Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Dear Hasbro: How to make a successful Power Rangers TV Season

How to make a successful TV Season/What fans want

Dear Hasbro, 
Here are some ideas on how to make a successful Power Rangers TV season. It of course is not an exact science. This is based on ideas, complaints and praises I've heard from fans. Fans have fought over which is the best season and the consensus is the cream of the crop is Power Rangers in Space, Power Rangers Time Force and Power Rangers RPM. The weakest seasons are agreed to be Power Rangers Operation Overdrive and Power Rangers Megaforce. Even though the most popular and well known by general audiences is Mighty Morphin Power Rangers but Saban tried to imitate it with Samurai and Megaforce (using mostly Japanese footage, little original footage and no characterization) was not liked by fans. Fans generally want good storytelling, characterization, entertaining but genuine characters. Also I have a Television production background so I understand about budgets, adhering to scheduling, and Murphy's law--things will go wrong at the wrong time.

Quick Guide:
Saban Era (1993-2001) - Mighty Morphin to Wild Force
Disney Era (2001-2010) - Wild Force to RPM
Neo Saban Era (2011-2018) - Samurai to Super Ninja Steel
Hasbro Era (2019-) - Beast Morphers to ?

Original Fighting Footage
While not vital as there is already fighting footage, sometimes it is important to have some new footage to tie in with what the story asks for. Lost Galaxy and RPM has this a lot since each took place in other environments other than the footage had. Megaforce had very little but was still acceptable, the biggest flaw of Megaforce was bad editing between changes and too many battles and little story. For example, the editing was bad in the episode "A Lion's Alliance" when you briefly see Turborangers from Sentai footage and the episode "The Wrath" has the Sun Vulcan logo briefly before Red Ranger becomes Mighty Morphin.  

Unmorphed battles
Fans love to see the actual actors fighting villains. It is rare in recent seasons but has happened. Fans like to keep the illusion these characters are actually in battle. I say illusion because of the stunt people. Even if it isn't all done by the real actors. 

Name Items
Disney seasons like Ninja Steel and others suffered from weapons, attacks and zords not having names. While Lost Galaxy couldn't keep track of the names of the zords (Misnaming Centaurus and Strataforce Megazords), Disney didn't give names to all their Power Sphere weapons. While not vital, since Hasbro is mainly a toy company and have toys to sell, it is important that everything has a name. Also don't have competing names like in Megaforce while the footage showed the Japanese names and not the American ones. Saban Brands was pretty good at naming everything but had trouble in what mentioned earlier. 

While easy to say, it is a hard thing to give every actor equal time. But it is a disservice when one character has most of the episodes and another has not one single highlight episode. Above Gia from Megaforce did not have one single episode to herself, she did share some but that was it. Also have characterization that make sense, Kendall from Dino Charge had hit-and-miss, sometimes her actions made sense and other times did not. Other times, characters were so annoying, we didn't want to root for them. Case and point, Dax from Operation Overdrives who was kind of okay in solo episodes but for one-liners were groan-worthy and irritating in most episodes. 

Compelling Villains
Like fellow fan Linkara says don't just have villains SCREAM ALL THEIR LINES and have generic bad guy deep voices. The most popular villain bare none is Lord Zedd. But other compelling and complex villains include Ecliptor (PRIS), Darkonda (PRIS), Astronmena (PRIS), Diabolico (PRLR), Villamax (PRLG), Trakeena (PRLG), Rita (MMPR), and Ransik (PRTF). There are plenty more and notice the ones I mentioned are from the early days fans refer to Saban Era. What makes a good villain is a villain with a clear goal and some characterization. Someone kids can fear but not too scary of course. Someone who not necessarily has to be funny, not have to be too goofy and campy (Lothor of PRNS and Vekar of Super Megaforce). And not someone flat like Vrax of Megaforce. 

Tone for Power Rangers is tricky. Has to be fun, but not too goofy, not too condensending to the young audience, and not too serious that it borders on boring. Super Sentai can be darker than Power Rangers but it can also be goofier than Power Rangers at the same time. Out of the Neo Saban seasons, Dino Charge has about the right tone. It balanced genuine comedy with action, adventure and suspense. Fans bring down Disney seasons but I liked their production values, I did not appreciate the tone of the comedy sometimes in Dino Thunder and Jungle Fury. I did like the comedy in RPM, it didn't talk down to kids. The humor in Samurai and Ninja Steel unfortunately does. I'm talking about Monty and Victor. I know Bulk and Skull were a bit lowbrow and condensending but I feel those actors made it work more than Victor and Monty. And Bulk and Spike's humor didn't quite gel sometimes with Samurai's tone. 

Thanks for your time.
Love, Lavender Ranger

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Hasbro buys the Power Rangers franchise

Hasbro has reached a deal to acquire Haim Saban’s flagship Saban’s Power Rangers property along with other entertainment brands including My Pet Monster, Popples, Julius Jr., Luna Petunia and Treehouse Detectives in a cash-and-stock pact valued at $522 million.

2001 - Disney bought Fox Family, Power Rangers and other properities for 3 Billion dollars.
2010 - Saban bought Power Rangers from Disney for 100 Million.
2018 - Hasbro brought Power Rangers from Saban at 522 Million.

I'm not shocked as many fans theorized this would happened and it is obvious Saban would had let it go eventually. Fans aren't so happy with current seasons. Hasbro itself have been good at balancing the younger kids and older kids set with Transformers so I'm not too worried. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Power Rangers Ninja Super Steel - Caught Red-Handed - Episode Review

Episode Summary:
The Principal talks about the camping trip and shows them her antique campus that belonged to her grandmother. Brody says his grandfather had one. Victor comes in dressed as Indian Jones talking about a rhino. Their net blaster gets on the principal and other people. The principal puts them both in detention, no trip. Then she notices her campus is gone. They find it in Brody's bag. Monty and Victor blame Brody. Principal says he won't go to the trip. Principal thretens them with the camera. Preston and Calvin offer to stay, Brody let's them go. Levi and the others leave. 

At the Galaxy Warriors, Rygore is selected to fight and gets his medallion. He rolls a dice to decide his next move. Victor and Monty try to escape while Brody studies. In the forest, Sarah already puts up her tent. They get called by Mick about buzzcams. Brody also tries going up in the ceiling. Rygog picks an attack from his dice and takes out a kettle and attacks the five Rangers. They instamorph and fight. Victor and Monty arrive and see the rhino monster. Victor takes out his snare blaster and doesn't capture Rygog but they get captured and kicked out. They arrive on the Principal's tent.

 Rygog rolls the dice and throws jacks at the Rangers. Brody arrives and takes his jacks. He throws them back and they explode on him. He retreats. The Rangers unmorph and Brody leaves, saying his integrity is more important. Monty shows the video to the Principal and they go back to the school. The Principal shows the video to Brody. The compass was knocked into his bag with the net. The Principal apologizes and says courage to do the right thing. She gives him the compass. He thanks her and goes camping. Principal says Victor and Monty have to stay in detention for a week. The Rangers are about to go camping when Rygog arrives again. 

The six morph. They blast him back. Rygog vs Preston and he rolls the dice and throws him down. The others arrive. Red clones themselves. The clones attack and they do two attacks. Rygog grows. Ninja Ultrazord is made. Yellow gets the chaindsaw blade. Rygog throws the dice. Yellow calls the blaster. They destroy Rygog. Odius gets the medallion and has three. She wants the fourth medallion from the girl Galactic Ninja. Odius takes it. She use magic to make Foxitron out of the fox grunts. Badonna makes Foxitron big. Odius enters it and puts the four Medallions. The zord absorbs the blasts and blasts them back. The Zords come apart into megazords. The Megazords fight back.

Bull Rider attacks with no avail. Odius splits the zords apart and the Rangers demorph. The Ninja Stars are burnt and don't work. Brody tries the Lion zord but is hit back. She does her attack and the Megazord foes down. Red falls out and demorphs. Odius laugh and says Ninjas lose. All the zord stars are damaged. Foxitron is losing power. She comes down and the teens hide. Badonna and Venoma come to her.  Venoma says the Medallions have to be recharged. They laugh and leave. Brody says they have one day to figure out how to beat it. (or six months)

A wizard did it! I knew the compass problem got resolved rather quickly. These two seasons have followed Dino Charge in having a regular filler standalone episode with some big arc stuffed at the end. The ending could've been easily a whole different episode. I did like having three female villains around again. The remixed MMPR background music really helped this ep. 

Friday, March 9, 2018

Power Rangers Multiverse and Labeling the Universes

WARNING: Before this starts, heed my warning that I know Power Rangers have different writers and how difficult it is to adapt a series from another country. Super Sentai always starts fresh every year with their stories and resets things. Aliens could be part of it, and sometimes not. That's the fun. Japanese understand this. But American fans love everything to be in the same universe and stay together. But unfortunately Power Rangers has switched so many hands in charge, it's hard to keep track. It is not easy making a TV show, even if they follow a Series Bible or not. A stray comment can get fans upset (Alpha 5 planet in SPD) and so forth. So I understand that writers do their own thing and I expect whoever reading this understands that too. 

It all started with the first Power Rangers movie, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995). Power Rangers has its canon continuity but then veered off with the movie that offered an alternative view. Same teens, different looking everything (Command Center, Zordon, Zedd, etc.) and different way of receiving the Ninja Zords than the series. So fans considered that non-canon. Then after MMPR, the seasons changed names and casts started changed. In Space closed off one chapter by Zordon dying and various villains being destroyed. Lost Galaxy started a wrench in that it was 'distant future.' That Earth created a huge space station in short time since sending two dumb astronauts to open Rita's dumpster in the first season. Fans suspected it could have been set three or four years later but then Lightspeed Rescue being set in 2000 and Lost Galaxy Rangers showing up placed Lost Galaxy in 1999.

While Disney seasons were vague if they were in continuity or completely tied in, RPM threw a monkey wrench by having complete apocalypse and no mention of past Rangers. Many fans theorized it took place in another universe (or dimension, which is not the correct word). Samurai plainly place it in another world but unfortunately was confusing about it (the monster said, "So this is Earth.") Samurai and Megaforce seemed to be in the same main continuation of MMPR to Jungle Fury with inclusion of those teams. Dino Charge seem to be in its own continuation as it began at the time of the dinosaurs and went in against what Dino Thunder set up in 2004. But I didn't expect it to follow that. Anyway, the finale changed time and the DC team ended up with Dinosaurs living with them. Then Sledge ended up in the Ninja Steel universe, setting both series in two different continuation. Then there is the Boom Comics MMPR that establishes different universes. Now Shattered Grid comic event seems to tie all these teams together, including Hyperforce, the RPG that is set in the main continuation. Also Beast Morphers might also take in another continuation with another virus and the future premise. 

"DC (Comics) does a really good job of monitoring the universe for the movies," Yoshi Sudarso (Koda of Power Rangers Dino Charge) says. "You know, the cinematic universe, and there's the cartoon universe, and there's Earth 1, Earth 2, Earth 3, Even the Batman Beyond universe. I think if Power Rangers started labeling things better like that, that'd be kind of nice too. Cause a lot of the times, as a fan, you get lost. I'm sure you feel the same way too, you're like, 'Wait, did that happen in this universe? Or did this not happen?' You know."

Here is my feeble attempt at labeling the continuations/universes:
Main Continuity
Starting with Mighty Morphin Power Ranger through the whole Saban era to Wild Force, through the whole Disney era up to Jungle Fury and then Samurai to Super Megaforce. Seemingly, I think Ninja Steel seems to fit in the same continuation. Hyper Force is also set in this continuation. SPD is set in 2025 but when we reach 2025, let's see what the writers come up with.
1. Mighty Morphin-In Space (Including Turbo movie)
2. Lost Galaxy
3. Lightspeed
4. Time Force
5. Wild Force
6. Ninja Storm
7. Dino Thunder
8. SPD (2025)
9. Mystic Force
10. PROO
11. Jungle Fury
12. Samurai/Super Samurai
13. Megaforce/Super Megaforce
14. Ninja Steel/Super Ninja Steel

Movie Continuities
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers The Movie is in its own canon and might not ever be visited again, unless in the comics. Also the 2017 Power Rangers movie is also in its own continuation. 

RPM Continuity
Everything seemed to be Ranger less at first. Dr. K made the Venjix virus and it caused global apocalypse and the Power Rangers RPM were created. They later jumped dimensions to fight Samurai. Super Megaforce came to visit Cronith but it looked different.

Dino Charge continuity
Sledge the bounty hunter and Keeper killed the dinosaurs and then the Dino Charge Rangers couldn't save the Earth from being sucked into a blackhole. The Rangers go back in time and send Sledge into the sun but somehow the future baddies went into the black hole and ended up in Ninja Steel's universe. The Dino Charge Rangers then ended up co-living with dinosaurs.
1. Dino Charge
2. Dino Supercharge

Boom Comics Continuity
Lord Drakkon didn't exist in our main continuity, he came from another dimension. If the Boom Comics continuation is the same or their own timeline is up to debate. 


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

What Lavender Ranger Expects From Hasbro

I don't want to be selfish and be like, this is my opinion and it is what is written in stone. With that thought, I then said let's make a post about the whole fandom wants. But getting everyone's opinions would take too much time and I'm beyond busy right now. And it would be douchy of me to speak for the fandom. I don't want to do that either. So here is my opinion and if anyone cares can read it, if they don't, they don't have to read it. I've been a Power Rangers fan since 1993, my first toy was the 8 inch Yellow Ranger from Bandai and I love the details and articulation of the Bandai Japan toys.  So here is stuff I expect and want...

Zords like Bandai Japan zords
The next series to be adapted is Go-Busters as Beast Morphers. The mecha looks the most like Transformers so it is definitely in Hasbro's wheelhouse. Since around when Disney took over, the Bandai America zords have lost quality. They used to be close to the quality of Bandai Japan. The Legacy zords definitely stepped up and got better than Bandai Japan, then they did Bandai Premium. Hasbro is no stranger to recreating toys from Japan, Transformers, VR Troopers, etc. And they have done great articulation with Transformers.

Legacy Figures Continued
The Marvel Legends figures are 6 inches tall while the Bandai Legacy figures are 6'5". Fans want the Legacy line to continue and with the 6'5" height. That would be great, I would like that because I can continue my collection and not have to restart. Unfortunately I don't see that happening. It is rare for toy lines to continue from one company to another. I do look forward to Hasbro doing the Legacy figs because the Marvel Legends have different heads and arms unlike the Bandai ones. 

Shogun Megazord and other Legacy Items
Talking about continuation of lines, Bandai moved on from MMPR finally and will give us Zeo Mropher and Golden Staff but they skipped Shogun Megazord which has left a sore spot for fans. Basically because they decided to release Red and Yellow dino zords instead of it. The original Shogun Megazord came with a pink one instead of white and I would like to see a show accurate Shogun Megazord. Hasbro executives have said they will cater more to grown up fans and their Marvel line sure has shown that so I hope so. 

Villain figures
Hasbro makes a lot of villains. Bandai did in the past but not so much anymore. Bandai has been releasing more monsters, I would like to see more monsters to continue. I would like to see classic villains in a Legacy line like Rita, Zedd, Goldar, etc. This might be too much to ask but past monsters would be great now. The above pic shows 11 inch "Nutcracker" figures, I now they will continue. I know fans won't like it but it will continue because it is the industry norm now. 

I know fans didn't want to believe girl figures don't sell and I even refused to believe it. But I have seen them warm shelves. But I think the current Bandai America figures did so because the figures were/are so thin and easily to break. I say that because my nephew and niece have easily broken through female figures' arms and legs. For the Movie, Bandai did release more female figs and gear. For Black Panther and Antman and Wasp, they have lots of female figures and I hope this continues with Power Rangers. I think it won't be an issue with Beast Morphers as they is just one female and she is yellow.

 Final Thoughts
I've said what I expect but what I WISH would be affordable items and quality items. "Affordable" is hard. If you want quality, you have pay for it. But I wish it was worth it. The Bandai America Legacy Communicator was not show accurate and the sounds were random and was $80. If I spend $80, I want it to be worthwhile. All above is just speculation anyway. I don't know really what will happen. I am excited. A lot of fans are hyped, they don't want to disappointed. But from experience, not everyone will be happy. We'll see. It is part of life. Excitement and disappointment. All I got to say to Hasbro is: Bring It On.