I post tonight’s offering for two reasons. One is part of Thursday’s rant about how the FCC killed Saturday morning and afternoon syndicated cartoons. The other is to show any parent group who happens to float by what good cartoons can do. The kind they want to ban because they make kids obese psychopaths. (Funny, it seems the more they try to sanitize shows like this, the more you hear about kids being fat and violent.) The other I’ll get to in a moment.
When Mattel saw that girls liked the Masters of the Universe (the females were portrayed rather well in both the cartoon and the mini-comics–really, the only reason He-Man had to save Teela was because he was the hero of the show, not because she couldn’t kick butt), they decided to make a girls-target spin-off. The result was Princess of Power
And if have an issue with that being “too girly”, try the mini-comics that came with the figures. Seriously, either they didn’t get it, or they were trying to attract the “girly-girls” along with the “tomboys” or whatever goes through executives’ heads. To round out the cartoon, Filmation grabbed the “Evil Horde” figures that were actually part of the “parent” toyline.
But you didn’t come here to see toy ads. You came for old shows (unless your hear for independent/fan films/comics, which I’ll try to get up here soon enough), and we have an interesting one. Filmation wasn’t afraid to tackle the heavy subjects. Already we’ve seen Bravestarr’s mentor commit murder, and He-Man give up his powers when he thought he misused them. Now we get to see She-Ra go up against Fahrenheit 451. In this episode, Hordak decides to burn a village’s books and control what they hear about the Horde. Pay attention, do-gooder parents!
The planet of Etheria wasn’t the happy place Eternia was. On Eternia, good King Randor ruled with peace and fairness. On Etheria, however, evil runs the show and the good guys are fighting to free their world from tyranny. A nice change-up for Filmation. It kept the shows feeling like they were in the same universe (rather than the mini-comics, which had Catra, the only baddie that was actually in the Princess of Power toyline, usually chasing jewelry or capturing Bo, Adora’s boyfriend or whatever he was in those stories), but still offered a new spin. Plus they found a way to make boys watch a TV show based on dolls for girls. You win this round, Lou Scheimer!
In this episode, which brings the Nazis and other tyrannies to mind, the Horde is actually part of a disinformation campaign. In the original mini-series/theatrical movie, Adora was tricked into believing the Horde were good until He-Man talked her into looking deeper. Here we see that they hoodwink a lot of people, trying to make the Rebels look like the bad guys. They even get some kid to spy for them, while burning the local books to be replaced with the Horde’s version of the “truth”. One teacher defies the Horde, and tries to teach them underground but gets arrested for what she believes in, as do the kids in a way. Now that’s good storytelling. Try to find that on a Bureau of Standards and Practices approved show, even back in the day. It’s even worse now, and it’s a disservice to kids to keep such stories away from them. But they’re more than welcome to watch Captain Planet and the Planeteers. Not that they want to. 🙂
It’s getting harder to find a good action cartoon these days. There’s a couple on 4Kids, the bane of anime fans everywhere (a commentary for another time), and both Nicktoons Network and Cartoon Network aren’t afraid to make some (Disney XD plays old ones, and Nickelodeon proper tends to program them horribly–they really screwed up Avatar: The Last Airbender‘s final season), unless you account for Adult Swim, which are the usual “sitcom” cartoon and a bunch of anime action shows they had no hand in creating–and don’t mention Big O, because their season made no sense near the end. None. It’s mostly comedies now, and even then there are no action shows for older audiences. (Everyone wants to be The Simpsons, Family Guy, or South Park.)
If you can find this show on DVD, or online (whenever it shows up legally), do so. The toys may be for little girls, but the cartoon is for everyone regardless of gender, and maybe even age. There should be more shows, movies, games, and comics like that.