‘She-Ra and the Princesses of Power’: Is the animated reboot worth watching?
While there are two He-Man projects in the works, one an animated series & the other a live-action movie, the best thing from the franchise in recent years is She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. The animated series ran for five seasons on Netflix from 2018-2020. Over the course of the five seasons, we follow Adora’s journey to becoming She-Ra, a hero in her own right, without having the connection to He-Man.
The reboot for She-Ra and the Princesses of Power was helmed by Noelle Stevenson, who created Nimoa and The Lumberjanes. Under Stevenson’s showrunning, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power became an epic about friendship, found family, growth, coming of age, and finding your own happiness. From the body positivity in the series to the LGBTQ+ themes, there’s something for everyone in She-Ra.
Do you love the “childhood friends to enemies to lovers” trope? You read that right.
The central relationship of the series, in terms of romance, is that of Adora & Catra. The pair were best friends, growing up under the control of the Horde, a group determined to take over Eternia from the Princesses. Things take a turn, however, when Adora learns that the Horde aren’t liberators, but conquerors. So, once having the power of She-Ra, she defects to help the Princesses fight the Horde.
This puts Adora & Catra on opposite sides during most of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. For the most part, they can be vicious enemies with each other even though Adora, in heroic fashion, tries to “save” Catra from herself. Instead, however, it’s smartly put that Catra has to save & redeem herself rather than putting that redemption solely on Adora.
Either way, they get to smoochin’ as a couple! And it’s sweet. They’re a cute couple at the end of the series. Presumably, they get their happily ever after.
The main theme of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is, well, friendship. Or, if you want to generalize it more, it’s a story about the bonds. The bonds between friends, between parent & child, between lovers, there are a lot of different bonds at play in She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, which can be toxic or can be healing. Either way, characters change in relation to their bonds with each other.
The main friendship of the series is between Adora, Glimmer, and Bow, who go from untrusting enemies to close friends. They support each other, fight for each other, and grow together as people, especially due to their friendship to each other. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power grow many of the other characters as well, fleshing them out and building their bonds to make the Princesses friends rather than allies.
The story is pretty epic
Over the course of 52 episodes, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power adds more & more layers. While season 1 is fairly surface stuff, the resulting seasons aren’t afraid to get darker in terms of their contact. Not too dark because, well, this is a children’s program, but impressively dark & sweeping in terms of story. Compare it to the original 80s She-Ra and this series has smoked.
Instead, there are clones, betrayal, space opera, legacy, trying to find your place in the universe. Importantly, despite getting darker, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power never loses its sense of humor. It never feels like it’s so heavy that you can’t laugh. It’s a good balancing act for a series to hold. At the end of season 5? The happy ending for She-Ra and the Princesses of Power feels earned rather than forced.
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power has all seasons streaming on Netflix.