Weekend Review: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

One of the reviews for this weekend is Netflix’s “Original” series Masters of the Universe: Revelation. The original television series was called He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. I’ll give you three guesses as to why He-Man is no longer included in the name, but you’ll probably only need one because it’s the year 2021 and little boys aren’t allowed to look up to strong men; only strong women…

Now, before we begin, let me make one thing clear because I have heard the rumors and I know you have, too. There is, at this time, no evidence whatsoever that Teela or Adam are LGBT.  I am sure that will change, but it is actually alluded to more than once that Teela had a crush on He-Man and possibly even Adam back when she thought they were two separate people. So don’t panic if your kids choose to watch the show, it doesn’t happen in these first 5 episodes. The next 10 can’t be spoken for as they haven’t been released.

Here’s that SPOILER notice I warned you about with last week’s reviews… 

SPOILERS BELOW

Episode 1: The first episode had a lot of throwbacks to the original television series which ran from 1983-1985 with two, 65 episode runs. This Netflix version isn’t a reboot or even a remake, it is in fact a continuation of where the series left off in the 80’s and is based off Dark Horse Comic’s Revelation series. At this time, there are only five episodes, though it has been confirmed by Netlfix that a ten episode season 2 will be coming soon.

So why did Netflix drop He-Man from it’s title? Because the story isn’t actually about He-Man, or even his alter ego Adam, the Prince of Eternia. It’s about his best friend from the original series, Teela. And how do they possibly keep fans from ignoring their new main character? Why they kill him and the main bad guy off, of course! That’s right, Netflix managed to kill off it’s two main characters who just so happen to be men, He-Man and Skeletor.

Also can I mention what a terrible friend you are if after your best friend dies, you are only focused on the fact that he lied? Teela has an absolute tantrum while two parents grieve over the loss of their only son and has the nerve to lecture the mother about lying. Teela, the Captain of the Guards and Adam’s best friend made his death all about her. There’s something to teach your children.

Now, let’s be real, Adam/He-Man and Skeletor aren’t staying dead anymore than Joker, Buffy, or any other comic book character who dies. They’re always reanimated. The questions is how long are we stuck watching Teela avoid any semblance of a hero’s journey? (Seriously, did Netflix learn nothing from the Rey debacle in Star Wars?)

Episode 2: So instead of magic, people are embracing technology and drinking nanobots and become freaky cyborgs because magic is dying in Eternia. It’s lame and silly and of course Evil-Lyn tricks Teela and her “partner” Andra into stealing a goblet which was actually the Havoc Staff’s head. Evil-Lyn and the Sorceress become temporary allies and reveal to Teela and Andra that they must help to get the Sword of Power, which got separated into two pieces, back to one. Cringer lectures Teela on her being a coward, but they don’t outright call her that which is a shame. She also should have been called a selfish brat… but I digress.

The episode made it clear that for the moment we’re stuck with the Spice Girls. Sorceress, Evil-Lyn, Teela and Andra will be going to Subternia and Preternia so that they can get the two swords and forge them back together to save Eternia because without magic, the whole universe will die.

Can I just jump in here and say how awful this series is? I mean, it’s short. Each episode is only like 20 minutes, but the awful storylines and puns and references to other shows… I can’t tell if we’re going to get a Spacely Sprocket and George Jetson cameo or one of Megatron and Optimus Prime, especially after episode 2. 

Episode 3: Okay, so right off the bat I can and will point out that He-Man and Skeletor are featured in flashbacks through out the five episodes. The coolest and best things about this series so far, however, is that Kevin Conroy is voicing Mer-Man and Mark Hamill is voicing Skeletor. Normal people won’t know this, but us geeks are aware that Kevin Conroy is the animated series voice of Batman and Mark Hamill is his Joker! So… yeah. I kind of geeked out when I saw Mer-Man and Skeletor working together.

One other moment that should be mentioned and goes to my above point about Teela not being queer is when Evil-Lyn actually lectures one of the girls in the show for being attracted to “dangerous men”. She soundly tells Andra that you can’t change them, they only care for themselves, and they will never love you. Then Teela actually negates Evil-lyn’s very good advice about “bad boys” and says that Andra should not listen to the woman because she holds a torch for Skeletor.  Evil-Lyn immediately turns it on Teela and points out she has a torch for someone herself. Pretty sure that was He-Man.

Episode 4: During the Subternia (Hell) episode, the desperate need to make Evil-Lyn less evil is really apparent as she and Orko have a weird bonding moment where we get some bits of character development. Teela has to face her fears and true to the “spunky” girl stereotype when asked, she says she has no fears. She fights He-Man and then herself only to discover that she doesn’t fear being ordinary, she fears being special… or something equally stupid thus negating the fear in the first place. This is like the “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” question in an interview where you basically take a positive and find some silly and predictable way to make it a strength. Don’t deny it, we’ve all done it. “I’m a bit of a workaholic”, “I never take a break”, “I’m too competitive.”

Episode 5: Teela and the rest of her group make it to Preternia where she gets to yell at Adam, who is apparently the only person who to choose his lesser form after receiving his award. It’s later revealed only very, very special go to Heaven to be themselves. Everyone else just becomes dirt or plant life. Adam eventually gets stabbed by Skeletor who was hanging out in Evil-Lyn’s staff all along. It’s really, very hokey and silly and the line delivery feels like it belongs back in the 80’s, which is a shame because the artwork is great, even if the storyline is crap. We end the series with Skeletor becoming some kind of SkeleGod.

Final Thoughts:

The show is all about girl-power, there’s no doubt about it and I can’t help but think season 2 will be much of the same. I don’t understand why other women are okay with this to be perfectly honest. My nephews deserve to have content that caters to them, not just to my nieces.

Why is it okay for women to be held up as violent and capable warriors, but men are considered toxic and barbaric for the same violence and capability? Why is it okay for little girls to look up to female gladiators, but little boys shouldn’t look up to the male counterparts? It’s disgusting if you really think about it.

Grade: C-