Welcome to 2020 and my first at-bat for the Saturday Morning Cartoons (SMCs) section!
I am going to do something different for my first few posts.
I will write down a list of 4-8 possible cartoons that I could write about:
- 2 will be episodes from cartoon series that I’ve reviewed and liked
- 1 will be from a series that I reviewed and disliked, in the hopes that the new episode will be better
- At least 1 episode will be from a cartoon that I have not reviewed before
After I write down the list, and number each episode, I will have someone choose a random number; that number will be the cartoon that I write about. I’ll take a picture of the list and post it with the review, as well as the number chosen. On the following posts that I write for SMCs, I may re-list some of the previous not-chosen episodes.
This week, J.R. is the number-picker. His pick:
Here is the list:
So, on Saturday, we will review the pilot for the 1985 cartoon, “She-Ra: Princess of Power”. Until then, here’s a 3-day Break, as this portion is being written on Wednesday afternoon. 😉
“She-Ra: ‘Into Etheria'”
We start with a Narrator, voiced over a horns-heavy rock beat; the Narrator calls She-Ra “The Great Leader of the Rebellion”, sure to be explained in the upcoming episode.
We start out in a bleak, unliving landscape, panning over to…
Castle Greyskull?!? THE Castle Greyskull?!?
A beautiful woman, wearing a falcon-like headdress, tosses fitfully in her sleep. The source of her nightmares is this dude:
Judging from the quick battle scene, he was defeated by the Falcon-Woman… and He-Man’s forces!… but not before kidnapping an infant girl, presumably Falcon-Woman’s daughter. This now explains Castle Greyskull.
As she wakes up, the woman sees a sword descend from the ceiling, encased by a pink light. It floats towards an adjoining chamber, with the woman following.
The sword blasts open the door to the chamber, revealing a portal… then clatters to the ground. Falcon-woman picks up sword and utters: “Can it be? After so long?” Is this her daughter’s sword? HER sword? Who knows….
We now meet… Prince Adam and his cat, Cringer, from the “He-Man” cartoon! Adam is cooking his famous Spiced Bread, when he suddenly contacted – telepathically – by the Falcon-Woman, known as The Sorceress. She summons him to Castle Greyskull.
At the Castle, Adam, Cringer, and Sorceress are in front of the portal, behind the door that “had never been opened before”. Sorceress has a perfectly reasonable request: ‘Go through the portal – into an unknown land – and find an unknown person. And, by the way, give them this sword that looks exactly like yours, minus the pommel jewel.’ After a few minor protests from Adam and Cringer, and a LOT of vague non-answers from Sorceress, the duo step through the portal…
… onto a pretty but completely alien world.
The duo head towards a nearby village. They enter “The Laughing Swan Inn”, full of laughing, conversational people, light harp music, and an air of friendliness.
Which immediately stops when Adam and Cringer step in.
Some people turn away, others leave. Except for this nameless duo, who are trying to figure out the new arrivals’ identities and motives:
The friendly inn keeper greets Adam and Cringer (and is surprised that Cringer can speak!), serves them lunch, and leaves. Outside, a figure in metal armor is watching the place, with some kind of rod in his hand.
Suddenly, Metal Dude and 2 others barge in, looking all menacing-like. Cringer hides, Adam is concerned… and the guy in the purple recognizes them as “Horde”, while pulling a bow from under the table. The Metal trio push and shove their way to a table, trow 3 patrons from that table, and demand that the harp player play “something good”. His “good” wasn’t good enough, so his harp was shot. When he mouthed off, he was 3 seconds away from being murderized… until Prince Adam stepped in. A well-placed toss neutralized the first Metal dude, while an arrow from Purple Cloak disarmed the other two. A battle ensued between Purple Cloak (who shed his cloak) and Adam, vs. Metal Dudes; meanwhile, the pink flying creature joined Cringer under the table. The battle was short. Adam introduced himself to Purple Cloak, named Bo, a “Rebel”.
Everyone heads to the Whispering Woods, with Adam (and, I’m assuming, Cringer) becoming part of “The Great Rebellion”.
We are next taken to what looks like a cross between a giant engine, a spiderweb, and a stone castle. The interior of this building contains hundreds of pipes and cylinders, hundreds of feet tall. In the back of the Main Chamber, on a giant throne, sits Hordak; at the base of his throne are his Inner Circle, I’m guessing. He gets simultaneous reports about the fight in the Inn, as well a “stranger from another world arriving in Brightmoon (where the Inn is)”. He sets a trap, using Force Captain Edora as the trigger.
Meanwhile, the Rebels (after a brief encounter with a creature called Spragg), arrive at their Camp in the Whispering Woods. Bo introduces Adam to Glimmer, the purple-haired leader of the rebellion. Before Glimmer became hopelessly smitten, the 2 are informed that “Madam” approaches. “Madam”, below, is Madam Ras: the Jersey-accented, scatter-brained woman who warns Glimmer that the entire town of Thaymor (sp.?) is under arrest until Adam and Bo give themselves up. Adam advises them that he has a “friend” that could help save the village; the Rebels mobilize.
Glimmer, Adam, Bo, his flying sidekick (whose name I still haven’t caught), Cringer, and Madam lead the rebels to Thaymor. Ahuge Horde Slave Transport is in the center of town, loading up the villagers. The plan: Madam will free the villagers, Bo will lead the main Rebel force against the Horde focres, and “Adam’s Friend will be there when the time is right”. Meanwhile, Hordak’s inner circle grumble about wasting time, burning down the village for fun, and, in an amphibious creature named Leech’s case, serving under Edora… until Edora shows up.
“Edora”… the same name that The Sorceress muttered during her nightmares.
Bo gives the signal and the Rebels attack!! (It also turns out that Glimmer has magical powers…. cool!) Glimmer holds her own until Leech captures her from behind; Bo is double-teamed and subdued; the main Rebel force is stunned by Stun Beams from one of Hordak’s inner circle.
“Adam’s Friend” then shows up: He-Man, with Battle Cat!
He-Man deflects Edora’s Sniper Shot into Leech, freeing Glimmer; Battle Cat takes out Cattra, a shape-shifter who had Bo pinned down; Scorpina (the other creature on Bo) tries to attack He-Man but is flung away, into a watermelon cart. Mantera – the being that stunned the Rebels – stunned He-Man… until Spragg shows up and hits him with a crossbow bolt that was loaded with sneezing powder(?); whatever the case, it freed He-Man, leaving him to take on Edora. He throws his sword, disarming Edora; she runs to a nearby building and grabs a sword, while he pulls out the sword that the Sorceress gave him. It starts glowing and shows him… Edora. It didn’t show him the shot in the back he was about to take from one of the Metal Dudes. Edora picks up the sword…
… and that’s how Episode 1 ends.
Including She-Ra as a possible SMC review popped up from a conversation with two of my co-workers about Comicdom Wrecks and the “Saturday Morning Cartoons” features. one of them, born in 1997, wondered if there were any cartoons in my childhood where a female not only was the protagonist, she was also a strong lead character.
Judging from the fact that the episode ended with her up but He-Man down, Bo and Glimmer down and recovering, and most of the Rebels unconscious, I’d say that She-Ra/Edora is a pretty strong female lead.
This was better than I thought it would be; I didn’t quite remember this episode from my childhood, other than watching it with my younger sister and brother.
A review of Episode 2 will happen down the road, separate from the SMC posts. But for now, the SMC List Experiment is underway! This is the list for my next SMC post, in no particular order:
- X-Men: S2, E1 and E2: “Till Death Do Us Part”
- Static Shock: S1, E2: “Aftershock”
- Static Shock: S2, E5: “Frozen Out”
- Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘N Wrestling: S1, E9
- The Legend of Zelda: Pilot: “The Ringer”
- Batman Beyond: Pilot (never watched)
- Teen Titans: Pilot: “Divide & Conquer” (never watched, other than a few clips throughout the series)
Until next time!