He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is an American animated television series. The series spanned two seasons consisting of 39 episodes. It was developed for television by Michael Halperin, who created the original series and was animated by Mike Young Productions. It served as an update of the 1980s series of the same name, produced to coincide with Mattel's revival of the Masters of the Universe franchise eleven years after its previous attempt (The New Adventures of He-Man).The series made its premiere on Cartoon Network's Toonami on August 16, 2002. Later it moved to Saturday Video Entertainment System (SVES), but with SVES' cancelation the series moved back to Toonami.
Unlike the 90's He-Man series, set on the futuristic planet of Primus, this version sought to return to the roots of the storyline and provide broader explorations never reached in the first series, including origins for each character, and some first time animated debuts of familiar toyline faces. The series also brought back several writers from the original series, such as Larry DiTllio.
The remake is noted for the many similarities it shares with the original. For example, it has an homage intro to the 1980s version's intro speech but in this version, Prince Adam is interrupted by an explosion and invasion by Skeletor and his henchmen. Prince Adam transforms into He-Man when he says "By the power of Grayskull... I have the power!" (later episodes feature a chorus singing He-Man's name during the scene change). It also features "scene change" sequences, but only the one involving the Sword of Power was taken from the original series; all the others were created for this series, and the sequences occur less frequently than on the previous series.
Years ago, two leaders battled for Eternia, a fatastical land where compassion struggles against greed, where one became the good King Randor, the other grew into the evil monster Skeletor who plans to rise once again and take Eternia. To protect the kingdom, the mystical powers of Castle Greyskull chose a hero - Randor's lazy, impulsive teenaged son Adam. Although a little relucant to take on a new secret idenity, Adam may not mind the name He-man if it can help his father.
He-Man & The Masters
Prince Adam - A seemingly careless and worry free prince in the eyes of the Eternian court. Most notably his father, King Randor, and Teela, the captain of the Royal Guard, perceive him as a coward. This common misperception of Prince Adam is because whenever trouble arises on Eternia, Prince Adam makes a timely exit so that he can secretly become He-Man, the most powerful man in the universe.
He-Man - The alter ego of Prince Adam, He-Man and his friends defend Eternia and the secrets of Castle Grayskull from the evil forces of Skeletor. He-Man is characterized by his immense strength, though his physical prowess is not limited to strength, he is also depicted as being extremely fast and acrobatic. He wields the Sword of Power, which gives him the Power of Grayskull.
Teela - the Captain of the Royal Guard at the palace of Eternos and thus responsible for training and protecting Prince Adam of Eternia. While Adam is He-Man, Teela often assists him in his battles, but she is unaware of his alternate identity. She often teases or reprimands Adam for his apparent lack of courage and gumption while harboring an unspoken and unconsummated crush on his alter-ego, He-Man.
Man-At-Arms - Teela's adoptive father and General of the Royal Guard. Man-At-Arms has a close mentor/student relationship with Adam in addition to aiding He-Man and leading the Masters (as the Heroic Warriors are called in the 2002 series).
Battle Cat/Cringer - A huge, armored tiger that serves as the companion of He-Man in battle. Equipped with a saddle, Battle Cat can carry several warriors into battle like a steed, but his ferocious claws make him more formidable in combat than a mere horse. When He-Man is secretly Prince Adam, Battle Cat is similarly the alter ego of Adam's pet tiger Cringer. Whereas Cringer is lazy and cowardly, and usually doesn't even want to assume his heroic form, Battle Cat is headstrong and eager for action and excitement.
Orco - A "Trollan", a race of beings from the extradimensional world of Trolla. Like all Trollans, Orko appears to be a diminutive blue humanoid, capable of floating in mid-air, that is almost completely hidden beneath a robe, hat, and scarf. Little more than Orko's hands, ears, and eyes are ever seen by the audience, as Trollan custom only rarely permits the revelation of one's face. The laws of nature on Trolla are vastly different than those on Eternia, so although Orko is an accomplished wizard on his homeworld, his spells usually backfire or malfunction when he aids He-Man in adventure or provides entertainment in the Royal Palace.
Ram Man - A member of the Masters, characterized by his bulky, spring-legged appearance and flat-topped metal helmet. His special ability is to knock opponents or obstacles down with his super-hard helmet. It seems unlikely that Ram-Man could accomplish his feats based on human strength alone. He may be mystically enhanced, like He-Man, or have cybernetic enchancments, like Trap-Jaw. The nature of his ability is never fully revealed.
Stratos - A member of the race of Bird People of Avion, who possess the power of flight and other bird-like abilities. The Bird People are close allies of The Masters, and Stratos is one of He-Man's most trusted warriors. Besides the power of flight and his aerial acrobatic skills, Stratos is also a handy spy for the Masters due to his sharp, bird-like eyes. Stratos uses a jetpack to enhance his ability to fly.
Mekaneck - A member of the Masters, with the ability to stretch his bionic neck to great heights and see over great distances with his special visor. He is also aformidable warrior, often using his flanged helmet as a weapon by extending his neck and hitting enemies with his head.
Man-E-Faces - A member of the Masters, notable by his distinctive appearance, with his large, blue metal head on which his faces appear in it's opening. His ability is to change his face from his regular human face to that of a monster or a robot. His monster face provides him with extra courage and strength, while his robot face provides him with extra intelligence and the ability to scan people and objects for important data.
Fisto - A large and muscular warrior with reddish-brown hair and a beard, distinguishable mainly by his right hand, which is a large cybernetic fist. His fist is able to smash through rock and other hard surfaces. Fisto is the brother of Man-At-Arms, estranged from him after being accused of deserting his comrades in the Great Unrest, a war that took place sixteen years before the events of the show in which a team of warlords attempted to take over Eternia. Although he insists he did not desert his companions, Fisto has a gap in his memory from the time which he claims is the result of a battle injury, and therefore has trouble remembering exactly what happened. Given that he has never been able to prove his innocence, Fisto has been bitter and disgraced ever since the Great Unrest, spending most of his time in seedy bars where he frequently runs into fights.
Roboto - Built by Man-At-Arms as a simple chess-playing robot. Desiring to apply his chess skills to the real battles around him, he upgrades himself to a warrior robot and effectively transfers his skills into the Masters' battles. He often serves as the Masters' Combat Analyst.
Sy-Klone - A member of the Masters, Sy-Klone is a blue-skinned cyborg with the ability to control and generate wind. He is also able to spin different parts of his body individually.
Buzz-Off - A member of the Masters, Buzz-Off is a humanoid bee who comes from a race of Bee People based in the Mystic Mountains called the Andreenids. His wings give him the ability to fly.
Skeletor & His Minions
Skeletor - The main antagonist of the series, Skeletor is the most evil being and most dangerous threat to Eternia. His only goal is power, and to that end he will not rest until he possesses the secrets of Castle Grayskull, whereby he could become master of the universe. This places him in direct conflict with the only man powerful enough to stop him, He-Man.
Evil-Lyn - The only female member of Skeletor's minions, she is an evil witch who aids Skeletor as his second-in-command with her powers of darkness. She is vastly more intelligent than Skeletor's other minions, and while she admits that she is not as powerful as Skeletor, she readily confesses that she hopes to seize her master's powers and lord it over Eternia herself one day. Thus, she has worked completely independent of Skeletor on multiple occasions. Her trademark is the magic wand crowned with a crystal ball, but Evil-Lyn typically generates magic without the assistance of any instruments.
Beast Man - The savage right-hand man of Skeletor, he has control over many wild creatures and has in-human brute strength.
Mer-Man - One of Skeletor's minions, he possesses a number of extra-human powers and abilities. It is unclear how many of these abilities are physiological traits possessed by his species and how many are skills unique to Mer-Man himself. Mer-Man is amphibious, being just as comfortable walking about on land, as he is swimming at the bottom of the ocean, although he is shown to be happier underwater. Although his strength level is not on par with that of He-Man, Mer-Man seems to possess a physical might that is greater than that of the average human. It is clear however, that his strength is much greater underwater than on land. Mer-Man also displays the ability to control a number of aquatic life forms through a primitive form of telepathy.
Trapjaw - One of Skeletor's minions, he is a cyborg with a mechanical, sharp-toothed jaw with a deadly bite, and a robotic arm onto which he can slot a wide range of different weapons.
Triklops - He is Skeletor's main inventor, coming up with weapons and vehicles to aid Skeletor and his minions. His helmet is shown to be a cybernetic attachment, capable of firing a different-colored laser from each eye, his artificial eyes are wired cybernetically into his real eye sockets.
Clawful - One of Skeletor's minions, he appears to be a hybrid between a man and a crab or lobster, with large, sharp claws that can crush the life out of his opponents. His right claw is extra large and thus achieves an extra-deadly grip. Clawful may be the stupidest and most bumbling of all of Skeletor's minions.
Two Bad - One of Skeletor's minions who is basically two different beings sharing the same body. In some ways he is like siamese twins, although both halves of his body are very different-looking creatures who are from entirely different species. His right half is a blue creature named Tuvar, while his left half is a purple, scaly creature with an eyebrow-like yellow band on his forehead named Baddrah. His two heads have the habit of continuously arguing with one another.
Stinkor - One of Skeletor's minions, Stinkor is essentially a humanoid skunk whose superpower is the ability to release a toxic odor from his body that renders foes immobile. Stinkor himself is not immune to his own stench, and must wear an oxygen mask to breathe properly. Stinkor incorporates into his breathing apparatus a way to turn his stench into focused blasts.
Whiplash - One of Skeletor's minions, Whiplash is an anthropomorphic reptilian creature. His main asset for battle is his long, bulky tail, which can injure or knock over his opponent by delivering a heavy blow, as well as being able to smash through solid rock.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is a 39 episode American animated television series. In the United States, the first three episodes of the series originally aired on August 16, 2002, on Cartoon Network's Toonami block. The final episode aired on January 10, 2004.
In the U.S. BCI Eclipse LLC released the entire series on DVD, for the very first time, in three volume sets in 2008. Each volume contained an extensive array of special features including Documentaries, commentaries, DVD-ROM features, end of episode morals, photo galleries and more. In December 2008, BCI Eclipse ceased operations, as a result all releases are now out of print.
In June 2009, Mill Creek Entertainment acquired the rights to the series and subsequently released He-Man and the Masters of the Universe - The Complete Series, a 4-disc box set featuring all 39 episodes of the series on DVD on September 29, 2009. They also released a 10-episode single disc best of DVD on the same day.
To commemorate the 30th anniversary He-Man and the Masters of the Universe brand, Mill Creek Entertainment will release the 30th Anniversary Commemorative Collection of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe DVD in December 2012. The 22-disc will feature the all 130 episodes of the 1983 series, 20 fan-favorite episodes of the 1990 series, as well as all 39 episodes of the 2002 series.