She-Ra: Princess of Power is the sister series (literally) to Filmation's He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. It tells the story of Adora, the twin sister of Prince Adam of Eternia (He-Man, himself), who was kidnapped as an infant to the planet Etheria, and later is given the power to become She-Ra in order to save the planet from its tyrannical ruler Hordak, who is a member of the galaxy-spanning Horde.Instead of having a nemesis like Skeletor, a disgruntled citizen who spends his days regularly attempting to kick the heroes' royal asses, She-Ra has Hordak, who ALREADY runs the planet, which inserts some problems when alien characters comes to visit (and he turns out to be Skeletor's mentor, allowing for even more excuses for crossovers).She-Ra was made specifically to appeal to girls, which explains the large number of mentally and physically strong female characters, like Adora, Glimmer, and Madame Razz, not to mention the vivacious, Zsa Zsa Gabore-like nature of several of them, daaaaaarling — and quite a number of female villains like Shadow Weaver, Scorpia and Catra. The Big Bad, Hordak, was male, which has multiple implications, especially since Shadow Weaver was his closest and smartest advisor. Male characters, like Bow, were usually portrayed as being captured or needing help, just as often as supporting female characters (Glimmer & Bow were the most common victims). Furthermore, whenever He-Man paid a visit to his sister (both in crossovers and the Five-Episode Pilot Movie), he generally required her help in some way. And in the pilot movie, she first captured him, then saved him.
Action Girl: Adora/She-Ra, obviously, but since the show was specifically aimed at girls, most of the heroes are strong female characters, which was pretty new at the time.
Ambiguously Gay: Honestly, it wouldn't be a He-Man spin-off without all the Ho Yay and Les Yay. And perhaps it's even more Camp than He-Man was, thanks to the show being full of Action Girls and male characters like Bow needing to be rescued all the time. Nostalgia Chick lampshaded how close Prince Adam and Bow got in the intro-movie...
Broken Heel: Interestingly, while Bow is the one who trips over a vine (as they're running from a monster), this plays out just like the classic female version, including how he just lies there waiting for rescue instead of trying to get up and keep running. (Although technically, the monster just offscreen teleported to in front of him anyway, so maybe he thought it was useless by that point to run anywhere.)
Cat Folk: In the episode "Magicats", She-Ra and Catra stumble upon a civilization of magical cats.
Christmas Episode: The massive crossover which brought Adora and her friends to Eternia.
Continuity Snarl: Many episodes not only aired out of order, but were produced out of order. This results in situations like Sorrowful appearing a few episodes before he's introduced.
Even worse, one episode had Adora go to Light Hope to have her sword repaired. The very next episode has her first learn that Light Hope exists!
Another big inconsistency that should have been caught: when He-Man goes to Trolla (Orko's home world) he reverted back to Adam and had to say his transformation phrase backwards because magic worked differently there (Orko is an extremely talented magician in Trolla, for example). However, She-Ra had no problems when she went there in "The Greatest Magic."
Cool Crown: She-Ra's headdress is a crown with wings on the side.
Cool Horse: Adora's horse Spirit. And he becomes an even cooler horse (Swift Wind, actually a winged unicorn) when she transforms into She-Ra.
Dark Action Girl: Since the show was aimed at girls, not only are most of the heroines Action Girls (as mentioned above), but quite a number of the villains are Action Girls, whether through general butt-kicking or in Shadow Weaver's case, actually being a very competant Second to Hordak.
Eldritch Abomination: Horde Prime's appearance as nothing but a huge cloud of black mist with a giant mechanical arm (and being described as having two heads!) constantly surveying his/it's galactic empire in an enormous starship/warship, and given his/it's predilection for utilizing monsters/demons/sorcerers/cyborgs/cyborg sorcerers as minions, leads to this impression.
Even Evil Has Standards: In "Into the Dark Dimension" She-Ra risks her life to help Hordak escape with her back to Etheria. Hordak actually calls off the Horde's attack on the Rebels and grants them safe passage back to the Whispering Woods in return.
Everything's Better with Princesses: Adora is the Princess of Eternia (though in Etheria she is just an ex-member of the horde) and there's also Princess Glimmer of Bright Moon.
Glimmer's probably the worst offender. Initially, she was supposed to be the leader of the Great Rebellion, looked up to by everyone, but she quckly turns out to be totally useless in combat, getting her ass kicked by one freaking Mook without any sort of effort whatsoever.
Five-Episode Pilot: Released first in March 1985 as a movie, The Secret of the Sword. That following September, aired as five episodes to kick off the series.
Functional Magic: There are several practicing wizards and sorceresses on the show, many with very specific areas of expertise. Adora's sword also counts since, like Adam, she can't transform without it and when the crystal within it is broken in one episode she can't transform at all. This is, of course, carried over from He-Man.
In the episode Sweet Bee's Home, Frosta has a serious case of the hots for He-Man. At one point he rescues her and winds up laying on top of her. She states directly that she wouldn't mind him staying there.
Castaspella is essentially a voyeur, especially when she spends her time gazing at Adam.
Knockout Gas: Villain Hordak sprays one of the heroes with some sleep gas from his Swiss Army Hand. The hero gets off an exclamation and keels over. Hordak then comments that he's going to have to have a word with his scientists; the victim shouldn't have had time to say anything before succumbing.
Ladylike Pervert: Queen Castaspella loves to oggle good-looking males (discreetly, that is). Adora shows a bit of a Big Sister Complex when she catches her friend trying that on her twin brother Adam.
Never Say "Die": Surprisingly averted for a cartoon around this time. While death wasn't mentioned as often as it could have been (Hordak wanted to capture and enslave rebels more than kill them), if a character was thought to be dying or dead the show wasn't shy about saying so.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Bow proudly anounce himself as a rebel to the Horde troopers he just fought in the bar, resulting with The Horde invading the village and taking everybody as slaves.
Oh Crap: In one episode, Skeletor overthrows Hordak and traps him. As Skeletor begins ordering the other villains around, Imp demands they stand up to him. Instead, the villains realize that Hordak isn't around to protect Imp anymore. Cue a panicked Imp fleeing for his life.
Opening Narration: It's is almost identical to the one from He-Man, except that every place He-Man says "power," She-Ra says something different. E.g., "Fabulous secret powers were revealed to me" -> "Fabulous secrets were revealed to me"; ... "By the power of Grayskull!" -> "For the honor of Grayskull!"; ... "I have the poweeeeer!" -> "I am She-Raaaaa!"; ... "I became He-Man, the most powerful man in the universe" -> omitted entirely. Insert feminist rant here.
In the Latino American version, she keeps the "By the Power of Greyskull" chant.
Biologically, yes. Bow fits in as one of the girls most of the time though, and Sea Hawk takes up the role of The One Guy more often.
Overly Long Tongue: Tung Lashor. Often he uses it to clean objects or grab things, and Hordak yells at him for such a disgusting display. It's also been used to tie him and his companions up.
Paper-Thin Disguise: She-Ra never hides her face, uses Adora's sword, and is never seen together with Adora. Bow and the others don't even seem to wonder how she knows when they need her help.
Parental Substitute: After Adora realizes the Horde are the bad guys, she calls out Hordak and Shadow Weaver. Shadow Weaver tries to calm her by pointing out she's been "like a mother" to her. By the same token, Hordak was essentially a substitute for Randor.
Pink Product Ploy: To the point where the first release of Swiftwind was colored pink, despite being white in the show. Collectors convinced the toymakers to allow the next release to be colored properly.
Real Life Writes the Plot: Crossed with Merchandise Driven; originally, as with the comics, Catra was meant to be the Big Bad in the cartoon. Hordak and the Evil Horde were toys made for the boys-oriented Masters of the Universe toyline. But because Filmation was wrapping up their production of He-Man cartoons at the time they started She-Ra, the Horde was too late for that cartoon (only being hinted at in the episode "The Origin of the Sorceress"), but right on time for She-Ra. So instead of the cartoon taking the route of the mini-comics, which were often stereotypical romance-driven action plots with Catra and She-Ra vying over Bow, viewers were treated to a more traditional action show where the lead character was an action hero who just happened to be female, rebelling against a villain who had already conquered the world.
This was also why Snake Men were included as part of the Horde. The Snake Men toys came too late for He-Man, so Rattlor and Tung Lashor were added to She-Ra in order to promote toys.
Royals Who Actually Do Something: Angella, the Queen of Bright Moon, and her daughter Princess Glimmer are the leaders of the Great Rebellion. Queen Castaspella is a magic-wielding royal on the side of good. And of course there's Adora, who has the advantage of acknowledging being a Princess of Eternia and not having to employ Obfuscating Stupidity like her brother Adam.
Spinoff Sendoff: Begins with He-Man journeying to Etheria to find Adora and give her the Sword of Protection allowing her to become She-Ra and do a Heal Face Turn going from a Force Captain of the Horde to leader of the Great Rebellion.
Spirit Advisor: Light Hope, the guardian of the Crystal Castle, may qualify for this.
Most likely from his Shapeshifting powers, since he himself can also morph into a rocketship with a nose cannon. He also demonstrated morphing his entire lower body into a large drill and burrowing to escape (after morphing both of his hands into suction cups too, like what Leech has).
Sympathy for the Devil: Though they are archenemies, She-Ra is the only person who has ever cared enough about Hordak to cry for him.
Unresolved Sexual Tension: Adora had this with Sea Hawk, who snogged her twice in one episode. She even deliberately locked herself behind bars (after performing several rescues as She-Ra) so that he could bust in and carry her out over his shoulder. But the relationship never went anywhere.
Possibly complicated by the fact that She-Ra's relationship with Bow was equally undefined.
Unusual Ears: Kowl, who seemed to be a hybrid of a koala and an owl, and used his ears as wings.
Although his flight appears to be magic and quite apart from how he flaps his ears. Note how, in The Secret of the Sword, his response to getting startled is to freeze, like any of us might - and just stay there sitting frozen in mid-air.
Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: Hordak never runs out of robot henchmen or war machines. Somewhat justified by being the resident dictator of the planet, but you have to wonder where the manpower comes from?
It's actually addressed a few times; Hordak orders his robots from Horde World. He even complains a few times that he ordered well trained robots and got incompetent idiots.
Wild Child: The name of an episode and Title-Dropped by Bow in relation to the character of the week, though he meant it as a compliment.