I went into this new CGI reboot of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe fully expecting to hate it. The character redesigns, the changing of the mythos, the Pokemon inspired fight sequences… as an original devote of Masters of the Universe, this isn’t my show!
And, really, that’s when I had a revelation that allowed me to chill out and enjoy this series for what it is.
It’s not my show. This series wasn’t written for me.
And I needed to get over it.
If I’ve learned anything about the He-Man fan base in the last few months, it’s that it’s made out of crotchety old men who hate change. Thankfully, I tolerate change and I’m only 40 percent crotchety, but that percentage goes up every year.
We need to get over it.
This show wasn’t written for us.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is a bold (yes bold) reimagining of the 1980’s classic. Keeping the bare skeleton of the series intact, Prince Adam is a brave yet scrawny boy living in the jungle with a tribe of talking tigers, including his friend, the wise Cringer, handicapped years ago when a poacher took his claws. With him is his closest friend, Krass, a young girl who loves to knock things down with her helmet. When a young witch named Teela enters their lives with a sword she stole from the Royal Palace, Adam finds himself transformed into He-Man, the defender of Eternos.
It’s the same… and yet it is different.
Ram Man, for example, is now female and called herself Ram Ma’am which is hilarious and cringy at the same time. Man at Arms is now Adam’s age, Teela is recast as the Sorceress, and Cringer is a wise and brave mentor figure. Orko even joins the gang in a very ingenious way.
On the other side of the fence, however, Adam’s uncle, Keldor, has come into power of his own and has become the Dark Master, Skeletor and he has begun gathering an army of his own.
I’m just going to say it now… I love this incarnation of Skeletor. He’s all the best parts of Alan Oppenheimer’s Skeletor with just a pinch of Hades from Disney’s Hercules thrown in. It shouldn’t work, but it does.
Once I got over myself and the perceived slight to my nostalgia, I found out something quite extraordinary: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is actually pretty good. The reimagining of the characters, though borderline sacrilegious at times, actually works and, although I did detect shades of Shazaam with the sharing of the power thing, I loved how it progressed throughout the heavily serialized first season.
More than that, the series is just joyful, bright, and colorful. Yes, there are some cringy moments… more than a few, actually, but this series, as I said, wasn’t meant for fans of the 1980’s series, it’s meant for a new generation so that He-Man doesn’t fade into obscurity. We need to allow that to happen.
Besides, if you hate this series and want the old He-Man back, Netflix also has Masters of the Universe: Revelations. I’m sure that all He-Man fans love that and have nothing at all to complain about as far as that goes.
And yes, that was sarcasm.
Seriously. Get over yourselves.