Thursday, March 31, 2011

Why I Should Write Power Rangers 2012

Not meant as a serious pitch (obviously, since I'm posting it on the Internet rather than sending it to Saban), but just a sort of speculative suggestion a la Christopher Bird's Why I Should Write (blank) series.

If all else were to hold even, Goseiger, Super Sentai's 34th season, would be translated into Power Rangers' 20th season. (It would be the series' 19th year, I believe, but if we're going to arbitrarily define things, it might as well be by Saban's arbitrary definition of what the 19th season is [Power Rangers Samurai].) Thus, it deserves to be something of an "event" year.

Unfortunately, Saban is currently going with the whole "just imitate the guys who wrote it the first time and it'll turn out serviceable" idea. This bothers me because Goseiger was merely an okay season of Super Sentai, but I think it could be used for great Power Rangers.

Specifically, imitating Super Sentai too slavishly would probably create something rather cringe-worthy. The Goseigers call themselves angels, for crying out loud! This could cause a negative reaction from mainstream America, to the point where I could see Saban skipping it in order to avoid a backlash.

So why don't we dodge it in another way, with one of Power Rangers' own old mainstays, "space aliens?" I even have a suggestion that I think would work very well, both calling back to olden days and simultaneously opening up new possibilities: Eltarians.

The problem with using anything from Power Rangers' past is that it's fraught with major expectations, and there wouldn't be a sentai-footage based way of supporting the connection. Here, that's not necessarily a problem. Why? Because it was never truly defined just what makes an Eltarian an Eltarian.

Sure, the primary Eltarian we know of, Zordon, was a head in a tube. This was pretty well defined, but doesn't it strike you as unlikely that this would be what all Eltarians were like? If they were tool-users, they had to have hands at some point.

There are also semi-apocryphal references to the idea that Zordon had once had a more humanlike body, and had been more proactive. Here we have our crucial element: What if these hypothetical "alien rangers" were Eltarians of a similar sort to the pre-livin'-in-a-tube Zordon?

Specifically, like the Goseigers, a team of youths in training who get stranded with only limited guidance on Earth. They're indistinguishable from humans except on occasions wherein they sprout wings in moments showing greater potential or some such. (Granted, associating Eltarians with such imagery has a good chance of becoming rather uncomfortable, but it's not like Eltar doesn't potentially have this problem already, what with having "El" in its name. I can't imagine that was completely unintentional, as Superman has the same "El" in his "real" name.)

This gets around problems associated with those few other probable and known Eltarians-Zordon and the Phantom Ranger-because Zordon had no body and if the Phantom Ranger never showed wings, perhaps it was because he didn't want to risk being widely identified as Eltarian, or maybe he'd lost his powers, or maybe he was just a guest on Eltar who used some of their stuff. (It's not like we ever got a reveal, darnit.)

Power Rangers: Eltarian Guys

So here's my starting pitch:

A group of young Eltarians (possibly six, although I could imagine not being allowed to kill off Green, so I'm going to say five) have been brought by their mentor (at least loosely equivalent to Master Head, and let's call him Zoltar) and his robot assistant (roughly equivalent to Datas, let's call him "Alpha 3000") to Earth in order to observe a world that has been quite important in Eltarian history.

(These individuals would likely have been children during the great war on Eltar from PR:T through PRiS, and would probably have vivid memories of being told that Rangers from Earth had been instrumental in saving them from Dark Specter's forces.)

When they are close to Earth, they get attacked by an enemy force, heavily armed bug aliens, and are thereby stranded on the planet's surface when their ship is downed. (They probably hang out with some humans and thus have domestic antics, but the humans are probably young adults, because really, guys, kid appeal things of this type have been done to death and back.)

It turns out that these bug aliens know the importance of Earth to Eltar as a symbol and stuff like that, and so they have come to destroy it. One of the enemies is a mysterious blue creature that seems to know more than he should about Eltar, and though he is subservient to the leader of the bug alien band, he seems to be whispering in his ear. (This individual is quite obviously based on Bladerun, and if you know anything about Goseiger, you probably can guess vaguely about where this is going. I guess I'll call him Bladerun for convenience.) Using their Eltarian Ranger powers, the youths manage to defeat even the enemy flagship, but Bladerun manages to survive and escape, and somehow a new foe is awakened.

The new foe, Ivan Ooze (derived from Makuin's appearances, because it's too perfect an opportunity to pass up the idea of a creepy purple slime-based ham villain being used as a preexisting and otherwise quite different creepy purple slime-based ham villain) and his ally, some big dumb brute guy, join up with Bladerun, who has now taken on a different shape. Bladerun shows even more mysterious and inexplicable knowledge of Eltar, most troublingly his ability to tap into old powers and weapons from Eltar. Ooze and his partner are suspicious of him, though, and eventually use the Rangers to seemingly defeat him. Eventually, they manage to defeat Ooze, possibly using their repaired ship-which, if this were the case, would be their last new Megazord, not counting combinations. I like the idea of the "Gosei Wonder" being recast as an Eltarian spacecraft, if only because of its vague resemblance in ship mode to the Delta Megaship.

(Probably, Gosei Knight would effectively be repurposed as a Ninjor type-a powerful helper who also teaches them combat techniques, since Alpha 3000 and Zoltar would be unable to do so by conventional means. Perhaps his training would allow them to use their golden power armor.)

Another mysterious new foe appears, however. I might play them as survivors of the Machine Empire (basically a version of the history I came up with for Venjix, as that never was established in RPM), as they match pretty closely in terms of aesthetic and general nature. This foe seems to be using Bladerun as a puppet against the Eltarian Rangers, and this comes to a most troubling head when he somehow manages to negate their powers (albeit temporarily). His treachery results in the destruction of the mecha faction, and he soon after reveals himself as...

Zordon of Eltar! (Did you see it coming? Cue flamewars.)

Somehow, Zordon came back, but he came back wrong. Not because coming back is something that turns you evil, but because all that good that was in the Zordon Wave got used up. Zordon was the goodest of the good, the Big Good of the entire galaxy, but even he couldn't do what he did in "Countdown to Destruction" without ultimately being changed. And now he's as evil as he ever was good.

Now, here's where details get a little fuzzy. Will he be redeemable, or is there no coming back from the dark side?

So what do you think? Good, bad, completely ridiculous? All three?

-Signing off.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Modern Issues

I noted in the previous post that I found the handling of the subject of children with parents in the military rather offensive.

It was actually thoroughly okay until the point where the Red Ranger unleashed his wish fulfillment magic.

Why does this bother me so darned much?

Well, it took me a bit to suss out just why, but...

-It may have made the kid feel better, but it didn't actually change a darned thing. (If the kid's dad had somehow miraculously come back, that actually would have been better, if unrealistically rosy.)

-It's creepy wish fulfillment.

-It's creepy wish fulfillment that's being worked by a near-total stranger, and the visuals are eerily reminiscent of when an antagonist would stealthily hit a protagonist (such as is often seen in Power Rangers) with harmful magic spells.
-When my sister asked if I would be bothered by kids carrying around cardboard cutouts of their distant parents and taking photographs of themselves with the cutouts nearby while on trips, I thought about it, and then said, "No, because that would be the kid's choice." This was sent upon that kid with no warning or permission, and considering that he just had a bad encounter with a monster who tricked him into giving up reasonably valuable possessions over his dad, I'm more inclined to think that he would have freaked the heck out and started screaming.

-It's pandering. I can put up with a lot; you can annoy me, you can bore me (sadly, since this is pretty heavily retreading Shinkenger, that's what's happening here so far), but don't frikkin' pander to me. (Well, you can pander to me about nerdy things, but not emotions. Emotional pandering is worse... for some reason.)

Although I can't be all down on the episode. It was mostly a surprisingly accurate retelling of the appropriate episode of Shinkenger, but they handled a lot of it better than I expected. Also, the Nighlock remarking "Monsters can do anything" was easily the best line in all the episodes I've seen so far.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It Lives(?)

Boy, it's been a while.

My last post over here was nearly a year ago... Ah, well. I'm going to try to keep it alive this time. Honest.

So there are several subjects I feel the need to address that have happened in the past year, which I obviously haven't talked about.

MMPR 2010

I did talk about this a bit... let's all pretend that it never happened, okay? It was the worst rehashing of an old show I've ever seen, and I watch Transformers and He-Man. I've had some experience here.

(A lot of the "re-version" nonsense was tolerable, but when they started scribbling all over the Green Ranger saga's "To Be Continued" bits, it completely ruined it. It takes a lot to make me say that.)

Goseiger (Super Sentai 2010)

Goseiger wasn't too bad. I think its greatest strength came from its huge and fractious villain cast. I also adored Gosei Blue and Gosei Yellow, and Gosei Black was extremely tolerable. (Forget those "Skyick" dweebs, though.) Gosei Knight was essentially Batman as a giant robot's transforming head, which was pretty cool too. While Warstar wasn't that interesting a faction except for their visual aspect (they were essentially like Toho monsters done up as sentai enemies), Makuin was creepy in a usually good way, "his" relationship with Kinggon was the kind of tight partnership that is refreshing after all the backstabbing you see elsewhere, and that "Matlintis" bunch was exactly what mechanized enemies should have been. "Bladerun's" final appearances were essentially a particularly satisfying icing on the cake.

I'm reasonably hopeful that it has the potential to make a good Power Rangers season.

Saban Reclaiming Power Rangers...

Oh, gosh. I don't even know what I want to say about this.

On the one hand, Disney had clearly had enough of working with the franchise. They wanted an out, and Saban gave them one.

On the other hand, they'd finally gotten a handle on the franchise with RPM, turning a nonsensical comedy sentai into a serious business yet still fun series which was (I'll admit I'm biased) the best Power Rangers ever. That's not knocking other Power Rangers series; if I thought they were all bad, I wouldn't watch Power Rangers. I'm just saying that RPM is better.

And it took at least a year for Saban to really get going last time, guys. I'm not looking forward to this.

...and moving it to Nickelodeon

Hey, guys? I don't have cable. And I'm not likely to get it in the near future. There's still various video sites (except YouTube, which is apparently well-policed at the moment), but this series is going to be a pain for me to keep up with.

Power Rangers Samurai

Having said that, I have managed to watch the first few episodes. That, coupled with various news item type stuff I've read, leads me to the following conclusion:

Power Rangers Samurai is pretty weak.

First off, the adaptation: This is seriously the closest, tightest adaptation of a Super Sentai I know of since Time Force (possibly closer, except for all that stuff about headaches and medicine). That's all well and good, except I already saw Shinkenger. If it can't bring something new to the table, I'm going to have a hard time being interested. This has nothing to do with being a "bad" adaptation, though I'll admit I'm choking on a few of the additions they have made. Time Force was one of the best seasons of the show ever, but its similarity to the sentai was merely a part of its strength; Time Force made positive additions that significantly added to the story. The strongest element in the Time Force story was Ransik, not that sentai stuff, and he had nothing to do with any of the rest of that guff.

My point is that you don't need to be so slavish, and if you think the story could be improved upon, by all means do so.

Second major point: This is the worst storm of puns ever to "grace" Power Rangers. Except maybe in Ninja Storm, but I admit I didn't watch that long enough. This was like an episode of a cartoon I used to watch where there was a guy who tried to work a pun on "bee" into every sentence, except worse because everybody was doing it all the time.

And this is Power Rangers, where bad puns are commonplace.

I'm not sure whether to tell them that's the worst thing ever, or to give them a medal for their effort.

Third major point: Bulk and Spike. What. The. Heck.

There's nothing wrong with bringing back an old character. What is wrong is doing it in a way that makes absolutely no sense.

I have yet to figure out what these sequences, which are the same kind of low humor of the original Bulk and Skull sequences, but with no connection whatsoever with the main characters, are supposed to accomplish.

Hey, wait, Spike is Skull's kid? How old is he supposed to be? 17-18? That means he'd have been born somewhere between season two and four, doesn't it?

Fourth major point: Somewhere, I read that Saban intended to have a light-hearted tone "lacking in its predecessors Jungle Fury and RPM." These were the same series where a fly did announcing on giant robot/monster battles and where one of the villains was essentially just a self-important teenage girl who actually acted something like one (Tenaya 7). Were you guys paying attention?

Fifth major point: The episode where a kid was missing his dad in the army... I don't know whether to be furious at the cheap handling of the subject (making the boy's wish into a momentary vision was awful, and I'm sorry if you disagree with me, but that's how I feel about it) or happy that they covered a real-world problem that children face today.

Sixth point: Joining the ranks of such enemy mooks as Putties, Tengas, Cogs, and, well, the contents of this list, we have... Moogers?

So you decided to call the tentacle-headed, blood-red foot soldiers Moogers?

This is the only portion of the Power Rangers lexicon so far that infuriates me nearly as much as that old Lost Galaxy standby, "Power Up Mode" (although to be fair, it's still a distant second).

Gokaiger (Super Sentai 2011)

So there was a strange bit of information going around that the next Super Sentai team would be based on pirates, of all things.

Then, it turned out the rumor was true. They're pirates.

Then, we learn that they're going to actually be pirates-intellectual property pirates.

And having watched the first few episodes, they are also hilariously literal fictionalized Age of Piracy pirates.

You guys, this is the best Super Sentai idea ever.

And the first few episodes don't disappoint, either.


So, my conclusion is: 2011 won't really be as good a year for Power Rangers as 2009, but it'll be much better than 2010 (though how it could fail to be better than 2010 ultimately was is pretty much unfathomable).

Hopefully, I'll be able to stay focused on keeping up on this, and maybe get some of my back content going.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Gosei Blue is Batman

It's been pretty inactive here... (Apparently, the badly edited MMPR reruns are not good for this blog. Not that there's been much of a difference...)

This week's Goseiger deserved a mention, though:

Gosei Blue is really, really... Well, I'm going to use a euphemism that my sister and I use, and say he's Batman.

Look it up on YouTube (or whatever it is you particularly do if you choose to watch Sentai), because this was some pretty good stuff.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

First Impressions: MMPR 2010


What the heck was that?

Not to rag on whoever put this together or anything, but what's up with all the manga-style narration boxes (the "this is the name of this character" ones), the Adam West Batman sound effects, and the... I don't even know what to call those moments where they paused for a second and threw in weird imagery.

(I really don't mean to rag on it; I try to avoid the kneejerk reaction that often comes in response to tiny changes; it's just that this really bugs me. Although I have to admit, I expected they might pull something like it.)

My sister raised an eyebrow and wondered why they apparently thought Shinkenger was too Japanese if they were going to do what they've done, which itself is very Japanese.

Not to complain too much. I don't think I ever saw the second episode more than once, and even with the changes, it was nice to get a more concrete look at it. (I totally forgot about the weird sequence with the space shuttle "time trap" zinging around town.)

Also, I had a kind of funny set of moments; Kimberly says, "NOT!" towards the end of the first episode, which made me mumble something about it being "so '90s." Then, in the second episode, she says of the communicators "This is so '90s!"

An oddly prophetic moment, really.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

*crickets chirp*

Man, have I been quiet over here.

One of the problems with keeping this going regularly is that the local ABC station is managed by a bunch of *expletive deleted* jerks who show college football games rather than let Power Rangers air; in fact, I missed a huge chunk of RPM's later episodes.

Which, obviously, ticks me off.

I'm currently working through those episodes on YouTube (cough), but I don't know when I'll have more content here.

The fact that they're planning on rerunning the first season is kind of staggering and weird, and I don't know if I'll be more interested in working on this blog or not then. Here's hoping it will be helpful.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Gee Whiz...

I've been quiet here, haven't I?

Well, consider it a good sign for RPM's quality, if nothing else.

I need to get cracking here. I dunno what I'll do differently...

*lapses into three month silence*