Saban and Bandai probably had no idea Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers would become such a pop culture staple. The TV show was first launched in the U.S. in 1993 and became such a massive phenomenon it was impossible not to assaulted by the show via Halloween costumes, the media, McDonald’s Happy Meals, and lots and lots of toys. The show became huge in no time, mainly because little kids are easily suckered into watching anything that involves martial arts with awesome scores of music and giant robots battling it out with overgrown monsters, laying waste to entire cities. The theme song itself, what with it’s magnificent guitar solo spawned a new reason for people to learn the electric guitar and is a “must learn song” for anyone who takes up the instrument.
Simultaneously, Americans were finally exposed to the utter insanity of the Japanese for being able to conceive of such things. Before ’93, American children led a fairly sheltered life and only had things like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to watch. Once Power Rangers was discovered, absurdity was redefined; case in point, how about fighting pumpkin-headed putties?
Over the course of 15 years, there have been series after series of Power Rangers, but the series that started it all, Mighty Morphin, would come to define a generation of youngsters, so much so that even now when looking back, it’s difficult to not be somewhat nostalgic. For those who didn’t grow up watching this gem of a TV show, it’s difficult to try and explain what made it so awesome (trust me, I’ve tried). There was a distinct age group that grew up with the Power Rangers; those who were either a few years too young or old at the time the craze began, never got to fully appreciate it, which in and of itself is mildly tragic. How could you not love the Power Rangers?
With random fights against putties and despite no one in the an city being capable of identifying a group of superheroes that all hung out together in public and wore color-coordinated clothing, the show makes you want to get up and kick some monster ass.
The show is so incredibly iconic that it’s not even funny. From the costumes and the zords, to the characters themselves. Everyone has a favorite Power Ranger, whether it be Kimberly the Pink Ranger, or Jason the team leader and Red Ranger. At the time when we were all watching the show, there’s a good chance most of us wasn’t sure what it meant to be a “teenager with attitude”, but if it was good enough for Zordon and the Power Rangers, then god damn it, it was good enough for us.
As the show evolved, new characters started popping up, much like Tommy Oliver, a.k.a. the Green Ranger. Upon his arrival the TV show instantly changed and became an even more smashing success. The dude was incredible and might just as well be the Power Ranger that everyone loves. When he became the White Ranger it were as though a epoch event has transpired as not only did he get yet another theme song dedicated to him, but was granted a talking sword!
The villains are of course notable, but above all else, Lord Zedd is the baddest of the bad. His blood pressure was probably constantly being sent through the roof and he looked as though he devoured small puppies when he wasn’t constatly throwing monster after monster and those infernal putties at the Rangers.
Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers was/is brilliant. Sure, it’s ridiculous and the episodes’ plots aren’t really plots by any conventional standards. Obviously they did something right, for even now, people of all ages still love the Power Rangers. Even when the Rangers started to change, the fans stayed loyal to their show. Later, everyone would mock Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers for having the Black Ranger be black and all that brouhaha. Yet this only added to the charm of one of the best shows the 90s had to offer. I know I do and if only I could morph and hop into some gargantuan dinosaur robot.
In short, the Power Rangers are here to stay, if through no other medium then people’s memories and Youtube. I’ll never forget my first time watching Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers at the tender age of 4, hiding behind a chair as the putties emerged on screen. I have nothing but fond memories of the Rangers; they helped to define an entire generation’s TV watching and even though we’ve been cursed with all manner of Ranger shows that are about as fun to watch as catching the bubonic plague, it is still the classic series that we will remember for now and for years to come.