As part of the JOMEC Research Seminar Series at Cardiff University, Dr Ross Garner will give a talk this Wednesday 9th March at 4pm in room Bute 0.05.
The seminar title is: It’s Time to Go Legendary!’: Decontextualised Nostalgia and Transmedia Immersion in Power Rangers Super Megaforce
Abstract: This research seminar will contribute to debates concerning mediated nostalgia, the children’s television industry and transmediality by considering how forms of nostalgia are constructed for an audience that is assumed to have no memory or attachment to the property being commemorated. To explore these issues, the paper focuses on the television series Power Rangers Super Megaforce (Nickelodeon/Saban Brands 2014) – the sequel to the previous year’s Power Rangers Megaforce (Nickelodeon/Saban Brands 2013) which was produced to coincide with the 20th anniversary of this (frequently maligned – see Boyatzis 1997; Bauer and Dettore 1997) ongoing children’s franchise. Vital to the series’ construction(s) of nostalgia was a device named diegetically as ‘Legendary Mode’ which granted the lead characters the ability to transform into any incarnations of previous groups of Power Rangers via using special ‘keys’ which are shaped like small action figures. Addressing this device, and locating its representation against a backdrop of current priorities structuring the globalised children’s television industry, this paper argues that Power Rangers Super Megaforce constructs a discourse of decontextualized nostalgia through its aesthetic and narrative strategies that reflects industrial assumptions regarding child audiences (Havens 2008; Hogan and Sienkiewicz 2013).
However, dovetailing further with dominant industry trends, Legendary Mode and its forms of nostalgia were not limited to the television series alone but instead extended out across merchandising and computer game platforms. Addressing these expansions, the second half of the paper considers how the series’ decontextualized nostalgia engages with ideas concerning transmediality (Jenkins 2006; Evans 2011) by providing entry points into the (commodified) history of the Power Rangers franchise at the same time as providing opportunities for targeting different generational (fan) audiences through offering immersive possibilities.
Author Bio: Ross P. Garner is a Lecturer in Television Studies in the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies at Cardiff University. His research interests include industrial approaches to mediated nostalgia, cult TV forms and mediated tourism. He is currently preparing the monograph Nostalgia, Digital Television and Transmediality for publication by Bloomsbury in 2017.