She-Ra: Princess of Power is the sister series (literally) to Filmation's He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983). 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.
She-Ra: Princess of Power provides examples of the following tropes:
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...
Artistic License - Astronomy: A set of aligned moons on Etheria are apparently also the same aligned moons seen on Eternia, despite being two very different planets (well, actually two different universes, which may justify it).
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. It turns out Catra's mask was stolen from their Queen, who looks like Catra's feline form.
Christmas Episode: The massive crossover which brought Adora and her friends to Eternia.
Comes Great Responsibility: Bow learned this lesson when he abused the power of a wand he took from Shadow Weaver in "Bow's Magical Gift". However, the biggest problem wasn't how he used the power but how often he used it.
A 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".
Then again, Orko being an extremely talented magician in Trolla is an inconsistency on itself. Think about how it's described during his uncle's debut episode.
One episode has Tung Lashor working for Skeletor — despite earlier and later episodes showing him to be part of the Horde.
That inconsistency was even more glaring by the fact Tung Lashor bore the Horde crest even in that episode.
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.
The Dog Bites Back: In "A Loss For Words", Mantenna jumped at the opportunity to drop Hordak down the same trap door Hordak usually drops him down. Unfortunately, he forgot Hordak could fly.
The Dragon: Imp qualifies as this more than others due to him being the most favored by Hordak. Skeletor used to be this to Hordak.
The Dreaded: Horde Prime for everyone. The only one who doesn't fear him is Skeletor. Skeletor is ambitious enough to challenge Horde Prime in his bid to take over the universe
Dystopia Justifies the Means: Etheria may look like a beautiful place to live, but ever since the Horde took over, the planet has turned into this. Hordak makes it a point that he hates all that is beautiful, and uses the Fright Zone as a model of how things should look.
Ear Wings: Kowl, who seems to be a hybrid of a koala and an owl (hence his name), and uses 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.
Easily Forgiven: Sure, Adora used to be one of Hordak's highest-ranking officers, but as soon as they find out she's the twin sister of this guy who showed up a couple of days ago claiming to be a prince from another dimension, she's quickly given full access to the Rebellion's leadership. Of course, Bow did suggest trying to hold her hostage as leverage against 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. However, one episode reveals Horde Prime has a human (or human-looking) son. Mattel's recent revival toy series gave Horde Prime a humanoid form... presumably because trying to market a toy of a big cloud would've been somewhat difficult.
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.
Feed the Mole: In "Birds of a Feather", Kowl's cousin Red-Eye sought employment at the Horde and Shadow Weaver used a spell to enable Red-Eye to see and hear what Kowl does. She-Ra took advantage of this to give the Horde misleading information.
Feminist Fantasy: An early example of an action series aimed at a female audience, providing young girls with many Badass heroines and positive portrayals of femininity as a source of strength. Little surprise the generation that grew up on She-Ra became the audience for other examples of kick-ass women in fiction such as Buffy and Xena.
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 sequence where Adora becomes She-Ra, the rays that emanate from her raised sword are distinctly sperm-like.
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.
She-ra is far, far worse about this than He-man ever was. He-man occasionally gets off a good pun, but is frankly quiet, for lack of a better word, most of the time. She-ra, on the other hand, NEVER seems to fucking shut up with the goddamn puns. Ever.
Hypnotize the Princess: For as many times He-Man was captured in the pilot, Adora would be hypnotized. In fact, Adora was originally hypnotized into serving the Horde.
I Am Spartacus: In "Book Burning", the Horde set Tung Lasher teach lies to kids at school. When one of the kids denounced his speech as lies and Lasher demanded to know who did it, all kids (minus the one spying for the Horde) claimed to be the one.
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.
La Résistance: She-Ra leads "The Great Rebellion" against Hordak's forces.
Large And In Charge: Horde Prime. Judging by what we see of him, he's clearly a colossal being who dwarfs Hordak and his other underlings.
Large Ham: Hordak. His snarling, guttural growl is clearly meant to contrast with Skeletor's high, needling cackle. It ended up giving him quite a few scenery-chewing scenes.
Lawful Stupid: Adora before her Heel-Face Turn. She never questioned her Obviously Evil boss' motives and saw him as the rightful ruler of the planet. Rather justified in that she was under the control of Shadow Weaver's magic, but it doesn't explain why she call herself good instead of evil, since Hordak openly brags that he is.
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.
In "Horde Prime Takes a Holiday", if not for Skeletor trying to take over Horde Prime's warship, Hordak would have frozen She-Ra and He-Man. To top it all off, Hordak gets in trouble for something Skeletor did.
Hordak and Skeletor unknowingly do it to each other in "Loo-Kee Lends a Hand". If not for Skeletor's plan to capture Prince Adam, who knows how long would it take Loo-Kee to find Prince Adam and ask for his help or how much damage the Horde would have done by then? Also, if not for Hordak freezing time for the rebels, Loo-Kee wouldn't have gone to Eternia and ruined Skeletor's plan to break into Prince Adam's bedroom.
The rebellion would probably never learn how the Horde was using Kowl to spy on them if not for Red-Eye bragging about that.
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 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.
Also, while He-Man described the Sorceress; Man-At-Arms; and Orko as the only people to know his identity (which was true during his show), She-Ra described Light Hope; Madam Razz; and Kowl as three among those who knew hers. Justified by the fact her identity was obviously easy to deduce by those who know He-Man's. Even if one doesn't count them, Light Hope later told Loo-Kee the secret so he could "lend a hand". Also, the episode "Darksmoke and Fire" implies that Granamyr knew the secret 1000 years before He-Man and She-Ra were born.
In the Latino American version, she keeps the "By the Power of Greyskull" chant.
Except in Brazil. She says "honor" there as well.
The One Guy: Bow. 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 has 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.
Turns out Shakra is a much straighter example. Before meeting her real parents, Shakra was closest to a mother Adora ever had.
Parents Know Their Children: In the pilot, it's established that Princess Adora was kidnapped as an infant. When Prince Adam brings the now-adult Adora into the throne room, King Randor and Queen Marlena immediately recognize her. Man-At-Arms also recognized her.
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.
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.
Angella's husband also counts.
Secret Secret Keeper: When She-Ra got stranded in the past, Granamyr read her mind to be able to understand what happened.
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 to do a Heel-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. The Sorceress still has this role.
The Starscream: When Hordak abandoned Skeletor at the time Adora was kidnapped as a baby, Skeletor sold him out as a final "Screw You" to his mentor. Of course, this was only half the victory, and he still had unfinished business with Hordak. In two episodes, especially Of Shadows and Skulls, he does succeed in stealing Hordak's place as Horde Commander, but it doesn't last.
Statuesque Stunner: She-Ra, naturally. She seems to gain a foot in height when she changes from Adora, though this is likely due to the hat and the boots.
Swiss Army Tears: Hordak was disappearing to death by the doomberry pie Skeletor gave him, but he was saved by She-Ra's tears in the episode "My Friend, The Enemy."
Swiss-Army Weapon: Hordak's arm. 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.
Take Our Word for It: In "The Price of Power", Shadow Weaver showed her face to a boy who wanted to be her apprentice. The boy's reaction suggested the face to be hideous but the viewers were never given a chance to see for themselves.
Swift Wind: They're changing into other forms! What evil robots!
Tempting Fate: In "Into Etheria", after getting a meal at a tavern, Cringer comments that he's starting to like this strange new world he and Adam are in. That's when some Hordesmen show up.
Time Travel: Hordak and Modulok once tampered with the dimensional portal to get rid of She-Ra. They got her stranded in Eternia's past. 1000 years before she was born if Granamyr was correct. Granamyr helped her to Get Back to the Future.
Too Spicy for Yog Sothoth: Perfuma turns out to be this when captured by the Horde. Listen to her voice for 30 seconds, and you'll begin to understand why spending a day with her would be a bit much.
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.
Verbal Tic: The bad guys have plenty of tics to go around.
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.