Here’s the SparkNotes: the fate of Power Rangers rests on its upcoming film.
Lionsgate’s highly anticipated Power Rangers movie hits theaters on March 24. And while death isn’t staring the Power Rangers franchise immediately in its face, it’s still looking in the franchise’s general direction – that is, if the Power Rangers movie flops.
Of course no fan wants that to happen (well, generally speaking), but if Power Rangers is to continue as a major long-term franchise, it can’t happen. The stakes on this movie are higher than “just another Hollywood superhero film”. This is the survival of a brand approaching three decades deep.
The fact is: think of all the aspirations and deep fan desires you have for the Power Rangers brand, some of which may be far-fetched. Maybe you want a series of spinoff TV shows? Maybe you want a super dark R-rated movie? Or maybe you just want Power Rangers to appeal to a larger audience, and finally be wholly relevant again? None of that will happen if the Power Rangers movie fails.
That’s because Power Rangers will go back to relying on the very thing it has been primarily identified as for years: a TV show aimed at a younger kids’ demographic. But as TV ratings, and general fan opinion will tell you – the TV show is stuck in a noticeable rut.
Weekly viewership for the current season on Nickelodeon has generally plateaued, but otherwise struggling to stay level. The idea of the TV show seeing a sudden spike in viewership sounds as impossible as pigs flying. Make no mistake – a pop culture explosion the size of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers isn’t happening again. Not in this century.
Some of that can be attributed to the changes in technology as consumers shift more towards mobility and streaming services, and away from traditional land lines. But some of that can also be attributed to the shows’ seemingly never ending holding pattern of mediocre creativity.
The quality of Power Rangers is, at the end of the day, an opinion. But if you ask the many dedicated fans who’ve followed the franchise since its inception, the majority will tell you that the TV show appears to be stuck on auto-pilot – taking no creative chances to try something new, something bigger, or something daring.
No one knows what’s coming for “Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel” in 2018 (assumed title, not confirmed). But no fan will also tell you that they expect it to be any different than the same rinse-and-repeat formula the show has trotted out for nearly the last decade. It’s clear to realize that when you survey the landscape of dedicated Power Rangers fans, the feeling is generally disappointment. Sure, there may be a sweet episode occasionally or a cool moment here or there. But by & large all hope has been lost for any major exciting changes or improvement to the TV show for the near future.
Which is where Lionsgate’s Power Rangers movie comes into play. Any chance Power Rangers has to be pushed back on the map as a major mainstream player rests on the only force big enough to push it there: the movie.
See, there’s a reason fans new and old are excited to finally see Lionsgate’s highly anticipated film hit theaters. It’s not just because it offers a new cast, that’s taking major creative risks to be different. It’s not just because it’s an edgier re-telling of a story etched into the history of pop culture. It’s because it offers hope.
∙The hope that Power Rangers can once again become everything fans want it to be.
∙The hope that Power Rangers will be able to achieve every desire lying deep inside.
∙The hope that Power Rangers will finally be able to cater to the larger audience it’s been seeking since the 1990’s.
You don’t have to like what you’ve seen from Lionsgate’s Power Rangers movie. You don’t even have to see it five times to be considered a true fan.
But you do have to root for it.
Because the fate of the franchise we’ve all come to know and love does depend on it.