He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

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This article is about the original television series from 1983-85. For the 2002 television series reboot, see He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002 TV series).
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
MOTUlogo.JPG
He-Man title screen
Genre Action-adventure
Sword and sorcery
Science fantasy
Created by Mattel
Roger Sweet (uncredited)
Directed by Gwen Wetzler
Hal Sutherland (production director)
Voices of John Erwin
Linda Gary
Alan Oppenheimer
Lou Scheimer
Erika Scheimer
Composer(s) Shuki Levy
Haim Saban
Erika Lane
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 130 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Lou Scheimer
Producer(s) Gwen Wetzler
Running time 23 min.
Production company(s) Filmation Associates
Mattel
Distributor Group W Productions
DreamWorks Classics
Broadcast
Original channel first-run syndication (1983-1985)
USA Network (1988-1990)
qubo Channel (2010-August 25, 2013)

Me-TV (2012-present)
Audio format Mono (Early Season 1)
Stereo (Mid-Late Season 1-2)
Original run September 5, 1983  – November 21, 1985
Chronology
Related shows She-Ra: Princess of Power
The New Adventures of He-Man
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002 TV series)

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is an American animated television series produced by Filmation based on Mattel's successful toy line Masters of the Universe.[1][2] The show, often referred to as simply He-Man, was one of the most popular animated children's shows of the 1980s, and has retained a heavy cult following to this day.[3][4]

It made its television debut in 1983 and ran until 1985, consisting of two seasons of 65 episodes each. Reruns continued to air in syndication until 1988, at which point USA Network bought the rights to the series. USA aired He-Man until September 1990. Reruns of the show are no longer being broadcast on the Qubo Night Owl and Me-TV in the U.S.[5] Currently the show is viewed on Retro Television Network,[6][7] and in Canada on Teletoon Retro.

Synopsis[edit]

The show takes place on the fictional planet of Eternia, a planet of magic, myth and fantasy. The show's lead character is Prince Adam, the young son of Eternia's rulers, King Randor and Queen Marlena. Whenever Prince Adam uses the Sword of Power, and when he holds it aloft and proclaims "By the Power of Grayskull! I HAVE THE POWER" he is endowed with fabulous secret powers and transformed into He-Man, the most powerful man in the universe. Together with his close allies, Battle Cat (who undergoes a similar transformation from being Adam's cowardly pet tiger Cringer), The Sorceress, Teela, Man-At-Arms and Orko, He-Man uses his powers to defend Eternia from the evil forces of Skeletor. Skeletor's main goal is to conquer the mysterious fortress of Castle Grayskull, from which He-Man draws his powers. If he succeeds, Skeletor would rule Eternia and possibly the whole universe.[8]

Characters[edit]

Episodes[edit]

Production history[edit]

The Mattel company developed the original He-Man action figure in 1981; the franchise backstory was conceived by the Filmation animation studio. Some time after, both firms pitched the idea to the ABC network, who turned it down. The resulting series, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, debuted through barter syndication in September 1983,[nb 1] and became the first syndicated show to be based on a toy. By 1984, it was seen on 120 U.S. stations and in more than 30 countries.[9]

Despite the limited animation techniques that were used to produce the series, He-Man was notable for breaking the boundaries of censorship that had severely restricted the narrative scope of children's TV programming in the 1970s. For the first time in years, a cartoon series could feature a muscular superhero who was actually allowed to hit people (although he more typically used wrestling-style moves rather than actually punching enemies), though he still could not use his sword often; more often than not He-Man opted to pick up his opponents and toss them away rather than hit them. The cartoon was controversial in that it was produced in connection with marketing a line of toys; advertising to children was itself controversial during this period. In the United Kingdom, advertising regulations forbade commercials for He-Man toys to accompany the program itself. In similar fashion to other shows at the time: notably G.I. Joe, an attempt to mitigate the negative publicity generated by this controversy was made by including a "life lesson" or "moral of the story" at the end of each episode. This moral was usually directly tied to the action or central theme of that episode.[10][11][12]

The show was so successful that it spawned a spin-off series, She-Ra: Princess of Power following the adventures of He-Man's sister.[13] Mattel's subsequent attempts to relaunch the He-Man toy line have also led to the short-lived sequel series The New Adventures of He-Man in the early 1990s, and an update of the series for a contemporary audience in 2002.[14]

It is also noted for featuring early script-writing work from J. Michael Straczynski, later the creator of Babylon 5; Paul Dini and Brynne Stephens, both of whom who would go on to write acclaimed episodes of Batman: The Animated Series; Beast Wars story editor Larry DiTillio; and David Wise, later the head-writer of the TV version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Real Ghostbusters.[15]

Cast[edit]

Music[edit]

The series' music was composed by Shuki Levy and Haim Saban.[16] The opening theme, snippets of which are used whenever Prince Adam transforms into He-Man and during interludes, is in C Mixolydian.

Reception[edit]

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is considered the most successful animated series ever made by Filmation. The show was often criticized by parent groups as a cartoon designed to advertise action figures.[10][11][17][18][19] In 2009, IGN ranked the series as the 58th greatest animated show of all time in their Top 100 list.[20]

Name in other languages[edit]

  • In Bosnian "He-Man i Gospodari svemira" ("Хи-Мен и Господари свемира")
  • In Croatian "He-Man i Gospodari svemira"
  • In Dutch "He-Man, en de meesters van het Universum"
  • In Finnish "He-Man ja Maailmankaikkeuden Valtiaat"
  • In French "Les Maîtres de l'univers"
  • In German "He-Man und Masters of the Universe"
  • In Greek "Χ-Μαν Οι Κυριαρχοι Του Συμπαντος"
  • In Hungarian Lovag és az univerzum védelmezőji.
  • In Hebrew "הי-מן ושליטי היקום"
  • In Italian "He-Man e i dominatori dell'universo"
  • In Macedonian "Hi-Men i Gospodarite na vselenata" ("Хи-Мен и Господарите на вселената")
  • In Montenegrin "Hi-Men i Gospodari svemira" ("Хи-Мен и Господари свемира")
  • In Polish "He-Man i Władcy Wszechświata"
  • In Portuguese "He-Man e os Defensores do Universo"
  • In Serbian "Hi-Men i Gospodari svemira" ("Хи-Мен и Господари свемира")
  • In Slovene "He-Man in Gospodarji vesolja"
  • In Spanish "He-Man y los Masters del Universo" (Spain)

DVD releases[edit]

BCI Eclipse LLC (under license from Entertainment Rights) released all 130 episodes of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe on DVD in Region 1 in 2005/2006, in 4 volume sets.[21][22][23][24] Each volume contains an extensive array of special features including Documentaries, Character profiles, commentaries, DVD-ROM features, trivia, photo galleries and more. As of 2009, these releases have been discontinued and are out of print as BCI Eclipse ceased operations.[25]

On December 10, 2010, Mill Creek Entertainment announced that they had acquired the rights from Classic Media to re-release the series on DVD in America. They have subsequently re-released the complete first season in one 8-disc set as well as two smaller 20-episode volume releases.[26] The complete second season was released on September 13, 2011.[27] The 2002 series, composed of 4 discs; 960min, was also released in 2010 by Mill Creek Entertainment, and is titled 'He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: The Complete Series' ASIN: B002DQL34G. Commemorating the 30th anniversary He-Man and the Masters of the Universe brand, Mill Creek Entertainment has finally released the 30th Anniversary Commemorative Collection of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe DVD. The 22-disc features the all 130 episodes of the 1983 series, 20 fan-favorite episodes of the 1990 series, as well as all 39 episodes of the 2002 series.[28]

DVD Name Ep# Release date
The Complete First Season 65 February 15, 2011
The Complete Second Season 65 September 13, 2011

In Region 4, Madman Entertainment released the entire series on DVD in Australia in 4 volume sets (similar to BCI Eclipse releases). These releases have been discontinued and are now out of print. A complete series box set was released by Madman on June 24, 2009, this is still available.[29]

The pilot episode, "Diamond Ray of Disappearance", has a minute or so of footage missing due to the master tapes being damaged. In the original version, after teleporting the King and Queen and Man-At-Arms away to another dimension, Skeletor turns the ray onto Orko, who gets stuck inside a vase which deflects the beam. Orko escapes to warn He-Man. This footage has not been lost; it is still existent on other media in circulation. However, complications over the rights to it prevented it from being inserted back into the DVD release.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In the practice of barter syndication, production companies give television stations a series for free, in exchange for advertising.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Solomon, Charles (1986-11-15). "Syndication Threat". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  2. ^ "How an Obscure Collection of Japanese Action Figures Changed the Way We Play". Wired Magazine. 2007-06-26. Retrieved 2010-10-03. 
  3. ^ "Panda director 'for He-Man movie'". BBC News. 2009-01-30. Retrieved 2009-10-02. 
  4. ^ Fleming, Michael (2007-05-23). "He-Man returns to big screen". Variety. Retrieved 2009-10-02. 
  5. ^ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_programs_broadcast_by_Qubo Retrieved August 30, 2013
  6. ^ "RTV Bringing Back Retro Saturday Morning TV". TVNewsCheck. August 5, 2010. Retrieved August 8, 2010. 
  7. ^ "TV Listings: KAZTDT2 (KAZT-DT2), October 2, 2010". Zap2it. Retrieved September 20, 2010. 
  8. ^ "The Complete Box Set He-Man and the Masters of the Universe - Season 1, Volume 2 Review". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2008-09-28. 
  9. ^ a b Engelhardt, Tom (1986). "Children's Television: The Shortcake Strategy". In Gitlin, Todd. Watching Television: A Pantheon Guide to Popular Culture. Pantheon Books (Random House). pp. 76–77. ISBN 0-394-74651-1. 
  10. ^ a b Collins, Glenn (1985-12-12). "CONTROVERSY ABOUT TOYS, TV VIOLENCE a". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-04. 
  11. ^ a b Diamond, S. J. (1986-06-30). "Marketing to Children Raises Big Questions". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-03-04. 
  12. ^ "Video: A He-Man for All Seasons". Time. 1985-01-07. Retrieved 2010-03-03. 
  13. ^ "Remembering She-Ra and He-Man: Interview with Lou Scheimer". Animation World Network. Retrieved 2009-10-02. 
  14. ^ Owen, Rob (2002-08-16). "On the Tube: Cartoon Network brings He-Man, the Masters back for 20th anniversary". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2010-03-05. 
  15. ^ "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe — Season One, Volume One". IGN. 2008-05-11. Retrieved 2008-06-25. 
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ Andrews, Edmund L. (1991-04-10). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS; F.C.C. Adopts Limits on TV Ads Aimed at Children". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  18. ^ Solomon, Charles (2002-12-22). "Can't keep He-Man down; Once viewed by children's advocates as toy makers' shill, the cartoon hero is back, minus controversy". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  19. ^ Boyer, Peter J. (1985-12-12). "TOY-BASED TV: EFFECTS ON CHILDREN DEBATED". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-10. 
  20. ^ "86, He-man". IGN. 2009-01-23. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  21. ^ http://www.dvdempire.com/Exec/v4_item.asp?item_id=738924
  22. ^ http://www.dvdempire.com/Exec/v4_item.asp?item_id=766532
  23. ^ http://www.dvdempire.com/Exec/v4_item.asp?item_id=1086999
  24. ^ http://www.dvdempire.com/Exec/v4_item.asp?item_id=1186186
  25. ^ "Site News - PRESS RELEASE: Navarre Shuts Down BCI, Makers of He-Man, Day Break, Price is Right and other DVDs". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2010-05-31. 
  26. ^ "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe - Mill Creek Release Date for 8-DVD 'Complete 1st Season'". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2011-01-03. 
  27. ^ http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/He-Man-Masters-Universe-Season-2/15589
  28. ^ Lambert, David (September 19, 2012). "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe - 1983, 1990 and 2002 Shows Together for ' 30th Anniversary' DVDs". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved September 19, 2012. 
  29. ^ http://www.ezydvd.com.au/item.zml/805796

External links[edit]