Netflix’s Masters of the Universe erases the past to chart a new future

Part of what made She-Ra and the Princesses of Power so good was the way it completely reimagined the classic cartoon. It was still set in a magical realm with talking horses and evil robot armies, but it took an old show — which, if we’re being honest, was created for the express purpose of selling toys — and gave its characters and world some real depth and meaning. It was funny and exciting, heartbreaking and beautiful, without a toy commercial in sight.

On the surface, Masters of the Universe: Revelation, which stars She-Ra’s long-lost twin brother He-Man, isn’t quite so exciting. It’s not a reboot but a direct sequel, one that’s meant to pick up right after the original cartoon ended in 1985. It has the same cast of characters, some of which are pretty goofy, like a wimpy battle cat and an alien sorcerer with self-esteem problems. Skeletor (now played by Mark Hamill) remains a gigantic dork. Yet, thanks to a bold decision early on, the show manages to become something that almost feels new.

Big spoilers for Masters of the Universe: Revelation ahead.

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