“She-Ra and the Princesses of Power” is the Show We Need

If you’ve been on YouTube long enough, you’ve likely stumbled upon the He-Man “What’s Going On” video (which I’m pretty sure is the actual center of the Internet, but that’s a conversation for another day). The source material, “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe,” is a somewhat dated but overall fun romp that brings quirky characters and odd magic to life.

Those familiar with the larger universe of He-Man may also know She-Ra, a female hero who forged her own identity beyond being “female twin of He-Man.” Luckily, in 2018’s era of female empowerment, She-Ra has not been forgotten. Her character and universe have been revamped in a new DreamWorks series, “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.”

Who is She-Ra?

The protagonist of “She-Ra” is actually not quite She-Ra herself; Adora, a defector of the Evil Horde, takes on the mantle of the ancient princess of power by wielding the Sword of Protection. In 2018 Adora’s world, She-Ra was a hero from the time of the First Ones, an ancient civilization that left behind encoded technology and strange monoliths.

After leaving behind the Horde, and along with it her entire childhood, Adora joins the Princess of Bright Moon, Glimmer, and an archer named Bow. Together, the trio attempt to recruit other princesses from around the world of Etheria in a rebellion against the Horde and its leader, Lord Hordak.

The biggest wrench thrown in to their plans is Catra, Adora’s former best friend and a loyal Horde member. Catra’s resentment towards Adora for playing the hero and leaving her behind results in a bitter rivalry that brings them together and apart in almost every episode.

What makes the show so great?

Part of the show’s success comes from the depth of its characters. While the plot is nothing new (especially because it’s based heavily on the original 1980s “She-Ra” series), the characters are given much more dimension. Adora, for example, is a bumbling girl and skilled fighter rolled into one headstrong character. Catra is a broken soul who wants to be loved, and cracks after losing the only friend she ever truly cared about. Glimmer is almost a parallel to Catra, fearing what will happen if her long-time friend Bow begins forging friendships with other rebellion princesses.

The characters are fun, colorful and exciting. If you’ve ever seen “Steven Universe” or “Star vs the Forces of Evil,” you’ve likely had experience with technicolor characters that tug at heartstrings and bring tears of laughter to eyes.

Beyond all else, the show is a parallel to our own social climate. In the wake of protest culture, “She-Ra” reminds us (not so subtly) that standing by without taking action will only hurt us in the end. Adora tells as much to members of the peaceful princess Perfuma’s kingdom, telling them that if someone hits them, they’re more than welcome to hit back.

Similarly, the show reiterates that there is strength in numbers. After a particularly hard loss midway through the season, the rebellion falls apart. The older characters, who lived through the failed first rebellion from many years ago, remind the protagonists to keep fighting through all of the hardship.

Maybe it’s not the show we deserve, but “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power” is the show we need.

“She-Ra and the Princesses of Power” is available on Netflix, and at 13 episodes less than half an hour each, it’s binge-able within a day.