Okay, I know I'm going to get a lot of strange looks for this one, but to be honest, this IS a significant inspiration for a heck of a lot of my works. Hell, Digimon Defenders wouldn't exist if this series hadn't inspired me subconsciously... But maybe I'm getting ahead of myself.
I'm talking about Power Rangers. You know, the kids show every boy watched growing up, and every parent screamed their heads off for being violent (look at Power Rangers... Look at a MODERN tv show... Still wanna call it horribly violent?). I was a fan as a kid. I LOVED it. And I'm gonna talk about it today and how it inspired me.
I became a fan slowly. At first, it didn't appeal to me, but it was showing on the TV every morning before school and it was all that was on for kids, so I watched it... and slowly grew to love it. What WASN'T to love? 5 teenage martial artists get chosen by an alien interdimensional wizard (simultaneously hitting sci-fi and fantasy at the same time) to become champions to save their world as a team of colorful costumed heroes. They use a veritable arsenal of weapons, gain new allies and enemies, and struggle with their daily lives while trying to keep their identities a secret. Factor in awesome battlecries ("It's Morphin' Time! We need Dinozord Power, NOW!" ...Sweet.) and completely groan-inducing attempts at creating cool lingo like "those wacky kids these days," (....Morphinominal? Really? Since when does ANY California teenager EVER use a word with more than 2 syllables? ...I apologize for that cheap shot. ^^;), and you have an amazing TV show that has influenced generations of kids.
Now, in case you want to ask, Jason and Tommy were my favorite Rangers, and I liked Tommy better as the White Ranger than anything else. Admittedly, the Terror Toad episode gave me nightmares for days for some reason, I have no idea why, but I generally LOVED Power Rangers. I was a fan from the original series until Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy before dropping out (although recent events have caused me to want to rejoin the fandom and watch more). My favorite series was Power Rangers: In Space. My favorite episode was the finale of Power Rangers In Space where Zordon died, the Rangers revealed their identities in public, and Bulk and Skull led a battle-charge against an alien horde.
This series influenced me in a number of ways... It gave me a love of martial arts... Hell, it INTRODUCED me to the martial arts in pop culture (although in the early seasons, the choreography was... not great...). It gave me a love of escalating battles, where opponents grow stronger and stronger, and the heroes have to ramp up to match them. It had solid moral lessons that very often were told in a surprisingly subtle way (talk TO kids, not DOWN to kids)... It had outlandish villains, over the top heroes (and tons of property damage), and great, tight plotlines. I went to theaters to see BOTH Power Rangers Movies, and loved them.
The series was truly amazing, and last summer at Otakon, I had the honor of meeting one of the creators of Power Rangers. I still keep a good portion of the soundtrack to the TV show and movies in my personal music playlist (Honestly, try listening to Invincible from PR:Turbo and tell me it's not awesome).
Without Power Rangers, many of my more action packed stories would not exist. Digimon Defenders is DIRECTLY inspired by MMPR, although subtly and subconsciously... Think about it... A group of skilled martial artists who spend all their time training, get teleported to troubled areas, can call upon giant things to fight big enemies (admittedly, the giant thing is THEMSELVES)... and hell, even Succubimon's personality is slightly inspired by Rita Repulsa.
Honestly, I can't really give this series proper praise or review. I'm not eloquent enough. Luckily, there is someone who is MUCH better at this than I am. Linkara, of the webshow Atop the Fourth Wall, has a series of video reviews about the entire History of Power Rangers that pays tribute to it better than I ever could. I do not agree with several of his opinions on the series (particularly about Power Rangers Turbo, which I loved, despite the HORRIBLE Blue Ranger), but in general, his views and mine fall in line.