When the show launched 25 years ago, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers took America by storm. An off-kilter, patched-together combination of teen melodrama and Japanese tokusatsu action, the series turned unknown American actors into major stars, sold toys in record numbers, and inspired legions of imitators.
For many kids, the obsession soon faded, but as with all pop culture phenomena, it became a permanent fixture in the lives of some especially enamored children. And because the franchise continued to chug along, often in delightfully bizarre ways inspired by the Japanese series from which it is derived, the devotion of superfans only deepened.
Eric Francisco and Tom Caswell — lifelong fans, journalists, and guests on the latest episode of The Fandom Files — explain how Power Rangers shaped their childhood and, as a result, continues to shape their adulthoods. Because it's one of the first franchises aimed at millennials and has had such a rotating cast, Power Rangers has a unique fandom.
The show — along with attendant video games, comics, and spin-offs — grew up with the audience, which created early internet message boards and built an entire Power Rangers-focused convention, Power Morphicon, from scratch. There is also an unparalleled amount of interaction between cast members and fans, blurring the lines in ways most franchises never can.
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