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The Masters of the Universe Conundrum

10 min read

When it comes to Masters of the Universe, many of us have very fond memories of watching the cartoon…erm…animated series by Filmation that was based on Mattel’s toy line. And man…the toys were muy caliente.

I still remember my dad taking me to Reggies to buy my first action figure, Battle Armour He-Man, that had this rotating thingy on his chest that indicated damage taken by the armour, for the princely sum of R15.00. After that I got Battle Armour Skeletor and slowly but surely, every month, I would add another action figure to my collection. I had loads of them, well, of the limited range that were available in South Africa at the time due to sanctions. I had He-man, Skeletor, Hordak, Mer-man, Fisto, Mantenna, Teela, Evil-Lyn, Syklone, Prince Adam, Two Bad, Horde Trooper, the Original He-man and Skeletor (which were very hard to come by) and Moldulok, to name a few. Here is a complete list of the action figures that were available. I even got a Battle Cat for my birthday one year and a Castle Grayskull for Christmas. But it took me forever to scrounge up the dosh to buy each action figure I could get my grubby little paws on.

I remember that Man at Arms was like the Holy Grail, because his action figure was such a rare find.

Sadly, with time as I grew older, they got lost somewhere. It’s a shame, because they would be very valuable now.

I never missed and episode of TV series, and remember the disappointment when each episode was finished. We weren’t fancy enough, those years, for a VCR. LOL.

I watched an episode or two on Youtube the other day, and sheesh….it didn’t age well. For a young boy in primary school, it was the best thing since sliced bread. But, it is and always will be a classic for any kid growing up in the 80’s.

Naturally, my interest was piqued when Masters of the Universe: Revelation was announced. I don’t watch animated series, like, at all, but I was keen to see what they were going to do with it.

A while after the Netflix and Kevin Smith announcement, all hell seemingly broke loose, with fans and followers of the Masters of the Universe lore out for blood and explanations, as apparently there were comic books, a 2000 TV series (heh, what?) and all manner of Masters of the Universe stuff, I never heard about, that were trampled upon. As a kid I never thought about the lore behind the series, and the only comic books I read were the awesome little ones you got with every action figure, which in my opinion was a brilliant marketing strategy by Mattel. We used to trade those little comic books between friends if you had duplicates.

Anyway, Kevin Smith is still getting lambasted on Twitter for telling “lies” as a marketing ploy, to get fans and nostalgic 40 somethings like myself to buy into his version of Masters of the Universe. The series, even after getting a 94% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, is also being review bombed with a 25% positive fan reaction. I never understood why people do that. If you don’t like something, then just don’t watch it. Geez.

I didn’t follow the whole thing very closely, but read that fans were angry about the lack of screen time He-Man and Skeletor gets, and is calling it the Teela show. Also that the show went “woke” with the female characters being full of muscles, Teela having a “lesbian” side shave, and the killing off of a beloved character. There was also major backlash about the King Grayskull race swap, with him now being Black. Pitch forks were whipped out and the charge was, mainly led by Clownfish TV, from what I could gather. I could of course be wrong with some of it, as there is so much chaos about this at the moment, and everyone is, as they always do, jumping on the wagon, ready to pillage Kevin Smith’s village.

I found myself also being disappointed. But then I realized a few things.

Everything has two sides. Let’s look at the perspectives.

The Fans

The fans of the series expected to see more of what they loved. And we all know how upset fans get, when you mess with the lore of, well, anything. We see it a lot in video games and movies as well. They are used to a formula, and when you mess with that, well, they will get pissed off. Kill a beloved character off, and you will take the brunt of their wrath.

What also didn’t help is Kevin Smith’s vehement denials that He-man and Skeletor are basically playing second fiddle to Teela and her journey. Something which at least in the first season seems to be how it actually plays out. For now, at least. As well as his claims to being a hard core fan, when he actually got the dates of when he watched it in the 80’s wrong, and him reportedly saying in his series Comic Book Men, that he was, in fact, not a fan of He-Man. With that he called it a sequel, which will carry on where the old series left off. So fans were probably expecting more of the same.

Sarah Michelle Gellar, who voices Teela in the series, also didn’t help matters by saying that she wasn’t a fan of the 80’s show as female characters were an afterthought. Not that she had to be a fan, mind you, but that’s not how you win over rabid fans of the old series.

The flip side of the coin, mainly from Kasie’s limited common sense

The original series was episodic in nature with a little life lesson at the end and was mainly made to bolster sales of the toys for Mattel. Skeletor looks for kak, He-Man rolls in, a barney ensues, He-Man kicks his blue butt even more blue and the day is saved.

Revelation, is all about a continuing story, running through an entire season. It caters for adults as well as children, and characters actually die, instead of just being bashed around a bit like in the old series. With all the weaponry each character has, it would make sense that there will be deaths involved. Duh.

The story has to grow and characters evolve, or so I hope.

Also, we have to look at inclusivity. The old series was more for boys. My sister, didn’t give two shakes about He-man. She was more into Barbie, and I remember, with glee, how my He-Man used to capture her Barbie, until a ransom in sweets was paid, or my Battle Cat would hunt her Barbie’s horsie when he was hungry. Yes, yes…little psychotic Kaas, I know.

With series and movies these days, for it to be successful, you have to appeal to the whole spectrum of humanity. It’s just a fact, and I’m all for it. As long as you do it properly and genuinely, without destroying a series or movie’s integrity and also not just to pander to a certain demographic. Everyone wants to be able to relate to certain characters and feel included. The show is for everyone, no matter what gender, personal persuasion or outlook in life, isn’t it?

That being said, Teela was by no means a secondary character in the 80’s series. So they did try. Maybe not hard enough according to some folks, well it was the 80’s (I mean just look the hair styles and clothes), but she was one of the central figures.

Also, the fact that it’s titled Masters of the Universe: Revelation and not He-man and the Masters of the Universe: Revelation, should have alluded fans to the premise of the series. There are many characters to play around with. Just like The Avengers. They are, after all, all of them Masters of the Universe.

My conclusion

I think, no matter what they did with the series, there will be those that are disappointed. People will always find something to complain about. That is a fact.

And we all know, through all whining, that they will still watch it anyway.

I’m happy with the fact that the series isn’t just more of the same, but more of a build-up of things to come. I think disgruntled fans are too hasty in their judgement, and should give the show some time to play out, before rushing to conclusions. I mean, only five episodes are available so far. See where the story leads.

Also, give everyone their little place in the sun where the characters are concerned. They are obviously trying something new and it might or might not work. Only time will tell. Teela is and always was a strong character in Masters of the Universe. Let her show us what her journey brings.

He-Man and Skeletor will have their chance, going forward. There is no way you just get rid or completely side line them. That would make the show fail, and I think the creators of the new series know that. They play too big a role in the saga of Eternia.

I also think that Kevin Smith didn’t handle the whole thing too well, and should have remained…well…silent, instead of calling people out on Twitter.

Maybe he lied, maybe he just didn’t communicate what is happening very well. Maybe he just doesn’t want to spoil what is still to come. Maybe he is just a very confused individual. Who knows?

Maybe it’s is all a load of bollocks and he is pandering. We will never know until we see more of what is to come.

Maybe we should look through fresh eyes at the series and just enjoy it for what it is. I mean , why not?

So watch the series for what it is, keep an open mind and let it play out. Maybe everyone walks away happy later on.

I’m looking at doing a review, if someone else doesn’t beat me to it, of the available episodes. But first I have to finish watching it.

Okay, bye now. I’m off to Eternia to check out muscled chicks and fluffy speedo’s.

Last Updated: July 26, 2021

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