They’re colorful. They fight evil. And moms can’t stand them. Disney recently ditched “Power Rangers” because they didn’t get Mom’s stamp of approval.
“It didn’t fit with the Disney brand. Moms didn’t like it,” Disney spokesman Jonathan Friedland told “The Hollywood Reporter.”
Disney’s focus group research found that mothers were especially turned off by the hand-to-hand combat that is one of the show’s trademarks.
Haim Saban, the man responsible for importing the Rangers from Japan in the 90s, recently bought them back from Disney and found them a new home at Nickelodeon.
Nickelodeon has plans to rejuvenate the fading franchise, which is heading into its 18th season with a new cast. Last year, Nickelodeon bought the rights to “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” another flagging franchise.
In case you don’t know the basic plot, the Power Rangers are a bunch of colorfully-clad teenagers endowed with super powers to fight evil.
After Saban adapted the program for the Fox Kids Network in 1993, “Power Rangers” ruled the ratings roost as one of the most popular kid shows on TV until the late 90s. But parents complained about the over-the-top violence and the glut of toy tie-ins.
Disney, which bought the Power Rangers in 2001, has been featuring the teen superheroes on Saturday mornings on ABC and in foreign markets. But the Mouse House never embraced the property, deeming it too violent for its target demographic, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The violence is a “non-issue,” Cyma Zarghami, Nickelodeon’s president, told the New York Times. She said the show was “more martial artsy and campy than anything else.”
Originally known as “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers,” the low-budget series mostly consisted of recycled footage from Japan of monsters battling teenage superheroes with many voices dubbed by American actors. Once it became a ratings hit , original episodes were shot with American actors.
“Apparently, the only way to stop evil is to kick and punch your way to peace. … There’s no real educational content, and very few lessons to be learned,” Common Sense media, which rates TV suitability for kids, said in their review of the show.
One critic on imdb.com complained, “The power rangers is definitely the worst television show and completely ridiculous plastic toy line in the history of the United States…The owners of this show should be ashamed of themselves, since there is no redeeming value to this nonsense.”
Meanwhile, former “Power Rangers” star Jason David Frank recently started a clothing line, Jesus Didn’t Tap, which is marketed to Christian youth. One of his shirts features Jesus wrestling the devil.