She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (2018– )
Series Info

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is an American animated web television series developed by Noelle Stevenson and produced by DreamWorks Animation Television. It premiered on November 13, 2018 on Netflix.

Like the 1985 Filmation series She-Ra: Princess of Power of which it is a reboot, the series tells the tale of the teenager Adora's rebellion against the evil Hordak and his Horde, in the guise of the heroine She-Ra and leading a group of other magical princesses. The series was well-received by critics, who praised it for its diverse cast and the portrayal of She-Ra's rivalry with her former best friend Catra.

Premise

The series follows Adora, an orphan raised by Hordak, the tyrant who rules the planet Etheria through his evil Horde. One day, after getting lost in the woods, Adora finds a magic sword that transforms her into the Princess of Power, She-Ra. Realizing the suffering that the Horde has inflicted on the planet and its people, Adora joins the resistance against it and rebuilds the Princess Alliance, a group of other magical girls opposing Hordak. This pits her against her former comrade Catra.

Production

Development

Development and production of the series began concurrently in April of 2016. Showrunner Noelle Stevenson initially pitched it to Netflix on the assumption of creating only one season, but in November 2018 she said that "we now have four arcs of 13 episodes done". She-Ra is created using traditional animation, with the exception of some computer animation for "complicated machinery".

Themes:

The first season of the (unlike the original) serialized She-Ra reboot focuses on establishing the characters and their relationships in order to set up future seasons, initially by way of introducing "princesses of the week" to the core cast of Adora and her close friends Glimmer and Bow. While the core premise and characters of the original series were carried over, as well as many of its affectations (such as Adora's transformation catchphrase "For the honor of Grayskull!") the reboot sets itself apart from the 1980s series by its almost entirely female cast of deliberate diversity, both as regards appearance as well as character traits, which range from good to "evil but understandable", "utterly amoral" or "full-blown hippie". He-Man, in the original version She-Ra's brother who "awakens her destiny", does not appear in the reboot's first season, so as to set up She-Ra as a heroine in her own right.

According to Stevenson, the series's thematic core are the relationships among its teenaged characters, which range from "wide-eyed love" to "heart-rending jealousy, crushes and infatuations". Reviewers particularly highlighted the convincing portrayal of the anti-hero Catra and her complicated "frenemy" relationship with Adora, which The Verge described as "the best animated antihero story since [Avatar: The Last Airbender's] Zuko". The series also addresses such themes as prejudice, isolationism (as exemplified, initially, by the princesses), colonization and genocide (a result of Hordak's planetary-scale warfare)

Designs:

Visually, the rebooted She-Ra series takes inspiration from anime and the works of Hayao Miyazaki and Moebius. Whereas the original series' heroines were all of the exact same size and shape to facilitate animation and toy production, and were all white (with the late exception of Netossa), the new series' characters are intentionally diverse in shape and ethnicity.

Character Designs:

After first images of She-Ra's design were released in July 2018, controversy ensued on social media. Some Internet users (men, according to some sources, but also women according to others) contended that she wasn't as sexy, voluptuous or glamorous as in the original series, or that she looked like a boy. Other users responded that the new series tried to avoid sexualizing a children's show, and conveyed body positivity.

J. Michael Straczynski, the co-creator of the original series, commented that his She-Ra was written as "a warrior, first and foremost", and that "anyone who is looking back at [her] as the 'ideal woman' is doing so through the lens of prepubescent (...) interest and kind of, understandably, imprinted on her like baby ducks. I get it. But that wasn’t the creative *intent*." Fan artists responded to She-Ra's redesign and the controversy over it with a wave of artworks celebrating the heroine's new look. The Verge reported that most of these artists were young women who were inspired by the new design's detractors to improve the new character's profile and her reputation.

Music:

The series' title song is "Warriors" by Aaliyah Rose. The Washington Post highlighted it as one of the "theme song/opening credits so good it must not be skipped, right up there with Daredevil, The Crown and Narcos".

The soundtrack was composed by Sunna Wehrmeijer. She aimed at creating a "contemporary ’80s synth-sound combined with orchestral adventure", based on the creators' desire to feature "big and epic" but also "sparkly" music.

Promotion:

A first teaser trailer released in September 2018 showcased Adora's transformation into She-Ra Longer trailers were released in October and November 2018.

As a novelty for a television series, the series' website is available in a virtual reality format, and is set up to present the user with a virtual crystal palace.

Reception:

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power's first season was well received by critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes counted 100% positive reviews out of 15, concluding that the series "packs a powerful visual punch that hits even harder thanks to layered writing and multidimensional characters – the perfect show for seasoned fans and little ones alike."

Entertainment Weekly's review described the series as "a funny-wonderful pop fantasy animated like disco fireworks, fun for kids of all genders and any parents looking for something happy to cry about". It appreciated its self-aware humor and "hiply transgressive newness". EW also noted, however, some repetition, occasionally flat animation and the final showdown's previsible outcome. The reviewer found some of the tension in contemporary American politics reflected in the series' portrayal of the rebuilding of a "coalition of powerful liberal-minded thinkers left in disarray after a brutal defeat years ago by a monstrously all-consuming bad dude". Collider called the series "visually exciting, emotionally charged, and unexpectedly hilarious", and "one of the best new shows of the year". IGN praises the series for successfully rebooting the franchise but concludes that "Adora could have used more time with the Horde to help develop her character".

Hypable praised the series' diversity and the multifaceted relationships among some of its core characters, but found much of the first season's plot "simplistic", and the rotating cast of princesses given short shrift. The Washington Post highlighted the "top-notch" voice cast and particularly the work of Lorraine Toussaint as the sorceress Shadow Weaver. The Verge commented that the series' biggest problem was that it was "retreading territory that Steven Universe and the two Avatar animated series did better", with several characters and plot points heavily reminiscent of elements from these earlier animated series, and also criticized the early episodes' shallow plot.

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is an American animated web television series developed by Noelle Stevenson and produced by DreamWorks Animation Television. It premiered on November 13, 2018 on Netflix.

Like the 1985 Filmation series She-Ra: Princess of Power of which it is a reboot, the series tells the tale of the teenager Adora's rebellion against the evil Hordak and his Horde, in the guise of the heroine She-Ra and leading a group of other magical princesses. The series was well-received by critics, who praised it for its diverse cast and the portrayal of She-Ra's rivalry with her former best friend Catra.

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