During the early to mid nineties, much of my afternoon was spent on the TV watching cartoons with my brother. Whether it was the incredible Batman: The Animated Series, Tiny Toons, Eek the Cat or whatever else Fox Kids had, I ate it all up (and became a shitty student at the same time). However, something Japanese would come our way with a massive impact on our weekdays, and that was the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
I was familiar with the Super Sentai franchises during my stays in Thailand to see family members, and this was especially so for the bird-themed Chojin Sentai Jetman, which kicked so much ass back in the day. Therefore, you could imagine my amazement at seeing an ad for the upcoming Power Rangers show. I was ecstatic, and even my own Dad commented that “Hey, it’s like Jetman!” You damn right it is Dad, and it was awesome.
From 1993 to 1997, Power Ranger mania swept over me like mad, and it all came together with Saban’s greatest season in 1998: Power Rangers in Space. Designed to be its last season thanks in no small part to the dismal ratings seen on its predecessor, Power Rangers Turbo, In Space was written to be an epic space opera that would draw the final curtain on Saban’s love affair with tokusatsu tights. Ironically, the ratings came roaring back, and the magnificence of In Space helped to revitalize the Power Rangers franchise for 3 more years. In Space’s successor, Lost Galaxy, is a firm favorite of mine thanks to the great fight scenes and villains, but things would soon get serious for me as life began to catch up with me real fast.
As 1999 rolled around, I was more concerned about my prospects for college and from then on, I focused on getting my ACT and SAT scores on track while maintaining a good GPA. As a result, my love affair with Power Rangers waned considerably, especially since more daytime anime started to show up on cable (Gundam Wing and so forth) and sadly, the concepts for the remaining shows just didn’t interest me. I held a cursory glance at Lightspeed Rescue and didn’t care for the suits or concept much. By 2001, I was already in college with so much on my mind, and with the country in such dismay after 9 / 11, you can probably guess what my thoughts were when I glanced at Power Rangers Time Force. Time travel? Yeah right…
In the years that followed, I did wonder every so often about what I had missed out on. Thanks in no small part to Linkara’s excellent series History of Power Rangers however, I finally amassed the courage to dive into Time Force this past September and was pleasantly surprised. It followed the Sentai closely, but had a freshness that I find hard to explain. Maybe it’s thanks to the unique premise, or how refreshing it is to see somebody like Wes (played with panache by Jason Faunt) be the Red Time Force Ranger. Or maybe it’s how badass Dan Southworth is as Eric Myers, who would ultimately become the Quantum Ranger. Or it might be Circuit, because he’s adorable and super awesome. All in all, Time Force was a great season and I really wish I gave it a chance all those years ago.
Hopefully as the new year rolls around, I will touch up on and review some of the PR seasons that I’ve either re-watched (thanks to Netflix and Shout Factory) or am watching for the first time. As of this moment, I am currently watching Lightspeed Rescue for the first time, and I am impressed with it so far (minus Vypra, but it’s really not a deal-breaker in any sense). Before that, I re-watched both In Space and Lost Galaxy, and to my surprise, I don’t remember as much as I thought I did, but both seasons remain awesome. With Dino Charge happening as we speak and a new film in the works, here’s hoping that the Power Rangers franchise will continue and recapture some of that luster that the old Saban Entertainment days stumbled onto (yes, I say this, yet I haven’t even touched ONE Disney PR season yet, so maybe I’m counting my chickens before they hatch).