The plug has been pulled on the once-mighty "Power Rangers."
After 17 years, Disney has stopped producing new episodes of the show that was a pop-culture touchstone of the '90s. Apparently, the five color-coded superheroes - Green Ranger, Red Ranger, Blue Ranger, etc. - are still selling a lot of toys, but have become passé as a TV show.
There was no official word from Disney, which owns the show. But the cast and crew were informed this week that the show has been dropped, according to reports in the local papers in New Zealand, where the series has been produced since 2003. The show will likely still be on the air for some time - in repeats. But no new ones will be made.
The series, about superheroes who can don and doff their costumes instantaneously to fight the bad guys, was based on a Japanese series.It began as "The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" on Saturday mornings on Fox in 1993 and moved to Disney's kids cable channel in 2003.
The show, while hardly controversial, did have its detractors. Some local stations dropped it from their Saturday morning lineups in 2006 when the FCC said the rock-'em-sock-'em series did not comply with government requirements to air a certain number of hours of educational programming each week. The production manager for the show, Sally Campbell, told the Weekend Herald that "at this stage we will not be shooting another season".Several New Zealand actors have starred in one of the show's six New Zealand seasons, including Sunrise host Oliver Driver, Outrageous Fortune's Antonia Prebble, Go Girls' Anna Hutchison and former Shortland Street stars Miriama Smith, Katrina Devine and Tandi Wright.
Actor Charlie McDermott, who has done the voiceover work for the General Crunch character for the last three years, told the Weekend Herald he had not been told about the cancellation.
"It's a bit of a bummer. These big-budget American companies have got millions and they're using our studios. I'd say it would be the actors who lose out the least. It's all the camera guys, the sound, editing suites ... But [the Americans] are used to paying a lot more than they pay us, that's why they come here, their dollar goes a lot further. And they have it down pat. Once you've been here for a while you really refine your processes and make some money."
The Power Rangers contract is worth a substantial amount to post-production companies Digipost, which edits the video, and Inside Track, which produces all the sound effects.
So, looks like it's time to trade in those Power Coins for something a bit more useful then kids...