Power Rangers returns with new thrills, excitement and more ethnic diversity!
The Power Rangers are back with new villains, new powers and – drum roll, please – more ethnic diversity! In this week’s Clacking in Color, the fun column spotlighting diversity on television, writer Jaylen Christie discusses why ‘Power Rangers Dino Charge’ is fresh, fun and long overdue!
If there was ever a venerable children’s franchise that refused to die, Power Rangers may just be the one. What started in 1993 has now spawned a two decade long authorization of fun television programming, movies, video games, and countless action figures – and I have been with them every single step of the way. It’s been several months since I’ve penned an editorial for CliqueClack, but having Power Rangers back on my flat screen has rather reinvigorated me.
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen … I’m back.
Power Rangers Dino Charge premiered on Nickelodeon on Saturday afternoon though if you’re a fan like me, chances are you probably watched the premiere episode one week early on Nick.com. At any rate, the first installment really set the tone for Dino Charge and based upon what was shown, fans and casual viewers are in for a ride. Instead of the typical totalitarian villain bent on conquering the planet, Power Rangers Dino Charge concerns Sledge, a vile intergalactic bounty hunter on the hunt for the Energems. Who could blame him? All powerful gems with endless energies aren’t exactly available on EBay or Amazon.com. However, there to oppose him are the Power Rangers, who in this series harness the dynamisms and strengths of the ancient dinosaurs.
As has become the norm of the Power Rangers series, the sole mission of our favorite spandex clad heroes is to keep the planet safe and they are armed with an incredible arsenal to help them do so. This season features the usual line up of five rangers – just like previous seasons – but instead of three young men and two young women, there is only one young lady this time. That’s actually pretty interesting considering that’s how it usually is in the Japanese program that the show is adapted from.
However, that’s not the only significant change. Anyone that reads my editorials knows that I’m a big supporter of diversity on television. And by big, I mean colossal. This is why it pleases me to see a team of ethnically diverse superheroes this season. We have Brennan Mejia, a talented and athletically fit Mexican actor portraying Tyler, the Red Ranger and leader of the team. We also have Yoshua Sudarso, a gifted Idonesian actor portraying Koda, the Blue Ranger – the one Ranger that I always used to be on the playground as a child. But perhaps most notable is the fact that fans of the series have now been treated to an African-American Pink Ranger, the first time this has ever happened in Power Rangers history.
Consider my mind blown.
As Shelby, the Pink Ranger, Camille Hyde brings a certain warmth to the role. Now, I know some enthusiasts probably don’t want to make such a big deal about diversity in a program that’s typically aimed towards children. However, the fact of the matter is that it is now 2015. The world is colorful. I commend the brains behind Dino Charge for choosing a cast of capable young actors that children will not only be able to look up to, but see themselves in. I personally feel that there is something to be said of the fact that the first episode predominately featured both the Red Ranger and Pink Ranger in leading roles. In fact, they were the only two Rangers given the chance to change – ahem, morph – into their superhero counterparts to take down a monster wreaking havoc. I have but one word for this – Awesome!
Perchance the same thing can be said about the writing of the show as well. I noticed a massive improvement in the script over the last season of the series, Megaforce. When watching Megaforce, I often found myself confused and unnerved by numerous plot holes and unanswered questions. However, Dino Charge seems to have a solid plot. The pilot episode did a hell of a job setting up the season and establishing the mythology for the show. It was a full ten minutes before the main cast members were even introduced – and the Green Ranger, one of the core members of the team, didn’t even make an appearance in the episode. That’s a bold move by Power Ranger standards. Heck, that’s a bold move by television standards period.
My only real complaint is that I feel Nickelodeon should have just aired the second episode after the first. I think a one hour premiere would have been more effective. However, if suspense is what they were looking to create then they have certainly done well. Make no doubt about it, I will definitely be tuning in next Saturday.
After all, if history is any indication, these Rangers are here to stay.