Power Rangers Predicament
First I’d like to start off this post with an apology. In an earlier message this week, I reported that YTV would be pre-empting the broadcasts of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds, and Three Delivery this past Saturday. As a viewer, I can confirm this didn’t happen. Both shows aired new episodes, and the previously mentioned The Next Star marathon that I announced would pre-empt those shows, in fact aired at 2PM. I’m sorry if this has caused anyone to skip out on those two shows. I was simply following a press release issued by YTV, and parent company Corus Entertainment. It was likely a typo, but it would’ve been awesome if someone on programming felt it would be in bad taste to pre-empt some of the only timeslots on the channel devoted to animated action, with reruns of the show that helped destroy all teenage oriented animation on the channel. But meh.
In related news, Three Delivery and Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds will be pre-empted for two weeks. Commenter Mohji noted that in addition to next Saturday’s Beyblade Metal Fusion marathon, the following Saturday will have a Pokemon marathon. No real surprise with Beyblade, as that holds the recognition of having the largest premiere of an animated series in YTV’s history, and desperately needs help to catch up to the American broadcast (which as of this writing, is 14 episodes ahead). Pokemon? Not so much. There isn’t a major game to tie-in to, and the episodes YTV will be airing are repeats.
Now on the actual story that’ll get me all those hits from Google, Power Rangers: Samurai (tremendously original and unique title). PR: S is the newest iteration of Power Rangers currently filming in New Zealand based on a very Japanese Sentai Shinkenger series from a year or two back. The series is so Japanese, that there’s kanji on their helmets… What makes this series incredibly different from the previous 9 or so seasons of Power Rangers is the producer. Earlier this year Saban Brands bought the Power Rangers brand away from Disney. Nostalgic people will know that Haim Saban’s previous company, Saban Entertainment actually brought Power Rangers to world. Haim later sold Saban Entertainment and its properties to Disney for a stack of money. A huge stack.
Rumors say Disney had wanted to get rid of Power Rangers for some time, and was limiting its audience on purpose as an attempt to make it seem they had to sell the brand due to poor ratings, not the fact that they would never totally own the franchise (Japan’s Toei supplies the Sentai footage for Power Rangers, and owns part of the brand). You can see this in the fact Disney dropped the franchise from its boy oriented channel, and placed it entirely on the ABC Kids block, in a timeslot that most network affiliates ignored. The cheapening and desire to sell was no more evident when Mighty Morphin Power Rangers 2010 launched in January. MMPR 2K10 is simply a slightly remastered version of the original 1993 series except with Adam West Batman style captions for punches, kicks, jokes, and transitions. It was super cheap.
To combat this change, PR: Samurai will air on Nickelodeon in the US in early 2011. The first season will consist of 20 episodes, with an option for a 20 episode second season, and a movie (the last time a tokusatsu series said they were going to have a movie made before the series even aired, we got Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight, and we know how that turned out). Nick in the US is banking on the franchise doing well, as they’ve committed Nicktoons Network to become the hub for over 700 episodes of the previous Power Rangers iterations before the launch of Samurai. It’s all part of them trying to target the boys market with action series (see Nicktoons acquiring broadcast rights to DragonBall Kai, buying the Ninja Turtles franchise, etc.).
Now Power Rangers has had an interesting life on Canadian TV. The franchise was always available to those who had cable, as most companies carried a Fox affiliate, or an ABC affiliate so you could always get the US broadcast. In terms of Canadian broadcast, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was initially picked up by YTV. When I say initially, I mean it. The series only had a 13 episode order by YTV, and nothing more was ever purchased. This wasn’t because the series performed poorly, it’s because the series received complaints from parents, and YTV was issued a formal complaint by a TV regulator (although this regulator doesn’t actually have any control on YTV), and they complied. After this the series was picked up by Global TV and ran a few seasons until Disney purchased Saban. From that point forward all Power Rangers series aired on Family Channel (because they love Disney more than Edward loves Bella), but because it’s a show aimed at boys, it was almost always shafted at 5 or 6AM on weekends.
Given that Power Rangers: Samurai isn’t a Disney production, it’s safe to assume that Family won’t be airing this one. But just because it is airing on Nickelodeon doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a Nickelodeon production (similar to DragonBall Kai on Nicktoons, it’s a third party show). If it is a Nickelodeon production, it would almost be guaranteed to at least air on Nickelodeon Canada, although that’s a fate almost as pleasant as airing at 5AM on Family Channel. If Samurai does well on Nickelodeon in the US, I can see YTV breaking a long, long tradition and having the show air on the channel (since we all know they’ll air anything from Nick that more than 3 people watch). Although, I’m not sure where they’d put the show given the whole shift to co-viewing, and how a show about teenagers with attitude would work with that.
Speaking of teenagers with attitude, as a celebration, and a tool of anticipation for Samurai, the official Power Rangers website at PowerRangers.com is streaming a new un-Adam West-ified episode of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. Right now you can see Tommy be a dick, and steal the show from its real leader, hurray!
Lastly, I’ve also launched a Twitter feed, simply follow I Miss Bionix.