When I was ten or eleven, we’d have the TV rolling as we got ready for school. This was when my older brother was starting to take on this phase where he couldn’t get enough CNN. It would be 7:30 in the morning and he’d want to read the ticker as we chomped Cheerios. Usually, though, we’d have on Power Rangers. The conversation would go like this:
Brother: What is this crap? This is crap. This show is crap.
Me: I know.
Brother: I’m changing the channel.
Me: There’s no way that’s going to happen.
I feel the same way about Power Rangers now as I did then. I should have turned to my brother and said, I’ll give you this: Yes, it’s a sitcom with so little character development that even a coloring book based on it can’t quite figure out what scenes to put in (so they draw the teen rangers standing around in some placeless void, or have the word “morph” in different block letters for kids to shade in), and yes, some producer had particularly bad tastes in music and sound effects, and yes, the show was made even more frustrating by basic discrepancies– enemies without a source of conflict, plots without a goal, etc., and yes, of course, some of the voices made you want to kill yourself right then and there.
But something in the boldness of its color schemes, the new-to-you Japanese screen shots, the talking head Zordon who led the rangers, and the reliability of sound and picture and structure made it appealing. It was a constant in an otherwise messed up universe. You knew Rita was going to cackle and throw her staff down from the moon or wherever. You knew the rangers would kick and punch a handful of putty foot soldiers into dust and then be attacked to near defeat by a new creature– maybe a giant lobster or squid or mummy– only to prevail, again, by combining forces or using a special sword or something equally random to their advantage. It was a comfort view. Or maybe it just wasn’t CNN.