The He-Man franchise has been a prominent force among fans and collectors even to this day. Whether it's Masters of the Universe, New Adventures of He-Man, or even She-Ra: Princess of Power, generations have flocked towards the "power of Grayskull". As is the case with most iconic shows from the 1980's each of these series have been released on DVD. In She-Ra's case the second volume of the first season has finally hit store shelves.
She-Ra tells the story of a girl named Adora who actually turns out to be He-Man's twin sister. She lives in a place called Etheria and fights with a band of rebels against the evil and mighty Hordak. With the Sword of Protection Adora can turn into She-Ra at a moment's notice and become nigh-invincible. She's not quite the one woman army that you'd think she would be though since she's accompanied by a group of fellow freedom fighters.
For all intents and purposes She-Ra: Princess of Power was a glorified commercial from start to finish. Just about every episode would see the introduction of a new hero or villain that kids could go buy an action figure for at their local department store. It's nothing new; this was the 80's after all, so watching this show again is like stepping through time. It's a throwback to the glory days of television when kids would make their bleary-eyed way to the television with a bowl of Fruit Loops to see what Saturday morning had in store for them. Shoddy animation, goofy dialogue, and silly plots plagued shows like She-Ra. Now that we're all adults though, does it still entertain as well?
The first volume of season one offered some of the better episodes from the season with the five-part introduction of She-Ra tossed in for good measure. Episodes like "The Stone in the Sword", "King Miro's Journey", and "The Sea Hawk" really captured the She-Ra spirit and made for a good time. There were a few stinkers in the bunch but you can't really expect greatness in every episode. The second volume of the first season continues that trend of offering the good with the bad.
On the good side of things this volume offers up some of my favorite episodes from She-Ra. In particular "Horde Prime Takes a Holiday" was great fun. This episode has already appeared on the "Best of She-Ra" DVD but was omitted from the previous collection. In this episode Hordak's boss, Horde Prime, goes on vacation and leaves his underling in charge of his big space ship while he's away. Hordak uses the ship as an opportunity to rid himself of She-Ra and her rebellion once and for all. Things don't go quite as planned when Skeletor shows up wanting to use the ship for his own goal of conquering the universe. Sure the episode is downright goofy but watching Skeletor try to undermine Hordak was a blast from a He-Fan's standpoint.
"Into the Dark Dimension" a plot that is a little cliché is used to its fullest. The Rebels attack the Fright Zone and just when She-Ra confronts Hordak he springs a trap. Shadow Weaver and Catra strike and mistakenly send the two to a dark dimension. Once there She-Ra and Hordak are instructed that unless they work together they'll remain in this new dimension forever; which is something neither wants. It was amusing watching them team up even though this kind of storyline is a little overplayed.
The two-part "Anchors Aloft" story arc was a fun pair found in this collection as well. It featured the Sea Hawk fighting against Admiral Scurvy. What's not to love about a villain with an eye-patch wearing cat? And of course I simply HAVE to mention "Flowers for Hordak". This was another goofy episode and featured Hordak and company abducting Perfuma who turns out to be more of a pain than she's worth. For those of you that haven't seen her character yet she can basically grow flowers anywhere; even on Hordak.
All told this collection offers another batch of fun-loving and enjoyable She-Ra episodes. You really do have to be a fan of the show to fully appreciate the content but there is some room for newcomers to have a good time as well. I'd say that the second volume is on par with the first and goes down in the books as being a "must have" for collectors.
A Talent for Trouble
The Unicorn King
The Anxious Apprentice
Into the Dark Dimension
Treasure of the First Ones
The Mines of Mondor
Welcome Back, Kowl
The Rock People
Micah of Bright Moon
The Price of Power
Birds of a Feather
For Want of a Horse
Just Like Me
My Friend, My Enemy
The Light of the Crystal
Loo-Kee Lends a Hand
Of Shadows and Skulls
Horde Prime Takes a Holiday
Anchors Aloft Parts 1 & 2
Darksmoke and Fire
Flowers for Hordak
The Greatest Magic
BCI has been doing a marvelous job with the He-Man franchise as far as restoring the image is concerned. The "Best Of" and first volume of She-Ra both offered a significantly cleaned up picture. Sure there were still signs of dirt, degradation, and grain but you have to take into consideration just how old this program is. This second volume follows suit with an equally fine presentation that will satisfy those of you that have been stuck with VHS for quite a few years.
It should be no surprise that She-Ra is presented on DVD with Dolby Digital Stereo. The sound is pretty decent considering the age of the material though there are times where it sounds almost like a mono track instead of stereo. There were a couple of times where the sound became muffled and the volume pitched but again it probably had more to do with the original material rather than a byproduct for the DVD. This is a decent sounding release for what it is but it's nothing compared to the 5.1 surround that our home theaters have become accustomed to.
On the first disc in this collection there is an audio commentary for "Into the Dark Dimension" with Joe Michael Straczynski and host Andy Mengels. They discuss a variety of topics ranging from Straczynski's role on the show to the episode and even Loo-Kee's choice of clothing. It's a lightweight commentary but there is enough information and personality to make it amusing and entertaining.
The final disc in the collection offers the rest of the bonus material. In particular the second part of the "Stories of She-Ra" documentary is the meatiest of the features. Clocking in at just over 24 minutes "Stories" includes a boatload of commentary by many of the folks who worked on the show. As if we haven't had enough background on the show by now there is a ton of information and personal thoughts about the series. Apart from this feature the only stuff that you'll find on this collection are some image galleries, profiles, trailers, and an animated storyboard comparison for episode 45 "Huntara".
She-Ra was never as popular as He-Man; there's really no denying that. Even so, it was a fun show with an eclectic cast of characters that still entertains to this day. Sure you need to have an appreciation for cartoons from the 80's (He-Man's franchise in particular) in order to enjoy She-Ra but there's still plenty to love. This second volume from the first season offers another batch of episodes that range in quality but are good overall. BCI has gone out of their way to make She-Ra fans happy and you can have nothing but respect for them because of that.
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