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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Children > Action > Fantasy > TV > He-Man & The Masters Of The Universe - Season One, Volume Two (Original 1983 Series)

He-Man & The Masters Of The Universe – Season One, Volume Two (Original animated series, 1983-84)


Picture: B-     Sound: C+     Extras: B     Episodes: B-



Pop culture in the 1980s was always more derivative and less interesting than in pasty decades, with the future of some characters in question.  Between the original series and feature film that was produced of He-Man, it was hard to say if the character would be more than a hit item with a cult.  The film certainly has its cult following, but Mattel recently issued a new series of action figures along with the arrival of a new animated series that gained fans, so He-Man had made an unexpected return and the return of the original series was inevitable.


Picking up with the second huge DVD set to cover, He-Man & The Masters Of The Universe – Season One, Volume Two (Original animated series, 1983-84) is an amazing reissue for both its performance and its extras, not to mention some fine color packaging and fancy art design on the box.  This set offers the next 32 episodes of the hit series that was one of the last big splashes for the Filmation production company.


The early 1980s were a reactionary and regressive time in U.S. pop culture, but despite his muscles and superpowers, He-Man was not so much a Rambo-type but linked more to the good guys of the 1970s who did not have to be angry to a point of satire to succeed.  When you are really strong, you do not have to go wearing it on your sleeve or the like, but it is a given.  Ironically, a character who has been too often bunched with Rambo-types was often the opposite, which explains his resurrection more easily.  Just don’t tell that to the longtime fans, since they were that smart all along.


The shows have more fantasy elements than earlier Filmation series, which was par for the course by the early 1980s, but it is surprisingly smart and mature versus the infantilization of the genre we have had in the wake of the excessive commercial success of the Lord of The Rings films.  The show is still a simple action series, but it still has its appeal over 20 years later.  A set like this can only assure that appeal continues.


The full frame 1.33 X 1 image is a big, pleasant surprise, with often amazing color and definition throughout.  Little has come out from the Filmation catalog, with Fat Albert releases from Bill Cosby himself via Urban Works needing more work, while the old 12” LaserDisc Image issued of the terrific Filmation Flash Gordon was before this set the epitome of how good this material could look.  Though you get minor aliasing here and there, plus the animation is simpler than what you would get today, that is the Filmation style.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on the episodes shows their age, but are not bad.


The extras are in stereo where applicable and include (extras producer and) scholar Andy Mangles hosting a featurette on the series being featured at The San Diego Comic Con, A “stories of” look at the show by its various creators, 50 detailed text profiles on the show’s characters, promos to push the DVDs, trivia, The House Of Shokoti, Part 1 episode with interactive storyboard comparisons that allow you to watch the show, the boards or both, two collector’s cards in side the solid foldout Digipak case, a nice color booklet on the show in the same pocket and a DVD-ROM function that allows you to print three complete teleplays for the show.


All in all, whether you like the show or not, BCI Eclipse and all involved went way out of their way to do an exceptional DVD set here and we look forward to more high quality transfers with great extras in the next releases.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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