Is it finally cool to like Power Rangers?
A new Power Rangers movie came out and with its release I saw many things leading up to it and even after the movie and that was media attention that the franchise hadn’t had since the fad of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers back in the early 90s. Article after article in both mainstream geek culture oriented sites to main stream media outlets which just hasn’t been the case since the birth of the franchise. So I asked myself if it was cool to like Power Rangers again.
Like most kids I grew out of Power Rangers after Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers but unlike most it became impossible for me to watch the later seasons. Trust me, if I’d had the chance I would’ve forced myself to like it no matter how far they strayed from the original formula since I was so invested in the heroes. But the forced exile on the franchise might’ve been good since it left me to enjoy other things and wonder what was happening in the Ranger universe all these years. It wasn’t until one day in the mid 00’s I was channel surfing and I found Power Rangers S.P.D. on the Disney Channel and I decided to check out what Power Rangers was doing now. I began to laugh at how stupid it was and how much they had ruined the original formula. I mean police rangers? What were they thinking? But by the end of the episode I was a bit surprised that, “Oh, snap!”. I had actually liked it and decided to check it out.
I ended up watching the entire season and loving it, I loved this re-imagining of my childhood show. I did my usual hardcore yet embarrassing extensive geek research to find out all the information about the franchise that I could. In only a week I had the knowledge the fandom had taken over a decade to gather and I was definitely not proud of myself. Regardless I found it fascinating that not only had the show continued after all these years but that all the shows were in continuity with each other and the story lines had continued over the years albeit with sort of a soft-reboot with a new team every season even if they still team up with the older teams.
I was back baby! And as big of a fan as I was when I was a kid, I dressed up as the Red Ranger for Halloween that year and bought more merchandise that I’d like to admit. But one thing I noticed was that besides the Power Rangers fandom it really wasn’t cool to like Power Rangers like say it was cool to like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Hell even on the internet itself you would only find Power Ranger fans in Power Rangers websites, there was no crossover elsewhere. It made perfect sense that I hadn’t crossed paths with the franchise before channel surfing as it seemed to be something no one would ever accept into liking it with constant questions as “Is the show still on?” without knowing that Power Rangers had been the #1 action figures sold in the last few years and never been cancelled, not to mention that Disney now owned it and featured its show and merchandise in its channel and store.
Over the years awareness of the Power Rangers brand grew over the internet and it wasn’t as bad as it used to but even then it was never cool to be nostalgic about Power Rangers, even as other 90s properties became hot again like TMNT, Nickelodeon shows, Pokemon, etc. It really seemed like Power Rangers would never have its own spotlight ever again and would always be seen as an embarrassment of the past like Barney the Dinosaur. However all this changed when the new movie was announced and the promotional pictures and trailers started coming out. As much as I hated the look of it I was cautiously optimistic that they would do it correctly even if I though it’d be tough with the mood they were going for. I had just wanted a reboot movie based on Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers since I got back in the franchise that I was willing to give it a chance even if it looked as if it were the Power Rangers equivalent of the Platinum Dune’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles “Bayformers” movie.
Much to my surprise what I found instead was all these websites and news outlets talking about the movie and even if critics were harsh with the reviews (though not as bad as DC). The word of mouth was still generally positive with it getting plenty of good reviews from online personalities and geeks in general, I mean even real life friends who would never talk about Power Rangers are doing it. There’s licensed stuff everywhere now from plush toys to adult collectors props and figures and even a praised comic book series that is talked about unlike the previous comic run from just a few years ago that barely got any coverage and that was less than 5 years ago. Is it nostalgia that it finally reached the point that Power Rangers needed and it’s just the fumes of sweet nostalgia goggles like it was for me in the mid 00’s or is it finally cool to like Power Rangers again?