In the early seasons, the main adult appeal was the sexy cast members (and that remained a major draw in later years as well). I also enjoyed watching the stunt footage; it was entertaining watching athletically gifted people demonstrate their skills.
But as the series went on, it grew up with its audience, to some extent. The silly tropes remained, but the storytelling grew more sophisticated. Never as rich and complex as a primetime show (at least until RPM), but there were some interesting story arcs that held one's attention, and some very effective dramatic moments here and there.
The last season to date, RPM, was by far the most mature and sophisticated. It was dark, a postapocalyptic setting where, implicitly, most of the human race was dead. There were actual onscreen deaths of human characters, almost unprecedented in Power Rangers history. There were antagonists who were actual human criminals, not monsters or people under spells but just plain bad people who would hurt you. Yet it was also quite funny in a smart way. There were biting deconstructions of the silly and fanciful conventions of the PR franchise, and yet in a way they'd never been more plausibly justified. And the characterizations (well, most of them) were the richest and most deeply examined ones in the franchise's history. They actually did a whole block of six consecutive episodes devoted to exploring the backstories of the Rangers and their mentor Doctor K in flashbacks, another thing that had never been done before. And some of them were rather intense. The "Doctor K" episode in particular was wrenching, tragic, moving, yet with moments of pure beauty. It was smarter and better than much of what passes for "adult" programming in primetime these days.
Pretty much. And well said. I was drawn in by one of the hotties, but in the end, came to appreciate the franchise, especially RPM
, for the very reasons you outlined. Good fun that can occasionally surprise us with a little more.