I remembered being very young and going to my dad’s house to spend the weekend. I was around 9 when I got first introduced to She-Ra and He-man by my grandparents and my mom as well. It used to be on Netflix when I was young, so I would watch it constantly. I was hooked on this show.
However, it was She-Ra I loved the most. I mean, I cosplayed her when I went to WonderCon! I loved She-Ra, and still continue to do so.
Then, something happened.
Around late 2016 and throughout 2017, a rumor was started that Netflix and DreamWorks were teaming up with a infamous Tumblr user by the name of Noelle Stevenson were going to reboot the classic 80’s icon. This was a red flag for most people, knowing Noelle, and knowing her intentions. And when the show first aired its first season in 2019…
It was hit with mixed reviews.
Most people thought it was a great start for a revived classic and thought everything was peachy keen. But those who thought it wasn't as faithful of an adaptation as they thought, were muted, and the show continued to be shown and praised.
However, since the show has ended on its fifth season, I feel like I should do a retrospect on this show. I’ve been excited since its announcement, but was heavily disappointed, and I feel as if my leaving of this show was deserved, for I didn’t know what could’ve been.
If only I knew.
Getting back to my point here, Netflix’s She-Ra has definitely been controversial to the point it has surpassed ‘Thundercats: Roar!’ in it’s controversy. But after its cancellation in late 2020, its fanbase is rarely ever to be heard from, and the crew went quiet. So, what happened to it? How did a supposedly good show fall so far from grace (if it had any to begin with)?
What ruined She-Ra and the Princesses of Power?
The She-Me Attack (The Marketing)
Let’s start with how the show started out, with its marketing. She-ra’s showrunner Noelle Stevenson was once a Twitter user who loved going onto different internet forums and harassing men. For no reason at all. She, also, was very egotistical— ESPECIALLY with She-Ra. When she first got the job, she was taking half the credit of her team and DreamWorks. So, she obviously made the show based on her mind: she was barely going to let others take the credit for her and her stuff.
The biggest marketing sham the DreamWorks team pulled was with the harassment and targeted attacks on those who were A) fans of the original show, or B) those who didn’t like the new concept art and designs.
The design for the new She-Ra when it first came out resulted in a lot of backlash. Mostly because of the way that She-Ra doesn’t look, well, “she.” She-Ra looked more like a boy in drag rather than an elegant warrior the old fans grew up with— and that’s an insult to drag.
The creators didn’t take this well reminder that this is a common theme within this whole drama).
The creators (in their infinite wisdom) decided to fight back, in the most awful way possible. They sent those hateful tweets, angry death threats, and callouts for being a misogynist. Yes, this did actually happen, and it went as smoothly as you think it would go.
This went on for a good few months after more and more designs (such as for Glimmer and Bow) began to resurface, and the creators, stans, and critics fought hard about it, and in 2019, it officially went to Netflix as an “original” series, and reviews were…
The Show Itself
Hoo boy, I’m going to have a field day with this part of the article.
Now, I want to say two things. One: If you like this show, then you’re fine. Just, don’t harass others for not liking it. And Two: Spoilers. MASSIVE spoilers. So, if you want to check the series out for yourself, go ahead. I shouldn’t stop you.
Now for the review: Short summary; it sucked. ESPECIALLY the finale. But, what exactly is the plot of the series? Let's see.
Adora was once a soldier for Etheria’s takeovers “The Horde.” However, after a crash in the Whispering Woods, she finds a magical sword that allows her to transform into the warrior “She-Ra.” With the help of her friends, she must take down the Horde and restore the planet to its original state.
So, with this updated premise alone, you’d think the show would’ve been as lore driven and exciting as it describes. But… not really.
The characters aren’t as incredible or diverse as it describes. Yeah, the whole other marketing shtick was diversity. But most of the characters are blatant stereotypes! Frosta is a little Eskimo girl, and Perfuma is essentially a hippie, and she has flower powers.
The episode plots aren’t that great either. They usually fall under three categories: 1) boring plot episodes, 2) slice of life that essentially is filler, and 3) pandering or shipping fuel. And guess what’s the most controversial part of the show?
That’s right! The shipping!
The Catradora Crisis
After the series ended and one of the most popular ships (Catra, one of the antagonists of the series, and Adora) getting together, the fandom and show runners are in a pickle with the popular pairing.
The fandom overjoyed with the shipping finally coming together, and Noelle refused to shut up about it. But then again, this was a part of her biggest scheme— a fanfiction.
Yes. A fanfiction.
Since Noelle never actually grew up with the show but rather the toys, she essentially made a multimillion dollar FANFICTION based on the stories she made with the toys. And yeah, she even included the Catradora ship she made for social brownie points too.
What a time to be alive.
However, the She-Ra fandom is now up in arms about this ship. Due to Catra’s sudden redemption in the series finale. She basically physically and mentally abused Adora throughout the entire series, but then she kissed Adora and everything on the planet was saved!
So, here comes the question: is Catradora a toxic relationship? I know I don’t want to show bias towards a ship of all things, but hey. This is my article, and I say that Catradora is extremely toxic. But hey, whatever. I’m gonna get backlash anyway. But— whatever. It’s toxic, and only shipping fuel to please the fans and only remade the whole “Klance” situation with Voltron again.
A Few Notes + Conclusion
I know, I know. I’m gonna be hate called at some point by being called “homophobic,” “misogynist,” or whatever, but as a gay woman, I think it’s important to speak out on this show. I myself used to like this show, but seeing it again recently, I shared a distaste for it. And the whole “multimillion dollar fanfiction” thing turns me off SO BAD. But, I feel as if it was important to address this situation.
Why? Well, we need to address this whole problem with faux representation, reboots ruining the original series, and the laziness in animation nowadays. It feels important to me that I get my thoughts out there as the audience this show is trying to cater to. Young kids. I think I didn't do much here, but I feel like my thoughts here are enough.
But now the conclusion. What really ruined She-Ra and the Princesses of Power? Well, I think it all comes down to the fandom and it’s pushiness for Catra and Adora to be together. I know there are people out there who don’t ship them, and if they do, they aren’t toxic. With how rushed the entire series finale felt, I can’t help but wonder if this was Noelle’s knee jerk reaction to push these two together as forced representation and as fandom bait.
The only joy I feel now is that this show is now over. Now I don’t have to worry about their controversies and other pointless things about shipping. We don’t have to worry about it anymore. And that’s is all I can ask for from this insult to a show I loved and I’m sure a lot of others did as well.
See you later.