Power Rangers Zeo
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the Power Rangers aren't exactly pacifists. They fight other rangers -- the bad ones -- using martial arts and various weapons. At times the enemy rangers are related to the good rangers, which could be confusing to young viewers. Some episodes rely on scary plot devices, like mind-control machines. Girls and boys are completely equal in the Power Ranger world -- in fact, they're indistinguishable once in costume. The Power Rangers are heavily marketed to the 5+ set, but they're better suited for kids a year or two older.
What's the story?
POWER RANGERS ZEO is the story of what happens to the rangers after their Morphin powers are destroyed. The rangers are still brightly colored karate experts, and the villains are still low-budget actors in robot costumes, but these are the new (in 1996, anyway) rangers. The entire Power Rangers oeuvre may be indistinguishable to adults (who see only the costumes and bad effects), but kids know of a whole series of different rangers, all with different goals and different bad guys. Putting aside the violence, it's a relatively harmless obsession. But the violence may be hard to put aside; to adults it seems campy and contrived, but young viewers take it very seriously.
Is it any good?
The Power Rangers series is a fairly mild introduction to the action movie-style violence we take for granted in everything from television programs to video games to commercials. But if it's your children's first step beyond Noggin et al, you'll probably see a difference in the way they play post Ranger viewing. Swords, slashing, and kicking will rule the day for a while.
Power Rangers Zeo always includes a comic subplot to go along with the battle of the day, but it's funny only for the youngest and least sophisticated viewers. This isn't really family programming -- it's pretty painful for anyone over 12 -- it's TV as junk food, designed to sell Power Rangers Halloween costumes and action figures.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the way the rangers relate to one another and to their leader or guide, a former ranger named Billy. The rangers spend most of their time battling evil (who doesn't?), but they have to practice and train to get better. Do you think the green ranger would be able to beat the robot if she didn't practice? Parents will have to reach to find lessons here, other than those about why karate kicking isn't the best way to solve problems in real life. It might be fun to talk about the way the program is filmed. Virtually all of the characters are created in a way that allows footage filmed in one country to be used everywhere else the rangers are seen -- since you can't see the characters' mouths moving, any language can be dubbed in. What advantages does that offer?