He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe TV Poster Image
'80s classic still holds strong messages for today's kids.

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 1 review

We think this tv stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this tv show.

Educational value

The series teaches kids lessons in strength of character, personal safety, and respecting elders, among other positive topics.

Positive messages

Each episode illustrates an important social lesson like honesty, self-esteem, and being trustworthy. Not only are these themes woven into the story, but they’re also reinforced by summary segments in which He-Man and his friends recap the lessons learned during the show.

Positive role models & representations

He-Man defends the freedom of all people and creatures from the tyrannous efforts of villains like Skeletor. He often relies on crafty thinking to outsmart -- rather than hurt -- his enemies.

Violence & scariness

He-Man uses a sword and a variety of other weapons, but most of his acts are in defense, deflecting laser blasts or other attacks from the villains. Despite his brawn, he often relies on less violent tactics like trapping or tying up his enemies. Exaggerated cartoon violence shows characters surviving long falls with little injury. Some villains will seem scary to youngsters.

Sexy stuff

Many of the characters wear tight clothing that accentuates their curves and breasts; or, in He-Man’s case, his chiseled gluteals and chest.

Language
Consumerism

During its heyday two decades ago, the show was tied to an extensive merchandising line of clothing, games, toys, and accessories, though there’s little fear (or hope) of finding them on store shelves today.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that age has done little to weather the appeal of this classic cartoon, and the show’s positive messages about issues like self-confidence, responsibility, and trust are both woven into the storyline and discussed directly by the characters at the show’s end. Older kids might snicker over the show’s dated style (especially He-Man’s mullet-like hairdo), but youngsters will overlook it in light of the action and adventure. In its time, He-Man was controversial because of its use of hand-to-hand combat, but by today’s standards, the violence is pretty tame, and the characters often opt for nonviolent methods (trapping, pushing, dodging) rather than weaponry or fighting.

User Reviews

Adult Written byKidBlue909 October 26, 2010

Better than I remembered!

Very fun stuff. Appropriate for the older set, but good for us grown ups as well. They have a positive message, and remind me of greek mythology
Kid, 10 years old November 19, 2015

80's cartoon still keeping up

My nan use to have a bunch of these action figures and toys of headman so I got into the show. It may have some violence but it is all cartoon style

What's the story?

When Eternia’s Prince Adam holds up his sword and claims the power of Castle Greyskull, he unlocks his alter ego, He-Man (voiced by John Erwin), “the most powerful man in the universe.” With the castle at the heart of his impressive power, he must protect it from the likes of his nemesis, Skeletor (Alan Oppenheim), and his legion of tyrants. Only a handful of friends -- including The Sorceress (Linda Gray), Man-At-Arms (Openheim again), and his faithful Battle Cat -- know the identity of He-Man’s alter ego, and they are his constant companions in his efforts to ward off Skeletor’s onslaughts.

Is it any good?

HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE was a cartoon sensation during its two-year run in the 1980s, and young kids everywhere felt a rush of excitement when Adam held that sword up high to harness its power. For parents, though, it was a mixed bag, offering kids positive life lessons contrasting with what was then more violence than usual for a kids' cartoon. In addition to his famous sword and a variety of other objects he uses as weapons, He-Man engages his enemies in hand-to-hand battles, which wasn’t common practice in kids’ programming when it aired originally.

Today, however, parents’ worries over the show’s violence are much less concerning when compared that of modern cartoons. In reality, parents who look closely will see that He-Man often opts out of violent measures when some quick thinking or a cleverly designed trap will work just as well to neutralize a threat. That, coupled with the show’s reinforcement of strong messages makes it a viable option for impressionable youngsters who want to feel like they’re watching a big-kid show.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about heroes. What does it mean to be a hero? How can different people be heroes in different ways? Who is a hero to you? Why?

  • What did the characters learn in the show? What struggles did they have to overcome? Can you relate to what they go through? When have you had to overcome a difficult situation?

  • How does this show compare to more modern ones you see today? How is the animation different? Are the characters obviously different? Do these differences affect your enjoyment of the show?

TV details

Character Strengths

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Themes & Topics

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