He-Man Revelation is the second animated series of the Masters of the Universe franchise to be re-released in recent years with She-Ra and the Princesses of Power premiering on Netflix in 2018; Both series are in my opinion exceptional though not without their issues, taking distinct approaches to their respective series and yet managing to handle them in a way that does justice and helps expands on their characters and their world.
No longer being chained to the restrictions imposed upon them by moral watchdogs and allowed a much bigger budget, the production team is able to overcome the technical and artistic problems, that the original series had, such as the fact that most of the animation for each episode needed to be recycled and thus the show suffered from being unable to be explored to its full potential, which makes it all the more impressive that they were able to put out the quality they did being hindered by having to develop stories around stock animation.
Smith's approach to He-man is to maintain the lore and characters as faithful to the originals as possible while treating them in a more adult manner.
The series feels like it continues from where the 1980’s left off, you can tell the characters have developed and grown a little more; we even see flashbacks to adventures they never had in the show, and we can only assume they happened between the last time we saw them and the present time. But in essence, the characters are the same, it is still the Adam that likes to make banana bread, and they even acknowledged that He-man engaged in quirky dialogue now and then, denoting it as his style of lighthearted humor.
The other characters fall in the same line with the core of their personalities intact but rougher around the edges more realistic in their approach abandoning the parameters forced on them by the moral majority groups. Orko is still inept at magic but he's no clown, he is insecure but willing to risk everything for his friends and there is a sadness about him reminiscing of past adventures and we see the weight that he carries. Cringer is still cowardly, but he is also the voice of reason, he understands the psychology of fear and helps others when they are afraid. Man-at-Arms is…… badass, he's aptly named one of the most dangerous men in Eternia but still retains the core of his character with his dexterity with mechanics but with an attitude that is hardened by years of battles.
And then there is Teela around whom the show centers. This is Teelas's story and her journey through the events that befall Eternia after the death of He-man, as she is forced upon a quest to recover the sword of power.
Teela gets a strong development here and it is her connection to the past, her loss of identity, and her struggles with it that drive the narrative. The secrets kept from her leave her questioning everything she ever fought for as well as those she believed she knew, you can understand that the pain stems from feeling that those closest to her did not trust her despite years of battle, years of proving her worth and that, time and again, she could be trusted and yet on the very night the king gave her the honor of being the Captain of the guards, she found the out that even her closest friend, would not trust her; but this feels natural, she's not a different Teela from that of the original show, more mature certainly and a more apt and self-reliant than she was portrayed in the original show.
Of the various faults I can acknowledge is that the series was too short. Avatar the Last Airbender is a staple of a good story in that it took its time and thus allowed for strong character development, taking the time to give the spotlight and explore each of the characters in depth.
With only 5 episodes we don’t get the depth each character deserves, especially the newcomer Andra of whom we know very little and yet is one of the most interesting characters as she is an underdog going into adventures, she only heard about in tales to fight alongside heroes that are living legends.
She does end up demonstrating her worth, proving herself as an adventurer on par with the legends she admires, but it is lacking because we don’t know much about her.
Overall this is an impressive production, respecting and enhancing upon the original, they say it is the closing chapter of the original series, but that is unlikely, if this first part has done anything is open up a new Masters of the Universe, with characters we would like to see explored further even in their own adventures and opened the future to the Masters that could come and those that were, so I'm certain or at least hoping this end, is just the beginning.