She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Series Premiere
Written by Noelle Stevenson
Starring Aimee Carrero, Karen Fukuhara, AJ Michalka, Marcus Scribner
Produced by DreamWorks Animation Television, Mattel Creations
‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10
She Ra and the Princesses of Power is not your average good versus evil tale. The series, using simple enough terms for a young audience to grasp, shows the grey area that goes into labeling someone the good or bad person. Adora is a complicated hero that sets her sights on learning more about the vast, deep lore of She-Ra. This makes for an easy hook for viewers of all ages to crave more.
The show opens up with Adora as a trained Horde soldier working hard to become a high ranking officer for the group. Adora has been with the Horde since she was a baby, and doesn’t know life outside of the organization. Her journey with Bow and Glimmer helps open her eyes to why the rest of the world calls her family the “evil” Horde. This gradual realization is one of the strongest elements of the premiere. It helps Adora become a layered character in the span of two 22-minute episodes.
Adora’s struggle between sorting out what’s good and evil is beautifully portrayed through her relationship with Catra. Catra is her best friend, but they find themselves on different sides of the war. Adora never knew how terrible the Horde was until she saw her fellow soldiers attacking innocent civilians. Catra, on the other hand, always knew their leader, Shadow Weaver, was a horrible person. She believes if she climbs high enough in the ranks she can create the Horde to meet her vision of good. Catra is a villain you can almost root for, which makes her such an intriguing antagonist. I hope this battle between Catra and Adora’s conflicting views on good and evil continues to grow.
The dynamic among Adora, Bow, and Glimmer bring a lot of levity to the show. When Adora first meets Bow and Glimmer she, ironically, thinks princesses are monsters. She knows nothing of their world. It becomes very obvious that the Horde had sheltered Adora so she wouldn’t question their mission. Once Adora sees the other side, she becomes a kid in a candy shop. It’s humorous, but also a bit heartbreaking that Adora had missed these simple pleasures in life.
The animation is very different from the original 80’s She-Ra cartoon, but a necessary advancement to modernize the cartoon for a new audience. I like all the character designs, but especially the look for Adora/She-Ra. Adora’s soldier garb physically embodies what she had to go through in her difficult past. In contrast, the brightness of her She-Ra transformation, shows a new hope. I love the Sailor Moon influence to this sequence. It brings a magical girl, anime vibe to the show.
The series premiere of She Ra and the Princesses of Power establishes some interesting building blocks for the franchise. It has a great balance between comedy, action, and character work that will allow kids and adults alike to find something special with this series.
She-Ra & The Princesses of Power debuts November 13 on Netflix.