Tomorrow, “Power Rangers” arrives in movie theaters nationwide, hoping to cash in on the cultural phenomenon that stormed TV and toy aisles in the 1990s. In the modern-day reboot, the film goes into how the Power Rangers first became the eponymous squad.
The new “Power Rangers” adaptation may seem like a reboot, but Power Rangers as a franchise has been alive and well since the original TV show kicked off in 1993. “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers” debuted in August 1993 on Fox Kids, the programming block for children that aired on Fox from 1990 to 2002. An immediate hit, kids all across the country rushed home from school, grabbed a bag of 3D Doritos and Gushers, and turned on the TV to watch “Mighty Morhpin’ Power Rangers” six days a week.
The show focused on five teenagers “with attitude” in the fictional town of Angel Grove, California. They are chosen by an all-seeing and wise alien named Zordon to help defend Earth from an evil Alien sorcerous named Rita Repulsa. Zordon gives the five teens the ability to morph into a colorful fighting squad called the Power Rangers.
The “Power Rangers” captured the highest Nielsen ratings for a network children’s show and was broadcasted in over 150 countries worldwide. It also spawned a massive and successful franchise, complete with comic books, video games, feature films and merchandise.
In December 1993, Entertainment Weekly declared the Power Ranger figures the hottest toys of the holiday season. The mania prompted stores to limit sales to one action figure per family and the toys were scalped for many times its worth. In 1995, the Power Rangers franchise generated an estimated $1 billion in revenue.
Of course, Power Rangers didn’t come without its own sets of controversies. Parents and schools complained that the show inspired violence in children. One pre-school in New York banned any Power Rangers clothing and accessories, due to an uptick in violence from the three and four-year olds. One teacher claimed it was the worst she’d seen, more than the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” or any other prior fads. The popular show was even banned in New Zealand, Malaysia, Norway, and from some Canadian TV stations.
Despite the backlash, the show went on – and still lives on today. The 25th season of Power Rangers,”Power Rangers Ninja Steel,” debuted on January 21, 2017