There are 130 episodes of the original He-Man and the Masters of the Universe animated series that aired in syndication from 1983 until 1985. Here’s a fun fact about that series: Skeletor loses 130 times. Every single hare-brained scheme he comes up with to defeat He-Man and his pals fails every single time. Skeletor goes 0-130. That’s a truly remarkable level of incompetence. Yet, I watched, just in case Skeletor finally pulled one off. He never did.
By the way, have you watched these original episodes lately? A couple years ago I was at a hardware store in my New York City neighborhood and they had a DVD set for $3.99 so I bought it. This show is pretty much unwatchable to an adult. That’s not always the case. Some of the old Transformers episodes are still pretty good. I get why I liked it as a child, but I couldn’t make it through more than a couple of episodes.
I hadn’t yet seen Kevin Smith’s Masters of The Universe: Revelation when my Twitter feed lit up with angst. (My favorite was a tweet about how this series ruined the legacy of Moss Man, a character who, if you don’t know, is made of moss.) The series had gotten pretty good reviews, but after my experience of trying to rewatch those earlier episodes, I was going to take a pass on this one. But, I have to admit, the sheer amount of online “outrage” at whatever happened during this series piqued my interest. For this amount of people to be mad online, that tells me something actually interesting happens in this series.
(So, if you haven’t seen it and you plan to watch I’m going to get into specific spoilers.)
Look, He-Man kind of sucks. Not Masters of the Universe, but the character of He-Man, in that he’s not very interesting. And what would be the most interesting thing to do with He-Man? That would be killing him off, then watching the fallout across the rest of Eternia. Which is exactly what Masters of the Universe: Revelations does at the end of the first episode. Now, something that bothered me even as a little kid was the fact Teela didn’t realize Prince Adam was He-Man. And not just because they look exactly the same (at least Clark Kent wears glasses), but because all of Adam’s other close friends seem to know. She is literally the only character Adam is at all close with (other than his parents, who don’t seem to like him much anyway) who doesn’t seem to know this. So, yes, at the end of the first episode Teela freaks out because she was lied to. This makes sense! Also, it makes total sense it would be Teela in this role because no one else would be that mad they didn’t know this. What, are you going to have Stratos all upset about this? Why would he care? Teela is literally the only character who would be this upset.
So then, in the fifth and final episode that was released, Adam comes back, only to have Skeletor finally reveal his master plan that, no, he did not die as we thought he did, instead he was hiding for just the right moment to kill Adam. And he presumably does, stabbing Adam through the chest right before he transformed into He-Man. Skeletor then raises the power sword and says, “By the power of Greyskull,” then becomes some sort of He-Skeletor super-being.
After all this time, Skeletor finally wins. And who’s getting the credit? “Woke culture.” What?
Look, Skeletor deserved to finally have some good news. He now has one in the “win” column. But even in victory, his win is being credited to woke culture for giving Teela such a big role in the series (as I mentioned earlier, Teela is the only character where it makes since she’s feel betrayed). Good gosh, Skeletor literally can’t catch a break here. Imagine, after 40 years, finally winning and, instead of a victory lap, Skeletor has to read about how “woke culture” is the real villain and about how Moss Man, a character made out of moss, has been ruined. Skeletor finally wins and people are crying about “Moss Man.” What does Skeletor have to do to get your love? Or your hate?
Look, we don’t know what will happen in the remaining five episodes. But, for now, Skeletor finally gets the W. And if he’s reading this, I just want you to know that I, for one, noticed your victory. And I do not believe “woke culture” is the villain of Masters of the Universe: Revelations. I believe, you, Skeletor, are the villain. And I believe that after almost 40 years of watching your work that you deserved to finally catch a break. Congratulations, Skeletor. It’s past time you got your due.
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