Season 1 Summary

Well, here we are, at the end of the first season of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. 65 episodes is a very long season, but they evidently worked themselves pretty hard in that Filmation office. I thought it might be a good idea to stop at this point and have a quick look back at the best and worst episodes of the season.

Highlights

There have been some really good fun episodes. Looking back at the titles, it’s hard to pick an absolute favourite, so I’m going to go with five (and even that’s difficult – there’s no space for The Shaping Staff or Golden Disks of Knowledge, among others):

defection-4
He-Man: “Ladies and gentlemen, I present my Greatest Hits, Volume 1.”

5. House of Shokoti, Part 2 – Definitely the creepiest episode of the season, and probably the entire run – and also notable for having a baddy actually able to incapacitate He-Man for a while, at least.

4. The Dragon’s Gift – A great twist at the end in which He-Man demonstrates clearly the importance of life for all living things really elevated this episode to one that makes you think (especially if you’re a child).

3. The Dragon Invasion – A fantastic early episode featuring a diabolical plot from Skeletor, in which he actually succeeds in getting into Castle Grayskull, and showcases his scheming side to perfection.

2. Evilseed – This one was lots of fun, including a threat against which He-Man and Skeletor had to team up to defeat. Skeletor was absolutely hilarious in this episode.

1. The Region of Ice – One of the funniest outings, and I suspect not always intentionally. He-Man’s fights with Beast-Man and Trapjaw were ludicrous, and he was talking nonsense the entire time. It was like He-Man on speed.

Lowlights

Well, yes, there have also been an awful lot of these. Many episodes this season were happy to settle into an unobtrusive mediocrity, but several really pushed the envelope. These are my five choices for worst episodes of the series:

shaping-staff-3
He-Man: “Yes, well, I’m a little less pleased about how these ones worked out.”

5. Wizard of Stone Mountain – Mostly boring, and occasionally a little bit sleazy and borderline misogynistic, what with Teela being treated as a prize to be fought over.

4. The Return of Orko’s Uncle – I’m actually surprised this is the only Orko-centric episode to make my bottom five, but it is definitely the worst of the lot. Montork and Orko were infuriating, and the villains were stupid beyond measure.

3. A Friend in Need – Hey kids! You want drugs? A Friend in Need is here to tell you that you definitely don’t, and it’ll make the point with all the subtlety of a hammer to the head.

2. The Remedy – This one barely had any story; it was just scene after scene of He-Man doing He-Man-like stuff, strung together seemingly at random, resulting in an excruciatingly dull episode.

1. The Starchild – A not-at-all subtle divorce allegory which quickly devolves into endless scenes of He-Man and co. running round the Palace bellowing “Starchild, where are you?” Seriously annoying and definitely bottom of the heap.

(Honorary mention: The Once and Future Duke – This was almost offensively rubbish, but the other episodes on the list just squeeze it down into 6th place.)

 

Favourite character

I don’t think I need to tell you that my favourite character is Skeletor – definitely my favourite character in this cartoon, and quite possibly my favourite in all of fiction. His sarcastic and vicious humour never fails to entertain me, and his increasingly insane plans are never short of hilarious. I’ll never understand why he didn’t feature every week.

evilseed-5
Skeletor: “I give a hearty thumbs-up to being voted favourite character.”

 

Themes

Continuity between episodes was never particularly a strong point for He-Man, but a couple of ongoing stories did manage to sneak in. Primary among them was Adam’s situation. Regarded by his parents and especially by Teela as a lazy no-hoper, there’s occasional flashes of the frustration he feels by being – in secret – the defender of Eternia. Prince Adam No More and Quest for the Sword are probably the best episodes to turn to for exploration of this theme, though there’s shades of it in Pawns of the Game Master as well.

Another ongoing plotline, if you can call it that, is the regular visits to and from Trolla, with Dree Elle and Uncle Montork putting in relatively regular appearances. But I’m going to gloss over that, because it’s one of the most infuriating aspects of the programme.

Orko's Uncle 3
Orko: “You should never have made it past the drawing board, Uncle. There, I said it.”

Onward and upward…

So, with stock taken, I think we’re ready to proceed to Season 2 …

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2 thoughts on “Season 1 Summary

  1. I have to agree with you Owen on the star child it is also hands down my worst episode of the Season one! Other than the remedy in fairness your bottom five eps I’d go along with these would be my bottom five of season one.. 1) the star child 2) it’s not my fault 3) dree Elle’s return 4) the return of Orko uncle 5) the royal cousin… my honoury mention of other poor episode that narrolwly missed out on mine the defection (one of the most patronising eps Orko characters completely killed for the sake of the moral an plot that’s constantly shoved down your throat) my top 5 would be 1) teela quest (the best) 2) the dragons gift 3) the dragon invasion 4) evilseed 5) prince adam no more…. my honoury mentions just missing out but still classic episodes creatures from the tar swamp and the search. Looking forward to your reviews of the second season! Take care..

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  2. Agree about skeletor he’s not only the best character but arguably of any cartoon series!! Humour evil, wit hilarious lines, his look he’s just the ultimate villain!! Probably my fav he man character too then teela and the sorceress for main characters for the he man allies my stand out number one is stratos.. iv always loved this character ps buzz off can buzz off lol why he was dumped for him who knows! If you love skeletor you’ll enjoy reviewing to save skeletor an evilseed style hero villain teamup episode this ep definetly gives house of shokoti part two for creepiness arguably the two darkest eps of the series! Done a good job on the he man overview interesting to read an enjoyable.

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