Sunday, 31 January 2010

Power Rangers

Power Rangers is, like Smallville, a guilty pleasure of mine. It's crap, but reliable for early morning entertainment. Over the last, what 16 years its been going it's improved in leaps and bounds. The latest, and possibly last, version "Power Rangers RPM" took the recycled themes used from the last ten or so series and played on them. Producing a surprisingly well thought out and interesting show that proved the format, in the right hands, still has a lot of life to it.

Knowing that it was being watched by the old fans of the classic shows as much as new viewers the writers played up to all those things we expected to see. They then gave all the clich├ęs and themes a twist. It wasn't anything new in the grand scheme of things but it was fun to see develop and grow, especially with the twists included this time. For example it's become predictable that the first few members of the team will be joined by a new rebel member who will become the focus of the series (think Green Ranger) so the writers introduced him right from the start with a knowing wink and explored the original team later with flashbacks. This made them all interesting and mysteries from the start rather than just the newcomer. A welcome change.

You could argue RPM was "inspired" by Mad Max and Terminator. I would say that the premiss was stolen straight from those films, but what they did with it was entertaining, clever and well organised. Outside of the writing the acting, always the weakest point of Power Rangers, was well above par. Same for direction and Special Effects, another two aspects that are easily ridiculed but were respectable here.

RPM was anything but the corny over the top karate showcase the original show was. As this was supposed to be the last series you can see a real care and attention was paid to the craft this time around. Developing strong characters and making them believable in an outlandish plot. Even the Scottish ranger blue (the idea of a Scotsman running around in blue spandex has me laughing every time!)

That's not to say it was perfect, once again the comic relief sucked all drama from his scenes. In attempting to chew the scenery he only demonstrated that he wasn't really funny or likeable. The flipping back and forth of the villain-to-be-redeemed in the last few episodes also dragged down the ending. Although in it's defence the actress they got pulled off the dual personality, being both ruthless while evil and unsure when innocent and it was a good arc to begin with. There were also the usual embarrassing moments that are supposed to be funny and the dramatic tension that will be undermined by the plot device of the week but that is to be expected.

RPM was one of the best Power Rangers series and as a whole the show went out on a high note. It would be a shame if it truly was the last ever, but if it is I can't think of a better way to end the show.

Edit.
Technically it was the last so far. With the original Mighty Morphin' Rangers getting the "Re-mastered" treatment. Making it more comic and "child friendly". "Child" in this case means what a group of overweight, cigar chomping, corporate executives think children want. After running about a dozen focus groups with the Pro-Christian, far right, Mary Whitehouse loving, shut in mother's board against fun and quality in Television.

I swear this body exists somewhere. Complaining about things like including the word "War" in cartoons, trying to ban loony tunes because it shows violence to animals, refusing to show blood on TV. All because their little darling children shouldn't be exposed to the real world. Grow up!

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