Monday, August 16, 2010

The 5 Times Power Rangers Survived Cancellation

The longevity of Power Rangers, now heading for its 18th season, is quite remarkable. Especially considering the show had been cancelled or nearly cancelled five times. Most shows don't survive cancellation even once, making it even more extraordinary. Here's a break down on the five times Power Rangers avoided cancellation.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Season 1.

Originally, MMPR was expected to be sort of a "one hit wonder." Saban had for years been trying to bring Sentai into America one way or another. His first attempt was a Bioman dubbed pilot that aired in 1986 but went nowhere. After that, he had tried pitching his idea for Power Rangers using the footage of first, Turboranger and later Jetman to American TV networks but he couldn't sell his idea. Then, Fox Network, which was new at the time, decided to give MMPR a shot. Saban used the Zyuranger footage instead of Turboranger and Jetman. At the time, Fox was anxious to try anything, but both Fox and Saban thought MMPR would be able to only last a year at best. The original ending of the series was suppose to be the two part episode, Doomsday. However, MMPR had quickly became the biggest kids show on television, which forced Saban to alter his plans for ending Power Rangers after one year, and extend MMPR S1 by about 15 episodes. To do this, he borrowed money from Fox and used it to ask TOEI to produce more Zyuranger footage that would be used only for Power Rangers. This footage is now famously called Zyu2.

Power Rangers in Space

The second time Power Rangers avoided cancellation was Power Rangers in Space/Turbo. Every since MMPR S3, the ratings had seen a gradual decline, although they were still serviceable. But in Turbo, the ratings took a free-fall, particularly the first half of the season. The second half of the season the ratings gradually went up, but the ratings were still dismal and below that of Zeo's. At the time, both Fox Kids and Saban were losing money from the show's presence, so Fox told Saban to make Power Rangers in Space to be the last season of Power Rangers. This is why the Zordon Era ended and why we had the finale "Countdown to Destruction." It was thought that PRIS would be PR's last season. However, PRIS like MMPR, was a big hit and its ratings were in fact, on par with MMPR. Because of the success of PRIS, Fox decided to let Saban continue with Power Rangers, and thus, Saban cancelled the second season of The Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog to focus its entire budget on PRLG.

Power Rangers Wild Force

After Wild Force, Power Rangers again was suppose to be cancelled due to the Disney buyout. However, former PR producers and writers Doug Sloan, Ann Austen, and Jackie Marchand were all working for Disney at this time. They successfully convinced Disney to keep the show running, and as a result, Sloan, Austen, and Marchand were the main producers of Ninja Storm and Dino Thunder.

Power Rangers Jungle Fury

After Bruce Kalish left and abysmal ratings, Jungle Fury was intended to be PR's last season. Disney didn't want to deal with finding a new producer for Power Rangers, and there were heavy talks about Disney switching to an animated series that would be based off of MMPR. However, TOEI disapproved of the animated series because it meant that they wouldn't make money off of the Sentai footage used to produce Power Rangers. Bandai also disapproved. However, due to outside forces (mainly because PR was still very popular in Germany), Bandai and Jetix Europe gave Disney enough money to produce one final season, which would be RPM.

Power Rangers RPM

This time, after Power Rangers RPM ended, the series was cancelled. Disney was tired of splitting the money with Bandai and TOEI, so they decided to re-edit MMPR instead, which was among the worst of Disney's PR projects. RPM had the worst ratings ever for a Power Rangers series, however this was more due to being screwed by the network than lack of popularity. RPM was moved away from cable tv onto ABC, and was placed in the worst time slot imaginable. In some parts of the country, RPM aired at 5am in the morning, and entire episodes were not seen due to being subject to ABC's sports coverage. However, as we know now, Saban bought back Power Rangers from Disney, and immediately decided to produce another season.


  1. Phew! Talk about a bumpy ride! Nice post Mr. Smith! :)

    Actually, Saban's first attempt at bringing Sentai to the States was Sun Vulcan. Then Bioman, then Jetman, then Zyuranger. Where did you hear that he attempted Turboranger?

    Whenever I hear of PR ratings, I wish I could find some list of them. Oh well. :(

    I didn't know Power Rangers was so popular in Germany. Hey Mr. Smith, if you know anything else about that, I'd love to hear more. :)

  2. About Saban originally wanting to use the Turboranger footage, that's what I've heard, I can't confirm it however.

    As for PR's popularity in Germany, everything from MMPR S1 through Wild Force has been released on DVD in Germany even though they've never been released in the United States. These DVD's have language options for both English and German, but the special features are in German only. Also, the main reason why Jetix Europe gave Disney the money to produce RPM was because of fan demand for Power Rangers in Germany.

  3. You know somebody told me Saban dubbed Bioman but it ended up reaching the Philippines. I don't know about that. :-P

  4. No, there's no confirmation on Saban wanting Turboranger. Only those other three seasons have been confirmed.

    That's interesting. I never knew Germany loved PR so much. Definitely seems like there was more hype there than the US. Thanks Mr. Smith. ^__^

  5. It seems likely that Saban dubbed Bioman because of this: Pink 5 was dubbed as Kimberly and later, his pink ranger was also... KIMBERLY. Funny!

    With Turboranger, maybe. It's because Power Rangers started as a teenybopper and Turboranger is a teenybopper. Ever noticed the title "Power Rangers Turbo"? I mean Carranger is an "upgrade" to Turboranger after all IMO.

    By the way Mr. Smith, will you write Act 41 for Power Rangers Sword Dynasty?

  6. Those are just coincidences. Not facts. Maybe, just MAYBE they could've been inspiration. But we don't know that. Thus, we can't really say that it's true. And I don't really want to spread rumors or anything. But the comparisons are still fun. :)

    Saban dubbing Bioman, I'm not sure. I've heard lots of rumors on this one, so I'm not going to ignore it. I heard he did do a dubbing. Just not sure if the one that aired in the Philippines was the same one. Though I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out to be true.

    Turboranger, there's still nothing on that. It's possible that it could've been an inspiration. But that would be all. There's nothing about Saban wanting to adapt it.

  7. @ Sean I'll have Act 41 up tomorrow

  8. Power To the Fans. Thanks Germany for RPM

  9. I'm from the Philippines, and as a child i have the royalty to enjoy the original sentai versions and the power rangers version. It all started with Maskman which is the very first sentai series i ever saw, then come the Turbo Rangers or Carranger, Five Man, Jet Man (also there's gaoranger and google five but they were air around 1978-1882 or something, i just found out about them in late 90's which is the re-runs) all dubbed in my native language. and then Bioman came in English and as a kid of course i said WTF?? not in my native language??!! it never translated to Tagalog (Philippines native language very close to Spanish) as i grow up i just notice that the dubbers were not Filipino's so maybe this is the Saban's English version of Bioman. and then i realize that when Power Rangers (Zyuranger) arrives in here i never saw a single Super Sentai series dubbed in Filipino which is much better than Power Rangers in terms of the storyline. And later on i fund out that Saban mainly controls the distribution, that Toei will not release the original Sentai series but Saban or Disney most likely will only Ditribute the American version that uses the original Sentai footage, so thats the deal. So dumb. I'll tell you the original Sentai is way much better than Power Ranger.
    But it's back to Saban again for Samurai, will the Philippines see another Sentai series after RPM? lets see.