Now every first and third Thursday each month, ANIMATED INSIGHTS BY SHANNON MUIR takes you inside Shannon’s latest reflections on her passion for animation as a medium, and other animated insights about life. To catch up on all posts, check out the Animated Insights portion of the website! This week, the column takes a look at SHE-RA: PRINCESSES OF POWER.
I grew up watching the first incarnation of She-Ra, known in full as SHE-RA: PRINCESS OF POWER. I’d been watching HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE for years prior and really liked the idea that there would be a show set in the same universe with a female lead.
Here to give you a feel is the original opening credits as taken from “The Secret of the Sword” – originally released as a single movie, then made into the first several episodes of the 1980s series.
I liked quite a bit about the show; the characters and writing for the most part were strong in the first season. However, the second season interested me less as it felt like I was being written down to (I was around 14 by then) and definitely more interest in getting in as many new characters for toys as possible.
When word came that She-Ra would reappear on Netflix as SHE-RA: PRINCESSES OF POWER, it immediately captured my interest. The plural title set up the idea that She-Ra would lead but not leave the other princesses around her powerless, that they would find power in their own right. In that respect, the show exceeded my expectations. By the end of Season 1, I credibly see the story threads bringing all the Princesses to come together as an Alliance. The arc between Adora and Catra holds stronger than the original show, as does the careful weaving-in of Shadow Weaver’s backstory throughout the show versus the one-off storyline in the original show.
There are also drastic ways in which the two incarnations differ, but I can’t say much without revealing spoilers. No change is really bad in my eyes, but some are confusing as I try to compare it to the original show as a parallel. Others are great improvements.
That said, there’s still a lot of unanswered mysteries. The biggest is why her transformation phrase is “For the honor of Grayskull!” when we don’t have any context for what Grayskull is in this incarnation of the show – for all we know, Eternia and He-Man may not exist in this incarnation. I hold out hope that Season 2 will shed more light on questions like these; if not, I may start losing my patience.
For now, I look forward to Season 2. I leave you with a Season 1 trailer set to the show’s theme song.
Be back here in two weeks, when I give my review and thoughts on the eighth – and FINAL – season of VOLTRON: LEGENDARY DEFENDER.