Reviews | Written by Ed Fortune 30/04/2019

SHE-RA AND THE PRINCESSES OF POWER

REVIEWED: SEASON 2 (ALL EPISODES) | WHERE TO WATCH: NETFLIX

The first season of She-Ra and the Princesses of power took many of us by surprise. The Noelle Stevenson helmed show blended nostalgia with modern sensibilities in a near-perfect way, turning the whole thing into something much more than an ‘80s advert for toys. However, the first season ended rather abruptly, leaving fans to speculate if future arcs would be as succinct.

Season 2 is only seven episodes long, exactly half the length of the previous season. But it does pack an awful lot in. For a start, the main themes of friendship, family and love continue along the same vein as before. This is not the saccharine ‘friends are good’ message of 80s cartoon shows though. Instead, it’s an honest take on how these things work. The characters fall out, squabble and keep secrets, but are ultimately there for each other.  Or not. The show is happy to explore toxic relationships as well, specifically between Adora and her best friend turned arch-enemy, Catra.

What makes this rivalry so strong is it’s not based on cackling villainhood but more the little failures and faults between the two. This season explores more about Catra, namely her relationships with others in the Horde, and we learn how terrible decisions can have far-reaching consequences. You know that storytelling is going well when you care about the villains almost as much as the heroes.

There’s even a very clever scene in which we learn how the various heroes regard Catra. It’s quite funny and has some lovely shout-outs to the franchise’s history, but it’s also quite smart. If this sounds all a bit po-faced and serious, it really isn’t. The essential engine of the show is still ‘Adora and friends encounter villainy, Adora turns into She-Ra, action happens’. The whole affair is approached with such joy that it’s hard not to get swooped up in the action, the drama and the wonder.

Joy is the main emotion propping up the entire affair. From the opening bars of the show’s power anthem to the graceful but also slapstick character design, all of Season 2 is a rainbow themed rollercoaster. The show is also truly inclusive; no one is singled out because they are different, yet everyone gets to shine and be unique. Well, except  Kyle, but then he’s a single joke horde character.

Season 2, though all too brief, also takes some time to world build. The ‘lost age of magic and science’ feel to the show is stronger in this season, and they keep teasing us with Masters of the Universe references. We know enough about Hordak to realise he’s alien and that there is worse in store for She-Ra and chums. Bring on the next season!