It’s funny how much things can change in so short a time.
Just a little over five months ago, I wrote something of an obituary for the Power Rangers. After an amazing run of around 16 years, things finally wrapped up, at least in terms of new episodes. Following the conclusion to one of the best Ranger years ever, Power Rangers RPM, franchise-owner Disney and toy licensee Bandai were taking us back to the beginning with the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, only now, it was “remastered” to a mixed reception.
With no new episodes coming and an iffy reception to the remastered original series, not at all helped by some affiliates airing the show at 6am, I’m sure, one had to wonder if Power Rangers was on its final legs. The original Super Sentai series had run in Japan since 1975, an amazing 35 year run, but perhaps it simply wasn’t meant to be outside of Japan.
And now, here we are… a little over five months into the second run of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, only 3/5 of the way through the “Green with Evil” saga… and things have taken a surprising change.
In 2002, Saban Entertainment sold off Power Rangers, and just about everything else they had, to Disney. But now, Variety reports that founder Haim Saban’s newly-formed Saban Brands has re-acquired the rights to the series which they brought to prominence (and Disney arguably squandered), and has formed a deal with Nickelodeon to bring 20 new episodes to the first network for kids, while older episodes will be brought to life once again on their Nicktoons network later this year.
Elie Dekel, prexy of Saban Brands, still sees great potential in the concept of a group of teenagers with “attitude” who morph to fight evil. And not just on TV and in the toy aisle, either– there is also talk of bringing back live touring events and feature films, among other efforts.
“Haim has always felt that the brand could truly be evergreen, and while Disney continued to produce the series and support consumer products part of the business, we still see tremendous untapped potential,” Dekel said.
This is exciting news, and hopefully we’ll see some of Disney’s missteps and hindrances avoided under Saban’s new eyes. And, speaking as a fan in Canada who gets neither Nickelodeon nor NickToons, I hope that someone up here picks up the show.