It’s easy for many to look at a show like She-ra and the Princesses of Power and label it as nothing more than a kid’s cartoon. Mark my words when I say it’s their loss.
This show goes out in a blaze of glory. Not only was season 5 enjoyable, but emotional and important. More shows should aspire to be like She-ra.
The show debuted in 2018 to mixed reactions. I, and many others, quite enjoyed the series. Fans of the 80s cartoon, though, weren’t so pleased. And their critiques were valid. Besides the characters and world, this show had very little in common with its source. So, it’s understandable that people felt disappointed. I urge those fans, though, to accept the stark change. This version of the property is a special piece of storytelling, even more so after its completion.
Season 5 does everything a finale should. It saw the story to a satisfying close and serviced fans along the way. It brought the show’s purpose to light and added meat to an already strong first four seasons. Proper set-up allowed the show to spread its wings in a way that felt welcome and natural. It is in this season we see She-ra tackle dangerous ideas with ease. It’s clear this was all planned.
The show manages to address topics relating to freedom-of-expression and the damage caused by failure to change. Its not-so-subtle take on religion is sensitive and leads to a very well-done message about love. The best part of it all? None of it is spoon-fed.
Season 5 of She-ra and the Princesses of Power took-on a lot of emotionally-charged ideas. All of them, though, rest within an ever-entertaining fantasy extravaganza. The amount of depth exhibited depends on the viewer. Dissection is only necessary if one wants it to be. I had no problem viewing this show casually and neither should kids or families. To put it simply, season 5 is as fun as it is meaningful. It contains genuine messaging but never clouds its fun-side with higher intent.
Speaking of, all five seasons have felt well-balanced tone-wise. The show has never been afraid to show raw emotion and embrace darkness when the story requires it. Each season feels more mature than the last, peaking with this one. Through it all, though, She-ra never loses its dorky side. The show isn’t wary of camp, or of being cheesy. And, to me, that’s one of its strongest traits.
Another of the show’s greatest strengths is its character line-up. It’s insanely hard to choose favorites and almost impossible to pick one you dislike. Even the lesser characters have great qualities. Not to mention they’re usually necessary to the plot.
All the villains are engrossing. They’re each unique with an engaging story. Some work out of selfish intent, others out of hurt. Some work out of loyalty, and others because it’s all they’ve ever known. This variety in perspective allows the show to explore a more grey side of good and evil. The show’s take felt fresh.
Lastly, She-ra and the Princesses of Power is a prime example of proper representation in media. People of all different skin tones, identities, and sexualities sparkle the story. There’s even representation for those on the autism spectrum. What’s most important is the show never makes note of it. These characters simply exist. And, atypical to the Hollywood norm, there is more than just one black character for every five white ones. And the same goes for people of the LGBTQ community. No one’s sexuality is ever stated. Characters simply love each other if the story demands it. Representation like this needs to be more common. I, once again, repeat: more shows should be like She-ra.
In conclusion, She-ra and the Princesses of Power is much more than meets the eye. Its perfect blend of camp, characters, and story makes for a unique experience.
Season 5 was an almost perfect finale. It dove into deeper waters, but never lost sight of the show’s heart. Its stellar execution even enhanced an already great first four seasons. And, above all, it brought the story to a satisfying end.
She-ra‘s not for everyone, I’ll admit. But it’s special nonetheless. I’d highly suggest it to anyone who’s a fan of animation or looking for a great hero’s journey.
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