Hello, my name is Karen and I represent 50% of the women now guestblogging at Mightygodking while MGK is being a total pussy about his internet connection.
First, I’d like to confess that the idea of writing for a predominantly male readership freaks me out because I often talk about things like home decor, vaginas, and cute male celebrities and when posting on my own turf. Maybe we could come to an understanding: I will keep the vagina references to a minimum if you don’t insult my limited knowledge of the DC Universe. Deal?
Okay, deal. For the last few days, I’ve been trying to come up with a topic of discussion that would interest us both and it’s been really stressing me out. I decided to take a nap to clear my head. Now, I know a bit about psychoanalysis but there are some aspects of the subconscious that leave my perplexed. Like why did I suddenly have a dream about The Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog after not watching the show for 10 years and never really being a fan of it in the first place? Wait a second…
Obscure action-fantasy television show from the 90’s? Check. Superheros that control the elements? Check. Characters and plot loosely based in mythology? Check. People running around with swords and crossbows? Check. Let’s do this.
It was 1998. Haim Saban and Shuki Levy were enjoying the success of Saban Entertainment, then one of the premiere independent television production companies specializing in childrens programming. With hits like Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, VR Troopers, and Big Bad Beetleborgs, Saban and Levy had the world at their fingertips.
“What next?” Levy asked Saban one night at his Beverly Hills mansion.
“I know just the thing,” Saban laughed, swirling a snifter of L’Esprit de Courvoisier, “Think Power Rangers meets Enya.”
“Solid. Fucking. Gold,” replied Levy.
And so the Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog was born. Set in a mythical Celtic otherworld, MKoTNN capitalized on the tail end of America’s pop cultural romance with all things Irish (God, I miss Claddagh rings). It was the only tokusatsu-style show in Saban’s roster to film its own fight scenes instead of cutting them directly from Japanese tokusatsu ala. Power Rangers.
Plot: a ragtag band of heroes―Rohan the druid-in-training, Angus the thief, Prince Ivor the token ethnic guy, and Princess Dierdre the wet blanket in a mini skirt―are charged with protecting the Kingdom of Kells against the evil Queen Maeve and her army of monsters. Luckily, the Mystic Knights have the power of the elements on their side and are able to call upon air, water, fire and earth―oh, and sometimes dragons―to get them out of a jam. They’re also trying to find a legendary hero, Draganta, who we eventually discover is one of their ranks.
Anyone familiar with MKoTNN can tell you it was not a good show, so why am I talking about it? Well, for one thing, it’s deliciously bad and can be found on YouTube. But MKoTNN represents the culmination of live-action tokusatsu-style programming from Saban Entertainment that was ever present in the afterschool television schedule of the mid-to-late 1990’s. The genre would die out with MKoTNN.
What became of the live-action tokusatsu-style fantasy series? Well, North America certainly lost interest, but so did Haim Saban. Saban Entertainment had merged with Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Kids Network in 1995 and in 1997 formed Fox Family Worldwide. This restructuring put Saban’s shows into 81 million homes. The Mystic Knights were an experiment in giving live-action tokusatsu a higher budget and a larger audience―and the experiment was a failure. MKoTNN was canceled after 38 lackluster episodes.
In 2001, Saban and Murdoch sold Fox Family Worldwide to Disney, a transaction that propelled Saban into the Forbes 400. Soon after, he formed Saban Capital Group and now spends his days buying foreign media conglomerates, spending millions on his Zionist political agenda, and dreaming of poorly-dubbed ninjas in colourful body armour.
And that, boys and girls (Hi Wendy), is how the man behind the Power Rangers and Samurai Pizza Cats became the 102nd richest person in America. So the next time your friends say that your lifelong dream of writing a tv pilot about kung-fu centaurs is futile, tell them to go suck on a Megazord.