Media Review: She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (2018)
Hello and welcome back to Pride at Poly! This week, I’m kicking off my Queer Media Review series. (Anyone have suggestions for a punny name for this series? Please drop them in the comments!) No such series would be complete without a review of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (2018)—a queer reboot of an 80s classic show—so I figured that would be a fantastic piece to kick us off with.
For those who aren’t familiar with the show, the premise is: Adora, who grew up in the Evil Horde training to become a Force Captain, finds a mysterious sword in the woods. When she touches it, it turns her into an eight-foot-tall warrior lady with magical glowing hair and superpowers—the mystical hero She-Ra, who has not been seen in a thousand years. Adora/She-Ra is taken prisoner by the rebels, but she quickly realizes that the Evil Horde is, well, evil, and that her sympathies lie with the Rebellion. Adora defects from the Horde and joins the Rebellion, and over the course of the five seasons, she and her new friends work to unite the world’s Princesses (each of whom possesses a different superpower) and reclaim their homeland from the Evil Horde.
I was introduced to this show by friends in my dorm as a first-year, back when Season One had just come out on Netflix. I’ve kept up with it since then, and let me tell you, Season Five was worth the wait. This show has a lovable and diverse cast of characters—there are characters of many different personalities, genders, sexualities, races, ages, body types, character strengths and flaws, and struggles that they go through—as well as an engaging plot and beautiful animation. Most of the She-Ra characters are explicitly queer, and it is perfectly normalized within the world of the show. Getting to immerse yourself in a universe without homophobia or transphobia is a refreshing and enjoyable experience—I was especially excited when a nonbinary character using they/them pronouns, voiced by a nonbinary actor, was introduced and treated just as normally as every other character!
Seasons 1-3 are very family friendly; the season finale of Season 3 is where things get a little more intense, and a character sacrifices themself to save the others, leading into the darker, more complex struggles of Seasons 4 & 5. I introduced the show to my family, and my younger tweenage and teenage siblings and I binged the whole thing around the end of summer break. (If you’re planning to watch with family and friends, do make sure they are safe people! There is canonical, textual queerness of many sorts throughout the course of the show.)
I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t yet seen the show, but I will say there is lots of very queer pining to go around, and while I spent a long time on the edge of my seat waiting to see how it would all be resolved, I was very happy with the resolution of the show. That being said, approximately none of the romantic tension is resolved until Season 5, so buckle in!
My favorite thing about this show is the depth and complexity of the characters, and the way their different dynamics are constantly explored. Every character undergoes some kind of growth, and the main characters truly transform as people over the course of the show; I love character-driven media, and this show truly delivered.
Who I would recommend this show for? Everyone!
Who is my favorite character? Catra or Bow.
What’s my final rating? 9/10 stars, it’s amazing but I want more!
Have you seen She-Ra? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!