He-Man and The Masters of the Universe
Recently He-Man has returned in a Netflix short series brought to us by Kevin Smith (Clerks). I have been recently thinking back on the 30+ years He-man has been in the media. I have watched every iteration and the live action movie. I will not be talking about the movie at all. Some things need to stay in the past. After watching the recent mini series I have a few thoughts but we will get there in time.
He-Man is a cartoon action series that follows the adventures of He-Man. Like many heroes he has an alter ego, Prince Adam. Adam acts like a carefree spoiled prince. His other half, He-Man is the hero archetype. Duty bound and loyal to the people of Eternia. (Dude has muscles on muscles). That’s literally the whole series (I mean it was the 80’s did you need anything more, LOL). Every week he would fight Skeletor and his many henchmen (Beast Man, EvilLynn, Triclops, etc…). The comics has added a lot to the lore and after this last Netflix run it looks like the series has been given some depth.
He-Man and The Masters of the Universe (1983)
If you learn the background of the original series, not the show, but the behind the scenes information you will learn that it was all about money. Literally 90% of any cartoon made in the 80’s was made to sell toys and other merchandise. That’s how the whole idea of He-Man came to be. In short the creators wanted to sell the toys so they made a show about it to boost sales and draw in kids. The concept was very basic. He-Man has a crew (The Defenders of Eternia) fight Skeletor and his cronies every week. Every week Skeletor calls a new guy to come in and fight for him and He-Man would defeat him. Sometimes with the help of a new good guy He-Man called upon in Eternia. The show even had a spin off, She – Ra: Princess of Power (who also got a show on Netflix).
Random Thought: They knew Skeletor was going to show up, every week and try something. They were like, He-Man will take care of it. In hindsight I’m more upset with the King. He really put the protection of the whole Kingdom in the hands of one man. Very Careless. Thank God for the updated series.
The New Adventures of He-Man (1990)
I will be totally honest. I hardly remember this series and for good reason. It was terrible. It also had a lot of competition at the time. Captain Planet and Disney had a lot of good cartoons out that really overshadowed the poor attempt to “revamp” a classic. It followed the same formula as the original show and did not last very long.
He-Man and the Master of The Universe(2002)
Between 2002 and 2012 many cartoons got the proper treatment they deserve while sticking to their roots. He-Man in 2002 was done right. The quality is a little outdated, but it still holds up. For the time it was top notch. I am watching it while writing this and getting totally distracted. This series Introduced the King as having humble begging’s and showed he was reedy to defend his kingdom, personally. Gone was the formula of fighting a new baddie every week. Yes the show did that but it followed a strong storyline and gave you a reason why this new bad guy or good guy even showed up. It lasted 2 seasons. By season 2 we were given sorely needed background on characters, lands in Eternia, and a singular direction with a new group of villains, the Snake men. Unfortunately like a lot of good reboots in the past 15 years it was either rushed to a finish or never really finished.
Masters Of the Universe: Revelations (2021)
What I love about this series is that it’s an interesting spin on the lore of He-Man and it expands on it. I also love that they have aged the content with the audience but still kept it accessible enough for a kid watching today to enjoy it. He-Man is seen as more of a background character. We follow the adventures of Teela and the effects of him not being in Eternia. They show a lot of flashbacks of their adventures together and the background of Prince Adam’s family Line dating back to the first Defender of Eternia. All and all it’s good and I’m ready for the rest of the series.
Growing up He-Man was one of my superhero icons. G.I. Joe gave me some military action. Silverhawks and Voltron gave me those space adventures that I loved. Transformers gave me talking and fighting robots. He-Man was that fantasy show that mixed magic and technology (like Thundercats). I know it is getting a lot of flack. BUT, lets wait to see where the story goes before we either crap on it or praise. Personally I think the show and story is evolving in the right direction. If you get a chance, watch the 2002 series (I literally found it on YouTube) and the New one on Netflix.