Reviving a franchise steeped in childhood nostalgia, such as the 1980s cartoon series “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe,” requires a delicate balance between taking the fans’ love of the characters and setting seriously while not being so rooted in the past that the new product feels like a rehash.
Showrunner Kevin Smith and his crew walk that line well with “Masters of the Universe: Revelations,” a five-episode animated series streaming on Netflix, taking the best of the original characters’ spirit, while leaving out the irritating and repeated scenes of people laughing with their hands on their hips and canned morality lessons at the end of the story.
This more violent, better animated version of He-Man is clearly targeted at the adults who watch the original series and played with the toys it supported, though younger fans could hook on if they are able to hold attention on a video that lasts a whole 25 minutes.
The voice cast is even somewhat of a nostalgia trip with “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” herself, Sarah Michelle Gellar, voicing female lead Teela, and veteran voice actor and the man who embodied Luke Skywalker, Mark Hamill, playing the evil Skeletor.
The new stuff is the good stuff with “Revelations” asking questions the audience never thought to answer —such as how would it feel for Teela to find out her mother, father, the court jester, and a talking tiger knew He-Man’s true identity — while also sending the characters on a quest that honors the lore of both comics and the original series.
Daniel P. Finney writes columns for ParagraphStacker.com, a free, reader-supported website. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I continue writing while I pursue my master’s degree and teacher certification.
Post: 1217 24th St., Apt. 36, Des Moines, 50311.