The Internet loves a good dollop of outrage. If it’s not a largely unified front against some evil or idiocy, the spotlight gets turned on whoever is loudest and angriest about some innocuous issue (the selling of cross-free hot cross buns or an all-female movie reboot, for example). This typically makes the frothy-mouthed indignation of these people seem more widespread than it really is.

So back in July there was a lot of pointing and foot-stomping when the first images from Netflix’s upcoming She-Ra reboot were revealed, and fans of the original 80s cartoon reacted badly to the character redesigns. Hashtag Not My She-Ra. Fast-forward four months and it’s possible to confirm that, yup, the animated series is definitely not the She-Ra they remember. What it is, though, is a charming tale of courage, friendship and acceptance that invites in all viewers.

Conceptualised by Noelle Stevenson, the award-winning creator of comics Lumberjanes and Nimona, and produced by DreamWorks Animation Television, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is very much in the vein of Avatar: The Last Airbender (more so than Korra), with some Steven Universe and Sailor Moon thrown in for good measure. That said, while parallels with predecessor cartoons are strong – sparkly crystals are everywhere, magical girls are key to the story, and the title and abilities of She-Ra are now passed down for centuries – the show is clearly on its own mission.

That mission? To stress there’s a place for everyone.

The story of She-Ra 2018 sticks to the outline of the 1985 original: raised by the grim and militant Horde, heroine Adora discovers a magical sword that turns her into She-Ra, a powerful protector of Eternia, the planet on which she lives. With her new abilities, Adora has her eyes opened to the devastation caused by the Horde, and aligns herself with the Rebellion hiding in the Whispering Woods. She-Ra’s responsibility is to return balance to Eternia – lost with the Horde’s invasion – and unite the planet’s powerful, magically-gifted princesses to fight back. Adora’s closest allies in this mission are teleporting princess Glimmer and archer Bow. Left behind at the Horde base are Catra, Adora’s best-friend-turned-nemesis, and dark sorceress Shadow Weaver, the closest figure Adora has to a mother.

No matter how fondly children of the 80s (and I’m one of them) think of the old She-Ra: Princess of Power, it’s honestly a show to be left safely shrouded in the mists of nostalgia. If you’re curious, you can watch 60+ episodes of the He-Man spinoff on Netflix, but be warned it hasn’t aged well. While realistic-looking, the animation is continually recycled, and it’s as stiff as the characters themselves. Despite a solid concept, and a Star Wars-inspired setting that mixed sci-fi and fantasy, the old She-Ra was as plastic as the action figures it was flogging.

The new She-Ra, by contrast, is fleshed out, frequently comical and warm hearted. Adora and her friends, now 16 year olds, are far more real – struggling with insecurities, jealousies and frustrations. Much like Zuko in the Last Airbender, Catra is especially meaty as a character, teetering on the line between good and evil. Meanwhile, what little guidance Adora receives about her new role insists that she will be stronger alone; that love and friendship lead to self-absorption and are a dangerous distraction to the greater good.

Of course, the show resists this messaging. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (notice the subtle title change?) is itself a rebellion. Much like Wonder Woman, She-Ra is a female power fantasy that casts off the male gaze and masculine norms in general. In fact, the show goes further than Wonder Woman in terms of re-assessing what is coded as heroic, and allows its characters to be unashamedly bright, colourful and girlie. If they want.

In the old She-Ra, the sparkles, pastels, fairy folk and cuteness felt like a calculated attempt to lure in girl viewers. With the new show, those aspects appear as choices and celebrations of alternate ways of being. It supports what is most striking about She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: its diversity in every department.

Eternia is not a black and white world. It’s a rainbow universe, literally at one point, with characters most powerful when they work side-by-side without attempting to mute their uniqueness. While never making a big deal about it (this is the Diversification Agenda done right), She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is jam-packed with a variety of body types, races, sexual orientations and unexpected personalities. For example, Zarya-lookalike Scorpia is a burly delight and she’s a member of the Horde.

Meanwhile, although apex villain Hordak remains largely in the background of Season 1, She-Ra’s other significant male characters, Bow and Sea Hawk, are not conventionally male at all. They make major contributions to the efforts of the Rebellion but they’re in touch with their feelings, flamboyant, cheerful and optimistic. The Sokka-esque Bow is the antithesis of toxic masculinity.

For the record, in this universe of powerful women, none are reskinned Barbies running around in skimpy outfits and high heels, or are sexualised in the conventional sense. I say in a conventional sense because the handling of Adora and Catra’s relationship is pure Tumblr-minded entertainment. There’s no need to write fan fiction shipping the pair because the frenemy tension between the two is already dialled right up on screen. And FYI, the show does actually have an unveiled LGBT couple in it already, in the form of two minor supporting characters.

It’s also worth noting from a story perspective that while Eternia and Grayskull are mentioned, Season 1 of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power makes no mention of He-Man. Adora is a heroine in her own right, without having to sit in the shadow of a more powerful and famous male character.

Speaking of story, most of She-Ra Season 1 takes the form of loosely connected episodes that introduce fan-favourite characters from the original show like Madam Razz and Swift Wind in their reimagined form. From around Episode 8, though, the remaining 5 episodes form part of a single arc – which looks at times like it’s going to turn darker than it ever actually does. Perhaps it will in future seasons.

The only real gripes that can be made about the new She-Ra is that the plot strains credibility in a few areas – why do the adults just sit on their thrones, leaving the war to teenage commanders? – and an inconsistent, stripped-down animation style. Much like the original, the reboot avoids the depiction of Lord of the Rings-scale battles, keeping its scope limited to a dozen characters at a time, if that, because evidently that’s all the animators have capacity for.

She-Ra is also repeatedly described as an 8-foot-tall, muscled warrior woman, and yet that sense of scale is rarely conveyed post-transformation. Personally, while I loved the relooked Shadow Weaver design, I remain not entirely sold on She-Ra’s new look. This said, it certainly is rule-breaking, with the heroine appearing both feminine and masculine-coded at the same time.

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is immensely likeable, and everyone is sure to have their favourite norm-defying character. But more than being fun and entertaining, there’s the show’s overarching importance. While a conservative crackdown on all alternative ways of being is under way in real life, here’s a cartoon of all things that is queer, proud and waving its rainbow flag more vigorously than anything else. The Rebellion is animated.

Last Updated: December 5, 2018

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
As entertaining as it is important, Netflix's She-Ra reboot takes the animated series out of 80s and makes it relevant for today. It has some animation niggles but otherwise it's a masterclass in how to do all-ages-friendly cartoons that include everyone. Consider She-Ra this year's Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2 can't come soon enough.


  1. Marigold's Revenge!

    December 5, 2018 at 14:16

    “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power review: *For the diversity of Gayskull*”

    lol, now that’s trying too hard gay. How gay? 10 gay pride parades in a row gay!


    • #1 Sword Art Online Fan

      December 5, 2018 at 14:45

      Can’t believe she turned Grayskull into Gayskull. LAME AND GAY!


      • Gavin Mannion

        December 5, 2018 at 14:49

        lol it’s funny… why so mad?


        • #1 Sword Art Online Fan

          December 5, 2018 at 16:56

          It’s lazy oom and very tryhard.


          • Gavin Mannion

            December 5, 2018 at 20:00

            Oom?… ouch, that cuts deep

          • Allykhat

            December 5, 2018 at 20:10

            It’s official! Oom Gav, in da house!!

  2. #1 Sword Art Online Fan

    December 5, 2018 at 14:35

    Article is TL;DR and new Shera is too gay for me! I’ll pass.


  3. Original Heretic

    December 5, 2018 at 14:51

    This series was fun to watch.
    I really hope they do a He-Man remake.


    • JacoZAB

      December 5, 2018 at 14:54

      SJW’s will protest. To much white male masculinity. lol


    • Dutch Matrix

      December 5, 2018 at 15:09

      Deer God no. I am not sure if I can handle PC He-Man just yet. White boy beating up on blue, green and orange peoples?


      • Original Heretic

        December 5, 2018 at 15:13

        It can totally work. They just need to be clever about it. Tie it into She-Ra and all.
        It won’t be the same as the original series and that’s a good thing. I watched a few of those episodes again recently and damn, it’s so bad.
        If you have people looking to make a series with a good story and not trying to create or comment on an agenda, it can be so good


        • Dutch Matrix

          December 5, 2018 at 15:28

          “If you have people looking to make a series with a good story and not trying to create or comment on an agenda…”
          He-Man needs to an adventure show, with great action, funny moments and if I have my way, a lesson for the kiddies to be taught at the end.
          Oh, and a great line of toys to go with it.


          • Original Heretic

            December 5, 2018 at 15:28

            Agree 100%.

    • rachel grey

      May 25, 2019 at 20:24

      I hope they do too.


  4. Admiral Chief

    December 5, 2018 at 15:20



  5. Kromas

    December 5, 2018 at 15:56

    The show feels too in your face with it’s “message”. Then again this was not made for me so I won’t gripe to much and keep on watching the other great shows out there that did not need a gimmick.


    • rachel grey

      May 25, 2019 at 20:24

      I didnt think so. As an adult i watch the old cartoons..they were a lot more socially risque. And misogynist. I cant look at Bugs Bunny the same way.


  6. Captain JJ

    December 5, 2018 at 16:21

    A nice unpretentious change to freshen up an old series. I like it.


  7. The Fandangler

    December 5, 2018 at 17:35

    You should probably put a note on the score. 8.0 out of 10*

    * For people who are distraught that Tumblr closed down


  8. Paulo Perez

    December 6, 2018 at 00:46

    If it’s presented as a diversity show, It must present ALL society members, but where are the white hetero male in this cartoon? Bow and sokka are totally gays. Neddless to say that bow was white and cis in the original. I think It should be presented as a SJW/3wavefem/LGBT show. Because If you want a real diversity cartoon you should just stay with Steven universe. For me, this”agenda” is tiresome, so I’ll keep watching Goblin Slayer…


  9. Zamiko Azoti

    December 6, 2018 at 07:40

    It’s bad when something is too gay and that’s what He-ra is. It will NEVER be She-ra. Maybe it could’ve been but they messed up big time. All this praising it’s like pure gold is utter crap. The one and true She-ra forever!


  10. Alphonse

    December 6, 2018 at 09:08

    I like how they want to be progressive and change everyone’s race but it’s still important to have a white lead. Really fake progressivism.


  11. killiakun

    December 6, 2018 at 11:34

    To compare this pile of bad animation/social justice pushing stink to a classic like Avatar? you obviously did not watch that show at all, nor adore it as much as you say you do. This show is so full of try hard moralistic self idealized opinions its not even a show, its a sermon. We don’t need shows like this. Avatar was nothing like this. Avatar left the point of the show up to the viewers. It set characters in their own development, and you were wondering how it would unfold. It had no agenda other then to be magnificent. This shows character development is so plain even a zygote could see it. This show has a fucking agenda to push and its hardcore obvious of what it is.


  12. Sageville

    December 6, 2018 at 11:50

    I’ll ask my kids what they think of this series.


  13. killiakun

    December 6, 2018 at 11:54

    LMAO Y’ALL DELETED MY COMMENT> salty mods cant handle real criticism.


    • The D

      December 6, 2018 at 12:01

      Nothing has been deleted? I’m looking through our Disqus tools now, and your last comment from 26 minutes ago is still there.


  14. Chris Redfield

    December 6, 2018 at 17:10

    The show turned out to be much better than I thought, but I still strongly dislike this overly simplified art style. I prefer realistic looking style.


  15. Christina Whittemore

    December 7, 2018 at 07:58

    As someone who grew up watching the original She-Ra, every episode had a lesson or moral taught and was explained at the end of each episode. It was the same way with He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. The way she looked made her beautiful and powerful and something that all little girls wanted to be. It had nothing to do about making her a sex object. And btw…she was raised in Etheria, not Eternia. Eternia is where she was born and kidnapped from as a baby. He-Man aka Prince Adam lived in Eternia. And she didn’t find the sword, He-Man found Adora and gave it to her and was captured by the Horde in the process. You may want to watch The Secret of the Sword. If you’re going to tell her story, at least get that correct. The original show was about her overcoming the negative influences the Horde taught her and becoming a positive and strong woman for others in need of help. The animation was hand drawn during that time and was very vibrant in colors allowing kids to use their imagination. It was fun and vibrant. You can find the negative in anything in order to be politically correct and reframe such a great cartoon from the 80’s to make it seem horrible so the remake comes across as perfect for all the PC loving people, but the original wins out hands down. Not everything needs to be remade in order to fit today’s agenda. For the love of God, come up with something new and leave the old and classic cartoons and TV shows alone.


    • Admiral Chief

      December 7, 2018 at 08:05

      Epic comment, well done. Also, 100% agree


    • Vhailor

      December 26, 2018 at 11:43

      Totally agree! And the way they made She-ra’s source of power lost technology instead of magic has really pissed me off.


    • rachel grey

      May 25, 2019 at 20:24

      I had all the toys, the castle etc. I dis not want a reboot. But then i realized i was practicing the exact opposite of what i preach. I gave it a go. I love the new series. I am glad i gave it a chance. And i love the messages. And yes if they start selling toys…i am SO buying!!


  16. rachel grey

    May 25, 2019 at 20:14

    Etheria….not Eternia.


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