Saturday, March 05, 2022

My Revelations

I want to talk about "Masters of the Universe: Revelation." But I can't. Not yet. Because as I made my way through Part 2 of the series a few weeks months ago, I figured out why it wasn't quite clicking with me. And in order to talk about that, I'm going to have to tell a story. 

Way back in 1998, my eighth grade English/Language Arts teacher, the late great Mr. McKissick, assigned us a project: Write a pitch for a TV series. I'm sure it will surprise you to learn that I was just as much of a dork-ass nerd at 14 as I am now, so naturally my pitch was...
The words "The Power of GRAYSKULL" written in way too many Windows 95 fonts.

"The Power of Grayskull," a weekly hour-long animated series that would serve as a sequel to the original He-Man and She-Ra cartoons, while also introducing the adventures of He-Ro, the hero of Preternia, who fought King Hiss long before the time of He-Man. "The Power of Grayskull" was designed as a kind of anthology series, where each hour-long block would include two to three shorter stories following one of the three main casts, with the Sorceress and the Book of Living Spells as a framing device.

It's worth remembering that in 1998, reviving a cancelled cartoon felt considerably more outlandish than it does today. There were a handful of soft-sequel reboots like "Beast Wars" and "Extreme Ghostbusters" (and "The New Adventures of He-Man" a few years earlier), but they rarely had much connection to their predecessors, for obvious reasons. 

To cast this series, I relied heavily on the original casts, with John Erwin and Melendy Britt reprising their roles as He-Man and She-Ra, respectively, and I filled in the rest of the roles as best I could with the information available on the pre-IMDb Internet. 

But not every character I wanted to use had a consistent voice actor in the original series, and not every voice actor was still around (RIP, Linda Gary). So to flesh out the cast, I looked to other prominent voice actors (i.e., the cast of "Beast Wars"). And when I exhausted that resource, I pulled a "Gargoyles" and filled in the rest with actors from "Star Trek."

In the end, I think I made some ambitious choices (Leonard Nimoy as King Hiss? Sure!), some inspired choices (Nana Visitor and Dana Delaney as Evil-Lyn and Teela? Sounds good!), some choices so on-the-nose that even a Wizard Magazine Casting Call would consider them lazy (Brent Spiner as Roboto? Didn't have to think too hard about that one, did you?), and some really, really ill-considered choices (Jennifer "Kes" Lien as the Sorceress? Oh honey, no). 

Oh! And of course I included Mark Tung Lashor and Twistoid.

I even started writing a pilot script, which I guess would have been one of my earliest pieces of He-Man fanfic. It's clearly an attempt to be a more mature take on the characters, beginning on the eve of Prince Adam and Princess Adora's 25th birthday, with Adora and her OTP Sea Hawk expecting twins. Adam and Teela are in a romantic relationship, and Skeletor returns after a long absence to an Evil-Lyn who is infatuated with him since he magically transformed her hate into love. 

So. Spoilers for "Masters of the Universe: Revelation" follow.