A long time ago, back in the era collectively known as “days of yore” (a.k.a. February 2015), we reported on a 12-minute short film called Power/Rangers, which starred James Van Der Beek and Katee Sackhoff in a dystopian hard-R reworking of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. It was pretty much the definition of taking a silly kids’ property and turning it “dark and gritty,” which was also kind of the whole point of the send-up. However, thanks to the cast and direction from Joseph Kahn it was also wonderfully, bizarrely entertaining, perfectly straddling the line between (intentionally) ridiculous and awesome. And now, that vision of the Power Rangers might become a reality, at least in cartoon form. ScreenRant reports producer Adi Shankar is making an animated version of that dark version of the show, in what he terms a “complete retelling of the first three seasons” of the early ‘90s series.
Look, we’ve had a lot of fun at Shankar’s expense in the past. He does no one any favors by sounding (and dressing) like a cartoon himself, a living send-up of clueless tech-bro mentality that wouldn’t look out of place on Silicon Valley. (This doesn’t seem to have changed much, as in expressing his hopes to give this new series a home at Netflix, he actually says out loud, “The world we live in now has disrupted the idea of what entertainment is and Netflix gets it.”) But he seems to be a talented producer, having worked on everything from films like The Grey and Dredd to his latest collaboration with Kahn, a feature-length satire about race relations set in the world of rap battles. And given that the latest big-screen version of a dark and gritty Power Rangers is looking somewhat dispiriting and dour, maybe a small-screen iteration by the guys who did it best is the more promising alternative.
It’s still a little early to render a verdict, given this new series is still in the early stages of coming together. But Shankar’s other reworking of a long-running property, Castlevania, is confirmed and coming to Netflix this year, so it may be a good time to see if Van Der Beek and Sackhoff are at least available for some voice work.