Started watching She-Ra-- no, not the new one, the original!
I want to see the remake, but wanted to at least remind myself what the 80s version was like. I feel like I'm cheating, because I haven't finished watching season 2 of He-Man yet, but what can ya do?
Me and the kids watched the first five episodes, which makes up She-Ra's origin and introduction. Overall, it was pretty good, and taken as a whole, would rank as one of the better He-Man stories. I like that it had so much room to breath, and man, it really makes me wish there were more multi-part He-Man episodes! The adventure can be a lot more in depth that way.
He-Man was never given a proper origin story, so it's cool to see She-Ra get one. She starts off as a straight-up bad guy-- one of Hordak's commanders. I'd forgotten about that!
When He-Man meets Adora, she can't believe that he'd call the Horde evil, and he tells her to go around and really look at what the Horde is actually doing, and see if it changes her mind about them. This is followed by several scenes of Adora traveling around watching Horde troopers treat the peasants of Etheria cruelly, and her realizing that she's really on the bad guy's side-- as if the fact that she's from a place called "The Fright Zone" wasn't enough of a clue. She then defects and joins the good guys in the Great Rebellion. In a series not know for its moral ambiguity, it's a pretty powerful moment (and one that's especially poignant to today's culture).
As the story comes together, they do a good job of making She-Ra similar to He-Man, but making her stand on her own as well. This is really clear towards the end when they're fighting side by side, and doing the exact same moves, but then introduce new powers for She-Ra that He-Man doesn't have, like communicating with animals, and healing abilities.
The biggest difference between the two of them is the personalities of Adam and Adora. Adora is much more formal than Adam is, and much more competent (regardless of whether Adam's weakness is an act or not). Like, she's a fighter who's willing to battle He-Man on her own even before she gets any powers.
It's also interesting how Etheria itself is similar but different than Eternia. Even with all of Skeletor's robots, and Man-At-Arms's technology, Eternia is still a medieval world full of people who dress like barbarians. Etheria isn't. It's very Star Wars-inspired, with a high-tech, galactic empire keeping a poor, abused, population under it's heel. If they seem medieval, it seems like it's just because they're recovering from the rule of The Horde, not because they're actually medieval
The cast of characters is an... interesting mix.
There's a lot of comic relief characters, such as Madam Razz, her talking broomstick, a whole bunch of elves, Lookee and Cowl. It's like someone watched He-Man, saw Cringer and Orko, and said "we need three times as many of THOSE guys!"
Then there's Bow, who sports tight blue pants and a... dickie? with a giant heart on it? and a cape? wtf? But anyway, flamboyant fashion sense or no, he's actually kind of a badass. He's She-Ra's version of Teela-- the hyper-competent opposite-gender fighting partner. Although his voice is stiff and formal, and not as good as Teela's, which I think makes him a bit less charismatic.
They all make up the ironically titled "Great Rebellion," which is (possibly also ironically) lead by Glimmer, who is strangely soft-spoken for an inspirational rebel leader. It's possible that she's only the leader until they rescue her mom, who looks exactly like her, except has wings.
The villains are more interesting, as they usually are, although I don't think they really stand up to the villains in He-Man. The Horde as a whole is much bigger and scarier than anything that Skeletor ever came up with, and Hordak is pretty cool, but he's just not as cool as I wish he was. There's a certain comedic look to his transformations that really undermines how intimidating he should be. And he oiks every now and then.
Shadow Weaver (aka Sexy Orko) is my favorite villain so far. She looks cool, seems powerful and mysterious, and has some great voice acting.
The rest of them are kind of unimpressive. Mantenna is just annoying, and does Leech really need to have toy-accurate suction cups on his hands?
I really like the design for the standard Horde Troopers, though. Much cooler than Skeletor's robots.
All in all, the combination of leftover designs from the He-Man toy line, new designs from the team who had been working on Barbie now tasked with designing action heroes, and all the elf characters designed by the cartoon studio create a world that looks like it should be run by Derek Zoolander.
Which I am 100% okay with.
The She-Ra series also introduces the major retcon that suddenly He-Man has a twin sister. Like any retcon, it really complicates the storyline, but I actually think they do a decent job of pulling it off. They'd introduced the Horde briefly in the He-Man show in the Sorceress's origin, and bring them back as the ones that kidnap Adora, so it's kind of like they were recurring villains in a previous generation of MotU where Randor, Marlena, Man-At-Arms and the Sorceress were the main characters, which is kind of cool to think about. Then when Hordak gets away with Adora, the Sorceress erases everyone's memory that she ever existed, because that's the Sorceress's MO when it comes to children.
The one thing that I don't really like about the retcon is that for some reason Hordak was Skeletor's teacher. That just doesn't feel like it fits, because... what the hell was he teaching him? Their powers and abilities aren't similar at all, plus before that Skeletor seemed like some kind of ancient evil, and this makes him seem a lot younger (this was all before the Keldor stuff was introduced in the comic), so he seems like he's always been a punk, with or without He-Man there to stop him.
Anyway, when they meet up again, Skeletor does back stab Hordak, which made me happy.
When He-Man and She-Ra get back to Eternia, I thought it was fun seeing them interact with the original cast of characters. My favorite part was just how Teela could not possibly be less impressed with either Adora or She-Ra. Heh, Teela's awesome.
So anyway, She-Ra is pretty good so far. I'll see how it holds up when it gets into more one-off episodes.
But before I do that, I'm probably going to check out the new series.