Topic: Remix Continuity: Power Rangers and SLIDERS
Back in the early 2000s, Temporal Flux was working on producing a SLIDERS comic book series. In the end, the cost of licensing matched with artists and printing proved too high and the gross too low. But what I found really intriguing was TF's attitude towards continuity.
I assumed that TF would revive SLIDERS in comic book form by doing a post-"Seer" story to resurrect the Torme cast, reset all the deaths and continuity alterations to just after Season 2 and go back to basics: four adventures, parallel Earths, boundless adventure. But TF wasn't doing a reset.
I thought that TF, having declined the reset option, would then reboot SLIDERS: if the comics started in 2001, then we'd deal with 2001-era doubles of Quinn, Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo. Quinn could be working on his doctorate, Wade might be running the Doppler Computers, Rembrandt and Arturo would be about the same as they were in 1994. This was how TF imagined a SLIDERS feature film and if he did it in the comics, he could create a comic book version of the sliders who wouldn't be superseded by any film revival from Robert K. Weiss who was attempting one at the time.
But TF wasn't doing that either. No, instead, TF was going to do what I shall refer to as a remix version of continuity. He was going to tell stories set during past seasons of SLIDERS. He was going to tell Season 1-2 style stories of light comedy and cheerful social satire, Season 3 style stories of action and adventure, and there would be a few stories set during Seasons 4 - 5 as well. However, TF was going to use this anthology format to add depth and shading to SLIDERS' tapestry: for example, the original quartet would encounter a Maggie double *before* they met her in "The Exodus," creating a more meaningful relationship that would add weight to the onscreen character.
The tentpole moments: the deaths, the cast changes, the continuity alterations -- TF was simply going to work within them and tell stories within each era but focus primarily on the characters exploring alt-history. That said, TF did think that once the comic was up and running, there was some possibility of a spin-off or mini-series to take place after "The Seer."
I don't know how I feel about this: I think I would have wanted either a reset or a reboot. A remix? I couldn't wrap my head around it.
Power Rangers Remix
And yet, I was recently reading BOOM Comics' POWER RANGERS comics: they have two main ones: MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS (MMPR) is set shortly after the Green Ranger was freed from evil mind control and joined the Power Rangers. GO GO POWER RANGERS (GGPR) is set immediately after the pilot episode where the Rangers first got their powers.
Both serieses, despite being continuity implants within the 1993 season of POWER RANGERS, are yet at odds with the TV show in subtle and distinct ways. The comics are set in the present day, not 1993, so all the Rangers have social media accounts and smartphones. The characterization is distinctly not the TV show: all the rangers are nervous and suspicious of the Green Ranger who is suffering from post traumatic stress.
Past Eras in Present Day
The world at large is aware of Rita and world governments are debating whether to surrender to her or count on the Power Rangers who don't answer to any governing body. The population of Angel Grove is fleeing due to the constant monster attacks. The Rangers are written as actual teenagers who are in over their heads and Zordon and Alpha's rationale for giving alien weaponry to kids: they could exist outside the establishment in secret and the telepathic-biological link between Zords, Power Ranger weapons and users is more effective when paired with someone starting at a younger age. Zordon also doesn't want Zord and morpher tech falling into military and corporate hands.
Billy has become so insecure over being bullied at school and being a superhero in secret that he's been living his life morphed in the blue suit but with a holographic face and civilian clothes on top. Kimberly's parents are getting divorced. Trini's mother is a control freak. Jason's father is sick.
This is a modern vision of POWER RANGERS. It's almost like a RIVERDALE version of POWER RANGERS -- if RIVERDALE insisted at every turn that every episode is set between issues of the 1941 comic books despite having markedly different characterization and a different time period. And yet -- the POWER RANGERS TV show was generally set in a juice bar, a classroom and then reused superhero effects footage from cannibalized Japanese TV shows. The show only ever showed the Rangers in costume or at athletic events with almost no exploration of their lives outside superheroing and sports.
The comic book seems to imply that the POWER RANGERS TV show in 1993 was a child's fuzzy, selective memory of the more complex and psychological and militaristic series that is the POWER RANGERS comic.
There are continuity issues that will become glaring if the series continues: Tommy must eventually lose his powers and the orignal Rangers will see the Red, Black and Yellow Rangers leave to go into politics. Writer Kyle Higgins (MMPR) and Ryan Parrott (GGPR) have insisted that their comics are set within the 1993 season with future TV events lying ahead of their comics, yet they have also in interviews hinted that the future on TV may not be set in stone. There was a POWER RANGERS: PINK comic written by Brendan Fletcher and Kelly Thompson which was set after the Pink Ranger had left the team and TV show and focused on her solo adventures, but is again set in the present day.
The BOOM creators have called their comic continuity a "remix," taking place between past events yet shown to be in the present. Kyle Higgins remarked that he didn't want to write the POWER RANGERS he saw on TV; he wanted to write a comic that reflected how the TV show made him *feel.* The sales seem good and readers seem happy getting an updated version of POWER RANGERS that draws on their memories of the TV show without being constrained by its continuity. I can understand why the writers wouldn't have wanted to just retell the TV stories in comic form to give themselves a reboot continuity when they could just have that continuity from their first issue onwards.
At the same time, one wonders if the GO GO POWER RANGERS series, set shortly after the first episode, but have published a #0 issue that would have adapted the pilot for this new continuity. I wonder what SLIDERS fans would have made of a remix style comic book.