Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Final Project

Posted by katemilner9 on May 12, 2017

( Kate, Venesa, and Cameron)

link to presentation : https://prezi.com/view/YNp26pYIgQyATJhUjeqS/

                Throughout this semester, we’ve seen examples of fandoms fueling the longevity of a media brand, be it soap opera or wrestling. Without fans, these medias wouldn’t have become the phenomenons they are today. One of the most relevant forms of this we see today are the nostalgia driven resurgences of franchises like the Power Rangers. Due to a dedicated fanbase, that grows up with the show, and then exposes their children to it, we’re beginning to see the same kind of multi-generational appreciation of the franchise that can be found in many a media types. For our final project, we explored Power Rangers as a franchise, and what’s been done to cultivate such an intergenerational fanbase that’s managed to exist for decades on a premise that many wouldn’t acknowledge as anything special. We looked at how the series functions, constantly rebooting and renewing itself, how it mixed the old and the new together to bring in fans of all ages, and what it takes to be attractive to people coming back to a childhood favorite and new kids tuning in for the first time simultaneously.

                Intergenerational or multigenerational medias have such strong fanbases because they are rooted in nostalgia. Nostalgia can be a powerful thing that makes a person dream about the past. A primary reason for the Power Rangers being as successful of a series is because of this nostalgia factor that keeps old and new generations hooked. The series has always stayed true to its core philosophy of the show being about teenage rebels saving the world and doing good. This is an important lesson that will always remain a common theme in our world today. Deciding between what’s right and what’s easy is a major factor in determining who we each are as people, and the reason that the Power Ranger still connect with people today is because that will always be a question that people ask themselves. The show allows for the audience to experience teenagers who are posed this question or right and easy at a young age. Therefore, this lesson is something that the older generation who watched the show want to know, as well as something that the younger generation wants to learn about themselves. This phenomenon, of taking what’s old and making it new again shows how powerful older medias can be. Power Rangers is a testament to popular culture theories on residual media, and the idea that anything that’s been popular before has the potential to be popular once again, if given the proper facelift. In the end, it’s all about finding that balance between the old and the new.

             Additionally, the Power Rangers series has stayed relevant for so long because they have stuck to their core values no matter the incarnation of the series. Power Rangers has started a lot of popular tropes that can still be seen in popular culture today. Things like the Five Token Band  where at least two of the team members are white people and the other three are part of  minority groups, or Color Coordination where their suit colors represent who they are as people in a way (Red Ranger is the leader and temperamental, Blue is intelligent, Pink is a strong, rebellious female). By having these common tropes, the series draws in generations from all over; it is something that the audience can always count on no matter what additional changes may be made with the story. This is why the new Power Rangers movie was so successful. The new Power Rangers caught the attention of a newer audience with the representation of a lesbian ranger, autistic ranger, and authentic minorities; however, the Rangers remained an awkward group of kids just thrown together to save the world. No matter how many changes they made to the story, like with the increase in diversity, it still held the core values and traditions that fans have sought after through its syndication.


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