Cam Clarke (The Avengers: EMH)
Brian Dobson (Dragon Ball Z)
Mark Acheson (Watchmen)
Garry Chalk (Arrow)
Don Brown (Fantastic Four: WGH)
Lisa Ann Beley (X-Men: Evolution)
Kathleen Barr (Kid vs Kat)
Paul Dobson (ReBoot)
Michael Donovan (Billy The Cat)
Christopher Judge (Stargate SG.1)
Scott McNeil (Beast Wars)
Nicole Oliver (Barbie)
Jay Brazeau (Bates Motel)
Blu Mankuma (Tin Man)
Eternia has seen the end of tyranny and evil. Its community lives in peace, safe in the knowledge that its greatest threats are trapped behind the great barrier in the badlands near Snake Mountain. Skeletor after many decades finally breaks through the barrier at last, and hopes to spread his bane once more, beginning with the capture of King Randor. Their liberation is detected within Castle Grayskull by the Sorceress, who informs Man-At-Arms, captain of the guards within Randor’s kingdom and a trustworthy ally, that the time has come for destiny to be fulfilled.
Prince Adam, a spoiled, almost carefree future heir to the throne of his father, Randor, is trained daily by the unrelenting Teela, his best friend. Adam is approached by Teela’s father, Man-At-Arms, who takes Adam to Castle Grayskull. There, Adam learns from the Sorceress of an approaching evil and his role in defending the kingdom as the warrior He-Man. Adam, of course, instantly rebuffs the responsibility and returns to the palace, where he finds that Skeletor’s forces have captured his father. Adam, Man-At-Arms, and Teela pursue Randor’s kidnappers into the forests, where they are ambushed. Adam is covered by Man-At-Arms as he returns to Grayskull, followed by his pet tiger Cringer, and the court magician Orko. His flight through the forest infuriates Teela, who only sees a coward leaving the scene of battle.
Adam accepts his destiny, and is granted the Sword of Power, which he uses to become He-Man. With Cringer transforming into Battle Cat, a strong and brave method of transport and assistance, He-Man returns to the scene of battle and rescues his father from Skeletor. Over the course of the first season, Randor’s armies of defense expand, some convinced to fight through encounters with He-Man. The Sorceress stands revealed as the mother of Teela. Teela’s ultimate destiny as the successor to the mantle of the Sorceress manifests in small doses physically and mentally, often causing her pain or general befuddlement at what these abilities are and what they mean for the future. Skeletor becomes aware of Grayskull’s power when he attacks it, prompting him to spend much of the season attempting to enter it.
Hints are made as to the fate of Skeletor’s mentor, Hordak, and the future main adversaries of the second season, the Snake Men. Much like the original series, selling toys was a key goal of this series, and He-Man and Skeletor would don variations of their costumes or different ones entirely whenever they were briefly “empowered” with an ancient relic or new technology. The first season ends on a cliffhanger in which Skeletor unites several of the other adversaries fought by the Heroic Masters into a grand council of evil. He captures most of the Masters, forcing He-Man and Teela to enter Snake Mountain. Adam becomes separated from his sword, and is soon forced to protect Castle Grayskull from Skeletor without it.
After the events of the season one cliffhanger such as Orko returning the sword to Adam and the Heroic Masters rescued, the Snake Men took center stage as the main antagonists, having been hinted at in the first season as being trapped beneath Snake Mountain (the place being their former stronghold, hence the name and reason for its existence) inside a void. They are finally being liberated by allies existing outside of the void, as well as a treacherous Evil-Lyn.
Adam is informed of their rising by the Sorceress, and finds his He-Man armor completely different upon transformation, designed to fight the Snake Men, led by King Hiss. Skeletor would still appear from time to time, but would be gradually phased out, although had the series continued, he would have returned to his status as a major player. This season was shorter than the first, and as a result, more serialized, with certain episodes following one from another. Characters were strongly developed, and old characters reintroduced, including Fisto, who was Man-At-Arms’ brother and a disgraced soldier of the court who went AWOL during the last great war.
The third episode of this season “Out of the Past”, also told the tale of how the Sorceress, on a granted leave from her duties, nursed an amnesia-stricken soldier back to health and fell in love with him. The soldier left mysteriously before she gave birth, and therefore his identity remains a mystery, and it is debated whether or not Man-At-Arms or Fisto were the ones involved, or somebody else entirely.
The secret origins of Evil-Lyn, Skeletor, Snake Mountain, and the power of Castle Grayskull itself, were also revealed.
I thoroughly enjoyed this animated TV series. I was a child of the early 1980’s, and my formative years involved playing with He-Man toys, so when I heard, back in 2001, that a new Masters of the Universe series was being made, I was really looking forward to this – and was not disappointed. Unlike the 1980’s show, this series has genuine continuity – lots of story arcs. And I’d say it’s made with an adult audience in mind (not that it’s graphic, but that it takes itself seriously). So while kids may enjoy it, grown-ups can too.