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Thoughts on the rebooted He-Man (Netflix)

embee

Lawyer by day. Rules lawyer by night.
The He-Man reboot has just dropped on Netflix. I'd like to NOT have this devolve into a discussion of the societal aspects of the reboot and instead on the show's merits on its own.

That said, 2 episodes in and there is a definite problem. Who is this show for? Because it's sure not for small children. Animation wise, it's fine. Talent-wise, again, it's fine (with Sir Mark Hamill as Skeletor). Tonally, I think they missed the mark.

Frankly, it's too mature for small children. For example, the very first episode shows Moss Man being burned to death on screen. The second episode (The Poisoned Chalice) has a lot of body horror which is way too intense for a grade schooler. Episode 3 has an elderly man get called a cripple.

While they may have been going for the She-Ra audience, this show missed wide.

Beyond that, it's good a sword-and-sorcery cartoon with a pretty solid magic vs technology storyline. It's just a shame that it's too scary for little ones.

I'd love to hear all of your thoughts...
 

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Argyle King

Legend
I haven't watched it yet.

But I'm not opposed to a more mature He-Man. I think the old movie (w/ Dolph Lundgren) struggled because it wasn't allowed to be mature enough.
 


embee

Lawyer by day. Rules lawyer by night.
They certainly didn't skimp on getting top-shelf actors.

In addition to Hamill, there's Lena Headey as Evil-Lyn; Sarah Michelle Gellar as Teela; Stephen Root as Cringer; Diedrich Bader as King Randor and Trap Jaw; Alicia Silverstone as Queen Marlena; Justin Long as Roboto; Jason Mewes as Stinkor; Phil LaMarr as He-Ro; Tony Todd as Scare Glow; Cree Summer as Priestess; Kevin Michael Richardson as Beast Man and Kevin Conroy as Mer-Man (making a sort-of BTAS reunion).

There's even Henry Rollins as Tri-Klops.
 




embee

Lawyer by day. Rules lawyer by night.
I am pretty certain that's not the intended audience. It is aiming at a nostalgia audience.
Here's the thing...

She-Ra also aims at the nostalgia audience but is also really good at being a kid's show. It's one of my favorites and a fave of my 6 year-old.

Which then begs the question as to why not aim for a TV-7 audience instead of a TV-12 audience? If you took out the body horror, questionable language, and intense violence, you'd have a good kid's show. For example, the B-plot of Episode 4 goes into Orko's backstory. And it's a good B-plot that humanizes both him and Evil-Lyn.

Setting-wise, the show is dynamite. It nails fantasy tropes with perfection. I'm just saying that if I wanted to get a kid into fantasy, take the intensity down a little bit and you can get a new generation hooked as kids.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Wasn’t bad (first ep). My only issue was when He Man figured out that using his sword would absorb the energy of the universe or something and everybody was like “hmm, yes, I don’t need to do years off scientific study and some advanced equations to know that will work but it will kill you in the process”. He’s strong, but magically prescient isn’t one of his abilities, is it? Or how did he leap to that conclusion? It was Star Trek technobabble taken to an extreme. Next Wesley will decide that a tachyon emission from the deflector dish will invert the symmetry of the quantum foam and reverse the time anomaly or something.
 

reelo

Adventurer
I thoroughly enjoyed it. I consider myself the target audience, being 41 and having been a huge fan as a kid in the mid-80s.

Then again, I also liked the She-Ra reboot, and both shows are nothing alike!

If I had to critique one minor thing, it would be the fact that I find Teela's jaw (too square) and lips (too big) don't quite fit her. But that's a purely artistic thing, I've no issues with either her role or her character.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Here's the thing...

She-Ra also aims at the nostalgia audience but is also really good at being a kid's show. It's one of my favorites and a fave of my 6 year-old.

Which then begs the question as to why not aim for a TV-7 audience instead of a TV-12 audience?

So, I don't think She-Ra aims at TV-7 either. Not for violence, but for emotional and plot complexity.
 




Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
And that's fine. But if you want scientifically intelligent fiction, you really picked the wrong show.
It’s not a binary thing. In fact, this show falls exactly into the “fun enough to watch, with some things that bug me enough to mention them” category, like most every show I watch does. Discussing the show is part of the enjoyment for me.
 



DammitVictor

Druid of the Invisible Hand
She-Ra seemed more at teenage girls than small children. I'd have no problem watching Masters of the Universe: Revelation with my four-year-old daughter, but it was obviously aimed at middle-aged men (and women) who grew up with the original; this does raise some questions about the reasoning behind the female-led cast and sidelining of Adam, but I suspect honest inquiry would impossible at this point.

Aside from fridging Adam-- not just sidelining him, but using his death to prompt everyone else's character arcs-- this was the Masters of the Universe I loved, and this was the Masters of the Universe I wanted. It's the version of MOTU that exists in my head, when I'm trying to explain why my life's work is about bringing MOTU's aesthetics and sensibilities back to Old School D&D.

Feel like getting any deeper into why it worked so well for me, which parts of it didn't work so well, and so on... would require both going on at length and getting deep into spoiler territory. We can only really gush about the presentation for so much, and even the naysayers mostly agree the show's pretty.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I binged all 5 and while its a serviceable story it ultimately rang hollow and the execution was quite frankly insulting to the legacy of He-Man and more importantly Adam. While it started okay and the episode 1 set up was fine, the jump after episode 2 quickly lost the momentum. While it was cool having Teela finally promoted to Man-at-Arms and her leading this story arc, , having no male leads (I dont count a robot or a faceless trollan) was I think a terrible creative choice, especially when the new character Andra was relegated to background after episode three - MotU is ultimately a show targeting boys toys, She-Ra is the show to highlight female leads (and I ultimately loved its netflix reboot) the males in this are largely fridged

While the cast is talented and the character cameos are fun (especially episode 5) the voices didnt fit some characters (Merman), Mossman was wasted, Evil Lyns story didnt fit (she isnt Spellweaver), Orko wasnt fun, and having Skeletor as a Joker-ripoff was naff. I'm treating this as alternate reality fan movie as we still have the 2000s reboot as a true successor to the He-Man legacy.

Personally I would have really liked to see more interaction between Adam and Teela and have the story further explore Adams psychology without the He-Man crutch, but we get something that totally dumps on the male leads and replaces them with a story that is trying too hard to be deep and meaningful.
 
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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
It’s not a binary thing. In fact, this show falls exactly into the “fun enough to watch, with some things that bug me enough to mention them” category, like most every show I watch does. Discussing the show is part of the enjoyment for me.

Sure. And, I'm the sort that discussing the discussion is part of the enjoyment for me. :)

If the show's ostensibly a cooking competition, is its complete lack of dance content a valid point? I guess I can't say you shouldn't be bugged by lack of tango in the Great British Baking Show... but maybe if you are bugged by it, that's less about the show than it is about the viewer?

When a show is produced and set in 21st century America, and the main male character is a sexist pig who should be the star example in human resources videos on sexual harassment, one of the female characters literally punches him in the face for it, and the character doesn't change and it is continued to be played for laughs, I think it valid to be bugged by that. The show could do better.

When it is a cartoon set in a world in which a guy raising his magic sword (no imagery, there, no sir, not at all) turns him into a loincloth wearing barbarian hero with anatomically questionable levels of musculature, it is perhaps not really the show's fault that it bugged you on that point. It isn't like it misled you about what it would contain, did it?

Moreover, would that have improved the show for you if they did it? They had seconds to talk about it, and it was going to destroy the world, but let's take some time to talk about safety? Maybe as a genre-breaking joke that might work, I guess. But that sounds more appropriate for a satire show, like, say Lower Decks, than for this.
 

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