Yesterday, without much fanfare, the first season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power arrived on Netflix. Thirteen episodes dropped onto the streaming service, ushering in a new era for the sword wielding super hero.
Overseen by show creator, Noelle Stevenson, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power updates the classic cartoon with new animation, but retains all of the core characters that fans know and love. If you’re a fan of the likes of Catra or Shadow Weaver, rest easy as they all appear in the opening episodes and I believe other old favourites drop in as the series progresses.
Since the series landed on Netflix I’ve watched the first two episodes, aka The Sword Part 1 & Part 2. This two-part story details She-Ra’s origin, explains her defection from the Horde to the Resistance and showcases her initial interactions with Bow, Light Hope and Glimmer.
So, how does it shape up?
After watching the first episode, my initial reaction was that I liked the show, but I was not a fan of the animation. The character designs were fine, in fact I liked them a lot, but the animation itself looked rather cheap.
Something about the way the character’s were animated just didn’t sit right and I felt like it wasn’t quite hitting the mark. However, I moved on to episode two and I was soon able to overlook this problem.
It’s still there – the show does look cheap – but the characters and premise overcomes the animation’s shortcomings. By the time I made it to the end of episode two I was sold on the show.
Is it perfect?
No, there are definite pacing issues in The Sword – Part 1 & Part 2, but there are more positives than negatives. The first of those positives are the aforementioned character designs.
The protagonists in this show are not designed to look voluptuous. Neither She-Ra nor Glimmer appear as if they’ve took part in a body building contest – they actually look like regular people.
OK, they don’t look exactly like regular people – I’ve yet to see anyone like She-Ra parading through Manchester City Centre – but proportions wise, this cartoon is a lot more realistic than the original. There seems to be less of a focus on making the characters appear athletic and more focus on showing them to be representative of average human beings.
As for the story, well the initial set up of the Horde Vs the Resistance allows for some interesting tales to come, especially from She-Ra and Catra. The two are shown to have a strained friendship so this should be the start of a bumpy journey with lots of conflict to come.
The potential in the She-Ra/Catra relationship could form the backbone of this series, so as long as it isn’t rushed or brushed to one side it might be the real meat of this show. We shall see.
After only two episodes, I’m not entirely convinced that She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is a series I will follow religiously or one that I won’t change my mind about once I’ve watched a few more episodes, but for now I’m interested to see where this all goes.
Ultimately when I look at a show like this I have to ask myself, ‘does my opinion really matter?’
This show is clearly aimed at a younger audience, not the 30 or 40 somethings who recall the original series. As such, the real test for She-Ra and the Princesses of Power will be whether or not this series appeals to kids.
As a(n almost) 37-year-old who doesn’t have children, I can’t say whether or not kids will care about this show, but if I was to go on my gut feeling, and based on these two episodes alone, I’d say they will. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power has all the right ingredients to be a great little show that could be a big hit with the younger demographic, it just depends if they buy into it or not.
A week has passed since my initial post and I’ve got a little update regarding She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.
I BLOODY LOVE THIS SHOW!
I’ve now watched all 13 episodes of the series. The first episode of the series is easily the weakest – everything beyond this point is pure gold.
There is so much to like:
- The interactions between Adora, Bow & Glimmer.
- Swift Wind being a fabulous flying unicorn.
- Catra. Catra. Catra!
- The themes of friendship and acceptance.
- Representation for different races and sexualities.
- THE THEME MUSIC!
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is such a progressive show – it includes different body shapes, different skin colours and different view points and it does all this without ever feeling preachy. This is the future of storytelling.
Going back to what I said earlier in the post about not having kids – If I did have kids, I would want them to grow up with a show like this. Watching it, I felt empowered, inspired and thoroughly entertained – and I’m not even the target audience, I can only imagine what it must be like for a boy or girl watching this as one of their first cartoons.