She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

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She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.png
Season 1 promotional poster
Genre
Based on
Developed byNoelle Stevenson
Voices of
Opening theme"Warriors" by Aaliyah Rose
Ending theme"I Have The Power"
Composer(s)Sunna Wehrmeijer
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes39 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Running time24 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor
Release
Original networkNetflix
Original releaseNovember 13, 2018 (2018-11-13) –
present (present)
Chronology
Related showsShe-Ra: Princess of Power (original series)
External links
Website

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is an American animated web television series developed by Noelle Stevenson and produced by DreamWorks Animation Television. It premiered as a Netflix original program on November 13, 2018 and is currently on its fourth season. A reboot of the 1985 Filmation series She-Ra: Princess of Power, the 2018 series tells the tale of a teenager named Adora, who gains powers that allow her to turn into the titular heroine. Emboldened with this power, Adora leads a group of other magical princesses in an alliance to defeat the evil Hordak and his Horde.

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power has received critical acclaim, with particular praise for its diverse cast and the complex relationship between She-Ra and her best friend-turned-archenemy Catra. In 2019, the show was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Kids & Family Programming,[1] as well as a Daytime Emmy Award at the 46th Daytime Emmy Awards.

Premise and synopsis[edit]

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power follows Adora, an orphan raised by the Horde. This evil army is led by Hordak, who rules the planet Etheria with an iron fist. One day, after getting lost in the woods, Adora finds a magic sword that transforms her into the Princess of Power, She-Ra. After realizing the suffering that the Horde has inflicted on Etheria and its inhabitants, Adora joins the Resistance in the fight against the Horde through rebuilding the Princess Alliance, a group of other magical girls that once all opposed Hordak. Adora's newfound allegiance to the Resistance pits her against her former best friend Catra, whose sense of abandonment, malicious ambitions, and the disappearance of her former friend enables her to rise in the ranks of the Horde to become the new heroine's mortal enemy.[2]

In the first season, Adora reassembles the Princess Alliance, which successfully defends the rebel stronghold of Bright Moon against the Horde's assault, although engineer princess Entrapta defects to the Horde when she believes her allies have abandoned her. In the second and third seasons, Hordak attempts to build an interdimensional portal which will allow him to contact his creator, the warlord Horde Prime; Catra activates the portal even though it threatens to tear the planet apart, and rebellion leader Queen Angella sacrifices herself to stop it. In the fourth season, friction arises between Adora and her friend Glimmer, Angella's daughter and Bright Moon's new queen, especially when Adora learns that her sword is the key to an ancient superweapon inside Etheria; she destroys the sword to prevent the weapon from activating, but not before Etheria is pulled through a portal and becomes accessible to Horde Prime's armada.

Cast and characters[edit]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Development and production of the series began concurrently in April 2016. Showrunner Noelle Stevenson initially pitched it to Netflix on the assumption of creating only one season, but in November 2018 she said that "we now have four arcs of 13 episodes done".[5] She-Ra is created using traditional animation, with the exception of some computer animation for "complicated machinery".[6][7]

Themes[edit]

The first season of the serialized She-Ra reboot focuses on establishing the characters and their relationships in order to set up future seasons, initially by way of introducing "princesses of the week" to the core cast of Adora and her close friends, Glimmer and Bow.[8] While the core premise and characters of the original series were carried over, as well as many of its affectations (such as Adora's transformation catchphrase "For the honor of Grayskull!"),[9] the reboot sets itself apart from the 1980s series by its almost entirely female cast. The characters were made to be deliberately diverse,[8] both in regard appearance as well as character traits; for instance, some characters range from good to "evil but understandable", "utterly amoral" or "full-blown hippie".[10] He-Man, in the original version She-Ra's brother who "awakens her destiny", does not appear in the reboot, so as to set up She-Ra as a heroine in her own right.[11]

According to Stevenson, the series's thematic core are the relationships among its teenaged characters, which range from "wide-eyed love" to "heart-rending jealousy, crushes and infatuations".[12] Reviewers particularly highlighted the convincing portrayal of the anti-hero Catra and her complicated "frenemy" relationship with Adora,[10][8] which The Verge described as "the best animated antihero story since Avatar: The Last Airbender's Zuko".[13] In addition, the series addresses such themes as abusive relationships,[14] prejudice, isolationism (as exemplified, initially, by the princesses), colonization and genocide (a result of Hordak's planetary-scale warfare).[12] The series also emphasizes the necessity of taking action no matter one's own power or circumstances; it portrays magic as fallible and dependent on its wielder's skill and determination.[15]

LGBT representation[edit]

The creators indicated prior to release that the series would provide LGBT representation.[16] Tor.com commented that the series "reads as utterly queer in just about every aspect", with many characters coded as fluid in terms of gender or sexuality, and none as clearly heterosexual.[17] In an interview, when a network executive asked what the rainbow in the climax of the first season's finale meant, Stevenson replied: "The gay agenda".[18]

The first season shows a romantic relationship between two female side characters, Spinnerella and Netossa,[19][20][21] and Adora and Catra's relationship has undercurrents of romantic tension.[10][22][23] In the second season, Bow's fathers Lance and George make an appearance. In the third season, Huntara flirts with a female bartender. Scorpia's unrequited love for Catra is a recurring theme, and in the episode "White Out" she even attempts to ask her on a date. A non-binary character (using they/them singular pronouns) is introduced in the fourth season: Double Trouble, voiced by non-binary actor Jacob Tobia.[24][25]

Staff and cast[edit]

Noelle Stevenson, the creator of the rebooted She-Ra, with Aimee Carrero, voice of She-Ra, and AJ Michalka, voice of Catra.

The series' showrunner and creator is Noelle Stevenson, a cartoonist who became known for her Eisner Award-winning comics Nimona and Lumberjanes. The principal voice cast includes Aimee Carrero as She-Ra, Karen Fukuhara as Glimmer, AJ Michalka as Catra, and Marcus Scribner as Bow.[26] Mary Elizabeth McGlynn is the voice director.[27] The series has an all-female writers' room, and only one man in the regular voice cast.[12] Around 45 people work on She-Ra in the DreamWorks offices in Glendale.[6]

Design[edit]

She-Ra in the 1985 series (left) and her 2018 redesign (right) that triggered debate on social media.

Visually, the rebooted She-Ra series takes inspiration from anime and the works of Hayao Miyazaki and Moebius. Whereas the original series' heroines were all of exactly the same size and shape to facilitate animation and toy production, and were all white (with the late exception of Netossa), the new series' characters are intentionally diverse in shape and ethnicity.[12]

Character design[edit]

After first images of She-Ra's design were released in July 2018, controversy ensued on social media. Some Internet users (men, according to some sources,[28][29][30] but also women according to others[31][32]) contended that she wasn't as sexy,[28] voluptuous or glamorous as in the original series,[33] or that she looked like a boy.[34] Other users responded that the new series tried to avoid sexualizing a children's show, and conveyed body positivity.[28]

J. Michael Straczynski, the co-creator of the original series, commented that his She-Ra was written as "a warrior, first and foremost", and that "anyone who is looking back at [her] as the 'ideal woman' is doing so through the lens of prepubescent ... interest and kind of, understandably, imprinted on her like baby ducks. I get it. But that wasn’t the creative intent."[35] Fan artists responded to She-Ra's redesign and the controversy over it with a wave of artworks celebrating the heroine's new look.[33] The Verge reported that most of these artists were young women who were inspired by the new design's detractors to improve the new character's profile and her reputation.[33]

Music[edit]

The series' title song is "Warriors" by Aaliyah Rose.[36] The Washington Post highlighted it as one of the "theme song/opening credits so good it must not be skipped, right up there with Daredevil, The Crown and Narcos".[9]

The soundtrack was composed by Sunna Wehrmeijer. She aimed at creating a "contemporary '80s synth-sound combined with orchestral adventure", based on the creators' desire to feature "big and epic" but also "sparkly" music.[37]

Broadcast and promotion[edit]

Episodes[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally released
113November 13, 2018 (2018-11-13)
27April 26, 2019 (2019-04-26)
36August 2, 2019 (2019-08-02)
413November 5, 2019 (2019-11-05)

Promotion[edit]

A first teaser trailer released in September 2018 showcased Adora's transformation into She-Ra.[38] Longer trailers were released in October[39] and November 2018.[40] On January 24, 2019, the network announced the series' renewal for a second season, which debuted on April 26 of that year.[41]

As a novelty for a television series, the series' website is available in a virtual reality format, and is set up to present the user with a virtual crystal palace.[42]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

The first season received critical acclaim, with the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reporting a 100% approval rating based on 24 reviews, with an average rating of 7.66/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "By the grace of Greyskull, [the first season of] She-Ra and the Princesses of Power packs a powerful visual punch that hits even harder thanks to layered writing and multidimensional characters – the perfect show for seasoned fans and little ones alike."[43]

Entertainment Weekly's Darren Franich described the series as "a funny-wonderful pop fantasy animated like disco fireworks, fun for kids of all genders and any parents looking for something happy to cry about". Franich appreciated the self-aware humor and "hiply transgressive newness". Franich also noted some repetition, occasionally flat animation and the final showdown's predictable outcome. He found some of the tension in contemporary American politics reflected in the series' portrayal of the rebuilding of a "coalition of powerful liberal-minded thinkers left in disarray after a brutal defeat years ago by a monstrously all-consuming bad dude".[10] Collider called the series "visually exciting, emotionally charged, and unexpectedly hilarious", and "one of the best new shows of the year".[44] David Griffin at IGN praised the series for successfully rebooting the franchise but concluded that "Adora could have used more time with the Horde to help develop her character".[45]

Hypable praised the series' diversity and the multifaceted relationships among some of its core characters, but found much of the first season's plot "simplistic", and the rotating cast of princesses given short shrift.[8] The Washington Post highlighted the "top-notch" voice cast and particularly the work of Lorraine Toussaint as the sorceress Shadow Weaver.[9] The Verge commented that the series' biggest problem was that it was "retreading territory that Steven Universe and the two Avatar animated series did better", with several characters and plot points heavily reminiscent of elements from these earlier animated series, and also criticized the early episodes' shallow plot.[13]

The second season has a 85% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 13 reviews, with an average rating of 7.84/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "She-Ra and the Princesses of Power continues to go from strength to strength with ebullient flair in a second season that will enrapture younger fans while reminding adult viewers about the virtues of friendship and kindness."[46]

The third season has a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 8 reviews, with an average rating of 8/10.[47]

The fourth season has a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 7 reviews, with an average rating of 8.25/10.[48]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2019 GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Kids & Family Program She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Nominated [49]
46th Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Casting for an Animated Series or Special She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Nominated [50]
Golden Trailer Awards Best Animation/Family TV Spot She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Nominated [51]
2020 Annie Award Best Music - TV/Media Sunna Wehrmeijer for "Beast Island" Pending

References[edit]

  1. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (January 25, 2019). "GLAAD Media Awards: 'Adventure Time,' 'She-Ra,' 'Steven Universe' Nominated".
  2. ^ "She-Ra: first look at Netflix reboot". Den of Geek. Retrieved May 24, 2018.
  3. ^ "KESTON JOHN VOICES". Behind the Voice Actors. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  4. ^ Pulliam-Moore, Charles (May 10, 2019). "She-Ra Season 3 Is Coming This Summer and It's Bringing Geena Davis With It". io9. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  5. ^ Thomas, L. M. (April 25, 2019). "Will 'She-Ra & The Princesses Of Power' Return For Season 3? There's A Rich Mythology Still Left To Explore". Bustle.
  6. ^ a b Zahed, Ramin (November 13, 2018). "'She-Ra': A Princess Heroine Like No Other | Animation Magazine". Animation Magazine. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  7. ^ Powell, Nancy (April 19, 2019). "SHE-RA S2 Cast Likes the 7-Episode Season Format". Comics Beat. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
  8. ^ a b c d Abramo, Donya (November 7, 2018). "'She-Ra' is a wonderfully diverse and upbeat reimagining of a classic". Hypable. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  9. ^ a b c Betancourt, David. "Review | Netflix's 'She-Ra and the Princesses of Power' is a youthful revamp bursting with big sword energy". Washington Post. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  10. ^ a b c d Franich, Darren (November 7, 2018). "'She-Ra and the Princesses of Power' is a funny-wonderful pop fantasy: EW review". EW.com. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  11. ^ Thomas, Leah (November 13, 2018). "The Reason He-Man Isn't In 'She-Ra' Marks A Huge Victory For Female Fans". Bustle. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  12. ^ a b c d Ito, Robert. "Warrior Princesses. Spaceships. Cool Boots. 'She-Ra' Is Back". New York Times. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  13. ^ a b Nelson, Samantha (November 8, 2018). "Netflix's She-Ra reboot follows in Steven Universe's footsteps". The Verge. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  14. ^ "She-Ra Deftly Illustrates the Lasting Effects of Abuse". February 15, 2019.
  15. ^ Berry, Ellie (December 16, 2018). ""We must be strong, and we must be brave": Power and Young Women in 'She-Ra and the Princesses of Power' – Reel Honey". Reel Honey. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  16. ^ "Netflix's She-Ra Reboot Confirmed To Include LGBT Characters". ScreenRant. October 4, 2018. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  17. ^ Asher-Perrin, Emily (November 16, 2018). "She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is Freaking Fabulous". Tor.com. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  18. ^ ""She-Ra: Progressive of Power" podcast: "The Battle of Bright Moon" with Noelle Stevenson". The Nerdologues. February 22, 2019. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  19. ^ "Netflix's She-Ra Reboot Confirmed To Include LGBT Characters". October 4, 2018.
  20. ^ "Netflix's She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Delivers on Its LGBTQ Promise". CBR. November 15, 2018. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  21. ^ "She-Ra: The Next Step in Queer Representation".
  22. ^ "Netflix's "She-Ra and the Princesses of Power" Is the Gay Agenda". November 14, 2018.
  23. ^ "'She-Ra' Gives Us the Slow-Burn Queer Romance of Our Dreams". November 13, 2018.
  24. ^ Power, She-Ra and the Princesses of (October 21, 2019). "Just announced on prism by @Netflix! Meet @JacobTobia - the voice of Double Trouble!pic.twitter.com/6ElwOkFia2". @DreamWorksSheRa. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  25. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray; Ramos, Dino-Ray (October 21, 2019). "Jacob Tobia Joins 'She-Ra And The Princesses Of Power' As Non-Binary Character". Deadline. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  26. ^ Burwick, Kevin (May 18, 2018). "Netflix's She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Teaser Offers First Look at the Reboot". TVWeb. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  27. ^ "Mary E. McGlynn on Twitter". Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  28. ^ a b c Abad-Santos, Alex (July 18, 2018). "The fight over She-Ra's redesign, explained: Some men are mad she isn't sexier". Vox. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  29. ^ Knoop, Joseph (July 18, 2018). "The new She-Ra cartoon isn't sexy enough for some men". The Daily Dot. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  30. ^ Keeley, Matt (July 16, 2018). "The New She-Ra Design Is Amazing, But Some Dorks Are Mad She's Not 'Sexy' Enough (Updated)". Hornet. Retrieved November 6, 2018. Straight men starting coming out of the woodwork immediately to decry that she wasn’t “sexy” enough.
  31. ^ Collins, Hannah (July 23, 2018). "The Backlash Over She-Ra's Redesign Is Why Girls Can't Have Nice Things". CBR.com. Retrieved November 6, 2018. In a similar vein to the complaints ThunderCats Roar attracted, a contingent of men (and some women) have flipped out about the shape of the teenage heroine's body and face.
  32. ^ Jones, Maria (July 28, 2018). "She-Ra She's Progressive!...She's Kinda Boring Looking". Cub Magazine. Retrieved November 6, 2018. It is quite offensive to box all criticism into one box and base it on gender stereotypes surrounding nerd culture. There are many women who dislike the redesign.
  33. ^ a b c Robinson, Tasha. "Why the wave of She-Ra fan art is subversive and uplifting". The Verge. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  34. ^ Chen, Tanya. "Some Guys Are Criticizing The Redesign Of This Kids Cartoon Heroine For Not Being Sexy Enough". Buzzfeed News. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  35. ^ Hale-Stern, Kaila (July 20, 2018). "Original She-Ra Co-Creator J. Michael Straczynski Weighs in on Anger Over the New Design". TheMarySue.com. Retrieved July 20, 2018. Emphasis in original.
  36. ^ Motes, Jax (November 2, 2018). "'She-Ra And The Princesses Of Power' Will Debut Earlier Than Planned". sciencefiction.com. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  37. ^ Radulovic, Petrana (November 23, 2018). "How Netflix's She-Ra found a specific sound for its kick-ass princess". Polygon. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  38. ^ "The first teaser for Netflix's She-Ra shows off Adora's transformation". Polygon. September 10, 2018. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  39. ^ "Netflix's She-Ra gets brand new trailer at New York Comic Con". Polygon. October 4, 2018. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  40. ^ Pulliam-Moore, Charles (November 1, 2018). "Exclusive: Netflix's She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Is Premiering Sooner Than You Think". io9. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  41. ^ "Who wants more #SheRa and the Princesses of Power?". Twitter. January 24, 2019. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  42. ^ Muncy, Julie (October 27, 2018). "She-Ra's New Virtual Reality Website Offers a Glimpse Into the Show's Majestic World". io9. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  43. ^ "She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Season 1 - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  44. ^ Trumbore, Dave (November 13, 2018). "'She-Ra and the Princesses of Power' Review: New Heroes Rise at Just the Right Time". Collider. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  45. ^ Griffin, David (November 13, 2018). "SHE-RA AND THE PRINCESSES OF POWER: SEASON 1 REVIEW". IGN. Retrieved November 23, 2019.
  46. ^ "She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Season 2 - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  47. ^ "She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Season 3 - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  48. ^ "She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Season 4 - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  49. ^ Yang, Rachel (January 25, 2019). "'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'The Favourite' Among GLAAD Media Award Nominees". Variety. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  50. ^ Bishop, Rollin (March 23, 2019). "'She-Ra and the Princesses of Power' Receives Emmy Nomination". Comicbook. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  51. ^ "The 20th Annual Golden Trailer Award Winners". Golden Trailer Awards. Retrieved June 20, 2019.

External links[edit]