the Finish
- Power Rangers Super Megaforce: Earth Fights Back
- Power Rangers Ninja Steel: The Complete Season
- Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel: The Complete Season
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