This is looking like a train wreck.
When Netflix’s Masters of the Universe: Revelation was first announced, showrunner Kevin Smith touted it as a direct sequel to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, which ran from 1983 to 1985. As Smith promised, the new series picks up after the events of the original, though that doesn’t mean much in terms of story. Smith does use the same characters, similar designs, and a familiar status quo, but there’s no storyline to pick up and continue. The ’80s cartoon was an episodic series reverse-engineered from a line of toys, and there was little discernible difference between its first and last episode.
The new series is much more in line with the streaming era — the first five episodes of Revelation’s first season tell a continuous story, fit for watching over a single afternoon. (Part 2 of the series, consisting of the next five episodes, will release at a later date.) The show is surprising as a decades-later IP revival, leaning on childhood nostalgia to a far lesser degree than the concept and visuals suggest. Also, it’s pretty damn good.
For those unfamiliar: Mattel’s original 1980s He-Man show follows Prince Adam of Eternia — the HEYYEYAAEYAAAEYAEYAA meme guy — whose slickly designed Power Sword allows him to transform into the heroic protector He-Man, a secret identity known only to a few, even though the only difference in their appearance is that He-Man is tanner and wears skimpier clothing. The show was goofy, charming, and meant for little kids, but for those who were young enough to appreciate it during its original run (or who found it when it was popular in the ’90s), it was the most metal thing in the world. The toys were a delight, including and especially Castle Grayskull, with its drawbridges and trap doors. This was the fortress He-Man protected against the evil Skeletor, a beefy skull-goblin who’s also lingered in the public consciousness due to internet memes.