[caption] The Saban Entertainment run of the franchise — beginning with Power Rangers in Space — used this version of the Power Rangers logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)[/caption]
I'm going over news from Toy Fair, and it's a pretty busy place. Sadly neither of the sites I work on would offer me a potential invite but if I can find someone going over the toys that interest me I'll be happy. Transformers is looking amazing, but we aren't here to discuss Transformers. We're talking Power Rangers...whose toy license oddly Hasbro now has. For whatever reason Bandai's American division is opting out of Power Rangers even though their Japanese origin point is still making toys for the Sentai series Power Rangers is based on and Bandai US has made the toys since the very first Mighty Morphin series. This should be interesting.
However, this isn't the announcement that matters to this site. It's the new Power Rangers series. While Nickelodeon just recently began Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel (because dropping "Super" into season two is just what they do now) the next series has been announced, and it's an interesting choice given it's a Sentai they skipped a few years ago.
Power Rangers Beast Morphers, which I'm hoping is a placeholder name because frankly it sounds too much like a toyline is based on the sentai, is the next Power Rangers series to come out. Obviously it's too early for a cast and character list, but we do have a plot:
Set in the future, a secret agency combines a newly discovered substance called “Morph-X” with animal DNA
to create the Power Rangers Beast Morphers team. The Rangers must fight off an evil sentient computer virus
bent on taking over the source of all Ranger power, the Morphin Grid itself. Featuring never-before-seen
leather suits and an all-new beast-themed arsenal (including dynamic new Zords), fans should get ready for a
season full of secret ops and morphinominal fun.
Currently, Power Rangers is celebrating 25 continuous years on the air, making it one of the longest running kids’
live-action series in television history with nearly 900 episodes aired to date. Created by Haim Saban and
launched in 1993 with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, the franchise celebrates its milestone anniversary year
with the 25th season, “Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel” currently airing on Saturdays at 12 p.m. (ET/PT) on
Nickelodeon in the U.S.
Saban Brands recently announced it will continue its longtime partnership with Nickelodeon to serve as the
official broadcaster for Saban’s Power Rangers television series in the U.S. through 2021.
"Evil sentient computer virus, you say?" Return of Venjix or a coincidence? And how close to the original Sentai are they going to be? I don't like when it's too close because it misses the point of doing more than a simple dub and bringing in new actors and stories. That said I like the idea that the Morphing Grid is going to potentially play a stronger role. In previous shows the Morphing Grid is the source of the Rangers' powers and it's also tappable by the villains. One episode claimed that the Grid's balance was maintained by the feud between Zordon and Lord Zedd, but that was before they started building on Power Rangers lore with Dark Spectre. However, not much was really done concerning the Morphing Grid itself outside of the occasional episode. Maybe we'll finally learn where it came from and how so many people learned to access it to create various Power Ranger teams across the galaxy. I don't know if they will but it seems like the perfect opportunity.
[caption] image source: Power Rangers Now[/caption]
This is the new logo design for Power Rangers. I'm not all that impressed. They kept the lightning bolt without changes but the lettering isn't too bad, and yet it lacks a bit of the style the most recent incarnation had. I'm also hoping the design of the Beast Morphers part is also a placeholder even if they do keep the name. (I've seen commenters comparing the name to "Beast Wars/Machines".) Compared to more recent logos...
...it isn't bad but doesn't really flush right visually with the "Power Rangers". I'm hoping they tweak things a bit before the final release.
The real interesting part is the sentai series they're using for Beast Morphers. Special Operations Squadron Go-Busters (no connection to Ghostbusters of any form) is a series that uses the catch phrase "It's Morphin Time" as part of their transformation sequence and has a different design from its predecessors. Seriously, every article and video I've seen mentions them using leather instead of spandex. That's how attentive to detail older Power Ranger fans are. (This may be a kids series but people who grew up with the show stick with it, which is a badge of honor for the franchise. Heck, I started watching when I was in high school myself, right when Mighty Morphin first aired. Although given what I watch now at 44...) I also really like the designs of the suits.
If you turn on the captions you can understand what they're saying. The series follows the three we see already in costume and they're "Buddyroids" (speaking of names to be changed) as they protect a future city and its power source from an invading force also led by a malevolent computer virus. Their morphers are on their arms but the whole "sunglasses come out to morph" thing is part of them too. The two new guys have phones that turn into guns and then morphers. Because we gots to sell them toys!
And that's one thought some fans are having as to why Saban Brands is jumping back a few years on a series they skipped; the reason being Hasbro saw them as better toy potential than the series coming up next out of Japan. Whether or not this is true has not been released at the time of this writing. Given Saban needing two seasons to tell their usual length series arc (Nickelodeon prefers a shorter season than Saban is used to, which has irritated a number of fans) this show was originally passed by but is now getting another chance to be recreated for an American audience. Whether or not other skipped shows get a chance has yet to be seen.
I'm excited for the possibilities but we'll have to wait until next year to see if Power Rangers Beast Morphers is going to be a good show, and how Hasbro will approach the toys versus what Bandai did.