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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Children > Action > Fantasy > TV > The New Adventures of He-Man – Volume One (1989)

The New Adventures of He-Man – Volume One (1989)


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



After looking at the original series, here is the Volume One release of the 1990 Season of The New Adventures of He-Man.  For those unfamiliar with the He-Man series, here is a slight wrap up.  He-man premiered from Filmation Studios in 1983 and ran until 1985 under the title He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, running for a total of 130 classic and epic episodes.  In a way to pull fans back into the He-Man universe, in 1989 the production of a new series continuing the He-Man storyline went underway with the updated title The New Adventures of He-Man.  In this series He-Man is summoned to the future to save a planet known as Primus from the invading mutants of the neighboring planet Denebria.  When traveling through the time-rift into the future He-Man is followed by his old Nemesis Skeletor.  Once in the future, Skeletor allies himself with the evil mutants in a plot to overtake planet Primus.  With his magic sword by his side He-Man ventures into a new and strange world, in order to protect the freedom and lives of a planet in need.


The New Adventures of He-Man on the whole is quite good, but not as good as He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (nor did it receive as large of a fan base); this does not mean the show should be dismissed.  The animation is not always as detailed as the Masters of the Universe series, but does display interesting characters unique to this new He-Man animation branch.  Skeletor is not as dark and twisted in this series and is often portrayed in a comical manner, which is disappointing.  Where as He-Man characters have always been slightly hokey, this series at times takes too many liberties with serious action heroes and villains.  Though the series characters are not as great as Masters of the Universe and the animation is not as detailed, The New Adventures of He-Man does go above and beyond Masters of the Universe in the areas of continuity and storyline.  The original series was quite sporadic and lacked continuity, often dismissing past actions and events for the purposes of new story arches.  The New Adventures of He-Man, however, breaks the stories into large chunks which may include up to 5 or 6 episodes focusing on one story.  Also little is every forgotten and often times events are referenced again later.  Continuity is not something that was focused on greatly in animated series until recently, with such series as Justice League using this technique.  In many ways this animated series if nothing else was ahead of its time.


The technical aspects of this 6 Disc, 33 episode collection are not great but suitable.  The picture is presented in an adequate 1.33 X 1 Full Screen.  The picture quality varies at points, definitely showing wear and tear and to some degree debris particles.  It seems that the original animation masters were used for this transfer, but as is seen with many cartoons of the 1980s not great care was always taken in storing them.  The picture quality by no means is horrible, but just a slight reminder of that if not careful these animated classics can be easily damaged.  The picture quality, outside of the slight debris, does seem light and fuzzy at times but overall the colors remain vibrant.  The sound is presented in a simple Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo that does have some issues with occasionally sounding distant but on the whole nice.  The extras for this quite large, Volume 1 set are some of the best this reviewer has seen on an animated television series set.


Fans of the series are in for a huge treat with not one but two brand new documentaries on the series, featuring a documentary on ‘Creating The New Adventures of He-man’ in which writers, artists, and experts discuss in good depth the behind the scenes action.  The other documentary entitled ‘The Comic Book Adventures of He-man and the Masters of the Universe,’ takes viewers on an epic tale through the years in both the comic book and animated arena and how He-man conquered all.  The 6-Disc set also comes with 2 collectible 4” X 6” exclusive He-man art cards, presented on thick cardboard.  The list of extras goes on to include such great elements as 50 detailed character profiles, an Art Gallery, Commercial Bumpers, Trivia and Fun Facts, and lots more.  The creators of this series and DVD Set truly took the fans into consideration on this one, and the best part…the spine of this DVD Set slipcase continues the He-man mural started in 2005 with He-man and the Masters of the Universe: Season One-Volume One.


Though the series does not live up to its predecessor, it definitely has its own unique qualities and moments of greatness.  For fans of He-man this series will pull you right back in, having ageless feel and allows viewers to be a kid again; though I could still have done without the end public service announcements.  Go buy this, you will have fun…  BY THE POWER OF ETERNIA!



-   Michael P Dougherty II


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