Article By: Alex J. Rosolowsky
We have breaking Ranger related news at this hour; TVShowsonDVD has confirmed that the first 17 seasons of Power Rangers will be released by Shout! Factory in the form of Region–1 box sets for the American market. Home Media Magazine and Variety have also confirmed the news, which has been corroborated through Rangerboard.
The lack of proper DVD releases has been a source of frustration for many American fans of the show throughout the past decade. Although Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment quickly released both feature films on DVD, the TV series did not receive the same treatment. Disney released a “best of” compilation DVD under their Buena Vista label in 2002 consisting of a sampling of earlier seasons, but box sets of those seasons failed to materialize. Similarly, Disney also failed to release proper box sets of their then–current seasons, opting instead to release individual volumes, the majority of which were incomplete, edited, or otherwise altered in an undesirable fashion. Out of all of the seasons released as volumes, only Power Rangers Operation Overdrive was released in its entirety. In sharp contrast to Disney’s American releases of their seasons, the British releases of the same seasons were frequently offered in the form of box sets, albeit with alterations and edits that were made for the British market. Additionally, many seasons were released in Germany with bi–lingual English and German audio tracks, along with minor alterations for the German market. The Shout! Factory agreement marks the first time that Power Rangers will see a box set release within the United States, as well as the first time that any season other than Power Rangers Operation Overdrive will see a complete Region–1 DVD release.
In addition to Power Rangers, Shout! Factory has also acquired the rights to several other Saban Entertainment shows, including Beetleborgs, Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation, and VR Troopers. Curiously absent from that list are other Saban Entertainment properties including Saban’s Masked Rider and Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog, although TVShowsonDVD suggests that there may be additional announcements forthcoming. Given that Saban Brands supposedly reacquired a large portion of the Saban Entertainment library alongside Power Rangers, such announcements would certainly not be surprising.
Also absent from the list of licensed properties are both Power Rangers Samurai, and Power Rangers Super Samurai. This is not an accidental omission, all sources have made it emphatically clear that Power Rangers Samurai is not included in the agreement with Shout! Factory. Likewise, the distribution rights for the feature films will continue to be controlled by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. The reasons for the omission of the “Samurai” seasons is currently unknown; they may be licensed at a later date, or another distributor may have picked up the license for the current seasons. Given that Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has retained the rights to the movies, it’s possible that a Viacom company such as Paramount Home Entertainment, or Nickelodeon’s own distribution company will handle the current seasons.
Shout! Factory is scheduled to begin releasing season box sets of Power Rangers and the other shows that they’ve acquired the distribution rights to this summer. Complete series box sets of Beetleborgs and VR Troopers could potentially see a release as well, provided that the season box sets sell well enough to justify them. It’s worth noting that although other articles have worded this to imply that such plans could be extended to Power Rangers, The Power Rangers Samurai Times feels that this wording may be a bit misleading. Given the fact that Shout! Factory does not have the distribution rights to “Samurai” or “Super Samurai,” the fact that Power Rangers is over 725 episodes long and counting as of this writing, and the fact that the show is still ongoing, it’s highly unlikely that Power Rangers would be released as a complete series anytime in the foreseeable future. Likewise, Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation is only one season long, so a season box set is effectively a series box set for this particular show.
At present, it is still unknown what season or seasons will be the first to see a box set release, as well as what the scheduled release date is beyond sometime this summer. If the staff of The Power Rangers Samurai Times had to guess which season would be released first though, we’d say that Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers – Season One would probably be at the top of the list. This is one of those huge Power Rangers events that we intend to follow closely even though it’s not completely related to Power Rangers Samurai and Power Rangers Super Samurai; we will continue to offer additional information as it becomes available to us.