He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe (1983-1985)
This is a cartoon from the 80s that I have a particular fondness for because it is one of the earliest that I can remember watching when I was younger (much younger), and one of the main reasons for this is because when He-Man introduced himself in the opening sequence I would get rather excited and have a “he’s named like my name” moment.
This is because of course the real name of He-Man is Prince Adam, the star of the cartoon that featured more action and adventure than most, which was based on a series of dolls. It was shown on CITV in various slots throughout the 80s, and it’s no surprise really that it went on to become one of the most popular children’s shows of its era.
He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe is set on a mythical planet called Eternia, which is somewhere rather far away. Adam is the son of the planet’s rulers. The main villain is Skeletor, who wants to take over Castle Grayskull, although that’s just the beginning really, because as is always the case with these characters, they won’t be satisfied until they rule the entire universe. And there were plenty of other enemies who liked to cause trouble.
After a while young Adam begins to get rather annoyed by all this, and he decides that he has to interfere and whip out his Sword Of Power and say “by the power of Grayskull, I have the power!”, which transforms him into He-Man, the strongest man in the universe, with his muscles rippling everywhere (it also seemingly adds a huge amount of echo to his voice). And not long after his new-found ability to throw people through the air saves the day.
There were many other regular characters, including He-Man’s pet tiger Cringer who turned into Battlecat, and Orko the floating thing. What with all these talking animals and magic swords, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Thundercats a little. I was surprised at how many of the old silly cartoon sound effects featured too, did they ever record any more? Episodes would also end with He-Man explaining the moral of the story to viewers, so stay safe out there.
There were 130 episodes of He-Man in two series, and they were all packed into only two years on American TV, that’s the equivalent of showing more than one a week! And of course there has been a huge amount of merchandise, beyond the dolls there have been comics, computers, just about everything. There has also been a live-action film, and sequel cartoons in the 90s and beyond. The rest of the family decided to join in with the action too, when He-Man’s sister She-Ra got her own spin-off series, and I will review that one soon too.