TLDR: The new She-Ra reboot is WELL worth your time, and your emotions.
Below: An ultra quick, spoiler-filled commentary of episodes 1 through 9 of the new She-Ra. Season One runs 13 episodes.
P.S. I really wish I had the time to delve into the rich detail and characters of the reboot. There is so much left to share.
With nearly six episodes of Netflix’s new She-Ra under my belt, I am impressed, and a renewed fan. I’m currently six minutes into episode six as I write this.
This post may come across as disjointed and rushed, as it’s merely my own captured, quick assessment and observation of the new series. And I have pressing attention with other projects that have some tight deadlines, so bare with me.
I admit, the first sneak peeks and stills of the new series were extremely underwhelming. But I still held out hope it would be something along the lines of the new Voltron reboot, and I have not been disappointed.
As a fan of the original She-Ra, there were MANY things I disliked. The ultra cheesy and shallow dialog. The cringe-worthy one liners. Many of the shrill, high pitched voices that nearly made my ears bleed. I was torn over the original art. While I loved truer (realistically drawn) body-types and that they actually looked like people, I knew it was stiff and lots of repeated shots. (The term I didn’t know back then was recycled animation.) And to top that, all the body types were the same, which assisted in their card board cut-out natures.
The new animation provides an even more realistic representation of people, who come in all different shapes and sizes. The new animation is more fluid in movement and permits a more easy and welcoming viewing. And if you’re still upset over the animation, for me, it becomes invisible when you get wrapped up in the story and emotions, and you’re enjoying the art style on it’s own merit.
There’s also been some lovely Easter eggs that offered up a chuckle. Such as when Adora and crew hired Sea Hawk, and Sea Hawk channeled Han Solo who bragged about his timing and mastery of the Kessel run.
The new series has more heart and emotion and character depth in one episode than all episodes of the original series combined. My biggest beef with the original series, is how shallow it always was, and just skimming the surface of a problem. There was never any depth to it, or the characters.
This new series has a supporting cast that are fully fleshed out. Such as Madam Razz (I LOVE the new incarnation of Broom. That’s what he is. Just a broom.) Entrapta’s kitchen staff and unique and likable. Kowl and Lookee have tiny nods, but are happily excluded from the series.
Sure, a bit of the cannon has been tweaked, but I think for the better! Much better! Although it did take me an episode or two to get used to She-Ra’s identity not being secret.
Another thing that I think makes it great is that Adora, Bo, and Glimmer, are *truly* friends, and it’s shown through actions, conflict, and dialog, not merely told to us, as in the original.
By episode six, I was coming up with theories of my own about She-Ra’s form. At first I was thinking more Amazon because of her height and the way she’s built.
But then, I’m thinking possibly golem-like. Hear me out. It’s a crazy theory, and I only just started paying attention but She-Ra’s expressions sometimes seem off to me. And her face doesn’t seem as detailed as the other characters. It just seemed a little more cemented when Entrapta referred to an unconscious Adora as “it” when the She-Ra form disappears.
Entrapta also says something along the lines of “having to take her apart to be sure” during the tech virus episode. With Glimmer angrily responding that Adora’s a person, not a robot.
In episode seven, we get massive amounts of rich backstory about Castaspella, Micha, Shadow Weaver, and Angella in like two minutes (or less) that fans will instantly put together. As well as two awesome/subtle foreshadowings about Glimmer.
This is the episode where I realize that Adora is the star of this series. She-Ra is only her secondary persona, and I like that. A lot.
By Princess Prom, episode eight, I’m getting the sense that this culture/social hierarchy is female-centered. In the musical vignette as they prepare for the prom once again shows us what is making this series fun and meaningful. The pairings (and the one jealousy) are just so natural. That’s aided by wonderful characterizations and their personal feelings. I’m loving Catra in a tux!
This episode leaves us off as the struggle between the Rebellion and the Horde is deeper than just an empire trying to take over a planet. It’s personal on many levels for a lot of the characters.
Episode Nine: No Princess Left Behind
As established earlier, Sea Hawk and Mermista are kind of a one-sided item. It works and makes sense. That fact that Adora doesn’t have a love interest makes her a better character. At least to me. Adora’s not defined by the need to be attached. That said however, Adora’s relationship with Catra has the possibility of being something more, at least in Catra’s view.
Then again, there could be a dear friendship in creation between Catra and Scorpia.
Glimmer proves she’s powerful when she rescues Adora. And after that, for the ending of episode nine, I think I’ll keep that under wraps. You’ll just have to see for yourselves.
There are so many more tiny things in this series that just make you bust up laughing if you can catch them. Like at 14:23 in the episode System Failure where a loopy Adora is about to touch an electric current and Glimmer rolls her eyes and stops her. It’s micro key moments like that that bind the characters and strengthen them.
The princesses are also all fleshed out, with their own agendas and actually have vibrant and unique personalities.
Original Adora: Probably the only character that had the most depth. It was shown through the animation how she found out the Horde was evil, and it worked well. What would have worked better was to have the flat characters being hurt by the Horde feel real instead of being used as a prop.
New Adora: Goes about it in a similar way, but her inner struggle is more pronounced. And throw-away or side characters are all meaningful in that you sense they are “real.”
Winner: New Adora
Original Bow: Shallow character not fleshed out, and not very likable. Not much personality outside of interacting with Kowl.
New Bow: I admit, I thought he was seriously lacking brain matter the second he bellowed his first lines. Yet his actions soon became clear why he was being so brazen, and why Glimmer was shushing him.
Bow and Glimmer are great friends. So much so that he’s even comfortable tidying up Glimmer’s messy room. And his lament that he’s not a princess brought on a chuckle.
Winner: New Bow
Original Glimmer: Leader of the rebellion, because, before Adora and She-Ra came along, this young woman was trying to hold it all together despite zero experience needed to lead. She was also the only one “qualified” at the time.
It always frustrated me why original Glimmer never used her powers more. Heck, she teleported only once that I can remember, and that was early in the series. And that was from the throne room to the gates of Bright Moon so the guards could let Madame Razz and Adora inside during a Horde attack. Original Glimmer came across as heavily pampered and kept away from the horrors of any type of defense or combat.
New Glimmer: Motivated because her home being threatened by the Horde. She appears to be younger than the original Glimmer, but has more drive.
Winner: New Glimmer
Original Angella: While we did see *some* mother daughter interaction, it always felt quick and brushed under the rug. Focusing more on action or moving the plot, or in the last minute of the story. Angella was always squirreled away as a background character or supporting cast to further the plot. They tried to showcase family in a few episodes like rescuing King Micah, but it always fell flat and rushed.
New Angella: A true mother, and a true Queen. In just the episodes I’ve seen (and half of episode 10, there have been numerous, touching moments between mother and daughter. In both as a parent and child, AND as queen and subject/heir.
Winner: New Angella
New Scorpia hands down. In the original series, I hated the character with a passion. From her gritty unpleasing visuals, to her thuggish voice. New Scorpia had depth from her first few seconds on screen, and it continued with each scene she was in. And she’s LIKABLE!
Entrapta: I don’t remember much of her original character, but the new incarnation slightly reminds me of Fox’s Peter Pan and the Pirate’s Tinkerbell. It’s the tone of the voice, and way of speaking. It’s the only weird and grating voice on the series so far, in my opinion.
Adora’s relationship with Catra is a little heartbreaking and I’m looking forward to it developing further. The same for Catra’s personal and professional struggles with Shadow Weaver.
Most important of all, is that they’ve given each and every character, from Adora, all the way down to piddling walk on roles, their own depth and personality in the few seconds they’re onscreen. That is an incredible feat.
Catra’s cadet minions have wonderful heart. Mermista’s kind of deadpan, bored sarcasm is charming.
As for the other character revisions, I’m loving them more than the originals. So far out of the nine episodes I watched, the only things I didn’t like were She-Ra’s transformation. It was too long and just a cheap copy of Sailor Moon’s, which I wasn’t fond of to begin with.
Again, I wish I had the time to really dig in-depth to all the wonderful and refreshing changes, but check it out for yourself.
If you already have, what is your take on the reboot? Are you enjoying it? Do you still prefer the original? Let us know in the comments below!