When it comes to animation series Netflix has been hitting it out the park with "Voltron: Legendary Defender," the on-going "Tales of Arcadia" by Academy Award-winning director Guillermo del Toro and Carmen Sandiego.
"She-Ra and the Princesses of Power" came as a surprise last year and Dreamworks seems to be on a roll when it comes to their animated shows on Netflix.
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is a reboot of the eighties show "She-Ra: Princess of Power". And while "She-Ra: Princess of Power" was poorly made as a sister show to "He-Man and Masters of the Universe" to she toys to girls.
The new reboot which is currently streaming its second season is a show on its own, and the creators have taken an opportunity to not only update the show for modern times but also delivery great social commentary that is enjoyable for both adult and kids alike.
One of the biggest changes has been the way She-Ra/Adora(Aimee Carrero) is written and portrayed as a strong female lead with her costume changing to something more practical and no longer for the male gaze. The Princesses themselves have been updated too. They are representative not only in ethnicity, but body shape and queer identity. Hell, there are even two princesses that are dating in the show and the writers have treated as a normal part of their universe. Which again shows that openly queer characters can be in a show that caters to kids without it being an issue.
The show overall is extremely well written with the focus squarely on the character relationships, specifically Adora and Catra( AJ Michalka). The supporting characters also have a ton of character development from season one going into season two. This is something not present on most of the modern day cartoons on terrestrial television. They treat children like simpletons who can’t follow multiple story arcs. Rather opting for the villain of the week approach that has very little entertainment value. Even though when I was a tween I was watching "X-Men: The Animated Series and Batman: The Animated Series". And both of them had fully realised characters with various plot points that were dealt with over several episodes.
The show is also brilliantly animated and when Adora transforms into She-Ra it is a fest for the eyes. The second season is a bit short at only a mere seven episodes. However, I’m assuming they’re doing the same thing they did with Voltron, where they would essentially split up a season so you can watch two seasons in one year.
The show is still paced well and we get a couple of back stories from characters that give you more insight into who they are now in the second season. Bow(Marcus Scribner) gets a whole episode dedicated to him and the fact that the writers weren’t afraid not only have one of their main characters have gay dads. But have them also show affection on screen is amazing.
The episode also has an inverted allegory for coming out. Since in the episode Bow comes out to his dads has a soldier for the Princess Alliance – which they are against after the previous alliance failed – and had been hiding it from them in fear that they might reject him. And they responded with love which brought tears to my eyes.
We really do need more of these kinds of animated shows that are both entertaining for everyone but represents the world will live in now. I can’t wait for the next season since a big cliffhanger was left with the last episode. And I’m sure it won’t be a disappointment.