He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

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He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
He-Man title screen
Genre Action-adventure
Sword and sorcery
Science fantasy
Created by Mattel, Inc.
Written by 5 or more episodes:
Larry DiTillio
Paul Dini
David Wise
J. Michael Straczynski
Doug Booth
Robby London
Brynne Stephens
Voices of John Erwin
Linda Gary
Alan Oppenheimer
Lou Scheimer
Erika Scheimer
Theme music composer Haim Saban
Shuki Levy
Opening theme "Masters of The Universe"
Composer(s) Haim Saban
Shuki Levy
Erika Lane
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 130 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Lou Scheimer
Producer(s) Gwen Wetzler
Running time 23 min.
Production company(s) Filmation Associates
Distributor Group W Productions
DreamWorks Classics (current)
Original network First-run syndication (1983–85)
USA Network (1988–90)
qubo Channel (2010 – August 25, 2013)

Me-TV (2012–13)
Audio format Mono (Early Season 1)
Stereo (mid-late season 1–2)
Original release September 5, 1983 – November 21, 1985
Related shows She-Ra: Princess of Power
The New Adventures of He-Man
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002 TV series)

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is an American animated television series produced by Filmation based on Mattel's toy line Masters of the Universe.[1][2] The show, often referred to as simply He-Man, was one of the most popular animated children's shows of the 1980s, and has retained a heavy cult following to this day.[3][4]

It made its television debut in 1983 and ran until 1985, consisting of two seasons of 65 episodes each. Reruns continued to air in syndication until 1988, at which point USA Network bought the rights to the series. USA aired He-Man until September 1990. Reruns of the show are no longer being broadcast on the Qubo Night Owl in the U.S. Currently the show is viewed on Retro Television Network,[5][6] and in Canada on Teletoon Retro.


The show takes place on the fictional planet of Eternia, a planet of magic, myth and fantasy. Its lead character is Prince Adam, the young son of Eternia's rulers, King Randor, and Queen Marlena. Whenever Prince Adam holds the Sword of Power aloft and proclaims "By the Power of Grayskull!" he is endowed with "fabulous secret powers" and transformed into He-Man, the most powerful man in the universe. Together with his close allies, Battle Cat (who undergoes a similar transformation from being Adam's cowardly pet tiger Cringer), The Sorceress, Teela, Man-At-Arms and Orko, He-Man uses his powers to defend Eternia from the evil forces of Skeletor. Skeletor's main goal is to conquer the mysterious fortress of Castle Grayskull, from which He-Man draws his powers. If successful, Skeletor would have enough power to rule Eternia and possibly the entire universe.[7]



Production history

The Mattel company released the original He-Man action figure in 1982; the franchise backstory was developed by the Filmation animation studio. Some time after, both firms pitched the idea to the ABC network, who turned it down. The resulting series, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, debuted through barter syndication in September 1983,[nb 1] and became the first syndicated show to be based on a toy. By 1984, it was seen on 120 U.S. stations and in more than 30 countries.[8]

Despite the limited animation techniques that were used to produce the series, He-Man was notable for breaking the boundaries of censorship that had severely restricted the narrative scope of children's TV programming in the 1970s. For the first time in years, a cartoon series could feature a muscular superhero who was actually allowed to hit people (although he more typically used wrestling-style moves rather than actually punching enemies), though he still could not use his sword often; more often than not He-Man opted to pick up his opponents and toss them away rather than hit them. The cartoon was controversial in that it was produced in connection with marketing a line of toys; advertising to children was itself controversial during this period. In the United Kingdom, advertising regulations forbade commercials for He-Man toys to accompany the program itself. In similar fashion to other shows at the time: notably G.I. Joe, an attempt to mitigate the negative publicity generated by this controversy was made by including a "life lesson" or "moral of the story" at the end of each episode. This moral was usually directly tied to the action or central theme of that episode.[9][10][11]

The show was so successful that it spawned a spin-off series, She-Ra: Princess of Power following the adventures of He-Man's sister, Princess Adora.[12] Mattel's subsequent attempts to relaunch the He-Man toy line have also led to the short-lived sequel series The New Adventures of He-Man in the early 1990s, and an update of the series for a contemporary audience in 2002.[13]

It is also noted for featuring early script-writing work from J. Michael Straczynski, later the creator of Babylon 5; Paul Dini and Brynne Stephens, both of whom who would go on to write acclaimed episodes of Batman: The Animated Series; Beast Wars story editor Larry DiTillio; and David Wise, later the head-writer of the TV version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Real Ghostbusters.[14]



The series' music was composed by Shuki Levy and Haim Saban.[15] The opening theme, snippets of which are used whenever Prince Adam transforms into He-Man and during interludes, is in C Mixolydian.

In 1983, a soundtrack album was released in France and Argentina by CBS Records and reissued on compact disc by XIII Bis in 2012,[16] featuring music from the series and an adaptation of "A Friend in Need" (French release)/"Diamond Ray of Disappearance" (Argentine release); La-La Land Records released a two-disc limited edition soundtrack album in 2015, containing the musical content of the 1983 LP and much previously unreleased material.[17]

The Spanish language version of the show features an actual theme song complete with lyrics unique to this version. The vocals were composed and sung by Chilean singer Memo Aguirre (a.k.a. "Captain Memo") based on Levy and Saban's original musical score.

The lyrics for the original intro song in Spanish and its English translation are as follow:

He-Man (x4)

El universo ya está protegido / The universe is now protected
Por el poder de GraySkull / By the power of Grayskull
Con secretos poderes destella un castillo / With secret powers shines a castle
He-Man luchará hasta el final / He-Man will fight to the end

He-Man (x4)

Teniendo a su lado la mágica espada / With the magical sword at his side
Y amigos que no fallarán / And friends that will not fail
Las fuerzas malvadas, querrán liquidarlo / The evil forces, they'll want to wipe him out
Y nunca descansarán / And they will never rest

nuestro castillo nos da fortaleza / Our castle gives us strength
y a Eternia protegerá / And Eternia it will protect
junto a grandes amigos, unidos luchando / Together with great friends, united in battle
a Skeletor derrotará / Skeletor it will defeat

He-Man (x4)
El universo ya está protegido / The universe is now protected
Por el poder de GraySkull / By the power of Grayskull
Con secretos poderes destella un castillo / With secret powers shines a castle
He-Man luchará hasta el final / He-Man will fight to the end

Teniendo a su lado la mágica espada / With the magical sword at his side
Y amigos que no fallarán / And friends that will not fail
Las fuerzas malvadas, querrán liquidarlo / The evil forces, they'll want to wipe him out
Y nunca descansarán / And they will never rest

He-Man (x3)


He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is considered the most successful animated series ever made by Filmation. The show was often criticized by parent groups as a cartoon designed to advertise action figures.[9][10][18][19][20] In 2009, IGN ranked the series as the 58th greatest animated show of all time in their Top 100 list.[21]

Name in other languages

  • In Basque "He-Man eta Unibertsoko Jaunak"
  • In Bosnian "He-Man i Gospodari svemira" ("Хи-Мен и Господари свемира")
  • In Catalan "He-Man i els Senyors de l'Univers"
  • In Croatian "He-Man i Gospodari svemira"
  • In Dutch "He-Man, en de meesters van het Universum"
  • In Finnish "He-Man ja Maailmankaikkeuden Valtiaat"
  • In French "Les Maîtres de l'univers"
  • In Galician "He-Man e os Amos do Universo"
  • In German "He-Man und Masters of the Universe"
  • In Greek "Χ-Μαν Οι Κυριαρχοι Του Συμπαντος"
  • In Hungarian Lovag és az univerzum védelmezői.
  • In Hebrew "הי-מן ושליטי היקום"
  • In Italian "He-Man e i dominatori dell'universo"
  • In Macedonian "Hi-Men i Gospodarite na vselenata" ("Хи-Мен и Господарите на вселената")
  • In Montenegrin "Hi-Men i Gospodari svemira" ("Хи-Мен и Господари свемира")
  • In Polish "He-Man i Władcy Wszechświata"
  • In Portuguese "He-Man e os Defensores do Universo"
  • In Romanian "He-Man și maeștrii universului"
  • In Serbian "Hi-Men i Gospodari svemira" ("Хи-Мен и Господари свемира")
  • In Slovene "He-Man in Gospodarji vesolja"
  • In Spanish "He-Man y los Amos del Universo" (Latin America); "He-Man y los Masters del Universo" (Spain)

DVD releases

BCI Eclipse LLC (under license from Entertainment Rights) released all 130 episodes of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe on DVD in Region 1 in 2005/2006, in 4 volume sets.[22][23][24][25] Each volume contains an extensive array of special features including Documentaries, Character profiles, commentaries, DVD-ROM features, trivia, photo galleries and more. As of 2009, these releases have been discontinued and are out of print as BCI Eclipse ceased operations.[26]

On December 10, 2010, Mill Creek Entertainment announced that they had acquired the rights from Classic Media to re-release the series on DVD in America. They have subsequently re-released the complete first season in one 8-disc set as well as two smaller 20-episode volume releases.[27] The complete second season was released on September 13, 2011.[28] The 2002 series, composed of 4 discs; 960min, was also released in 2010 by Mill Creek Entertainment, and is titled 'He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: The Complete Series' ASIN: B002DQL34G. Commemorating the 30th anniversary He-Man and the Masters of the Universe brand, Mill Creek Entertainment has finally released the 30th Anniversary Commemorative Collection of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe DVD. The 22-disc features 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.[29]

DVD Name Ep# Release date
The Complete First Season 65 February 15, 2011
The Complete Second Season 65 September 13, 2011

In Region 4, Madman Entertainment released the entire series on DVD in Australia in 4 volume sets (similar to BCI Eclipse releases). These releases have been discontinued and are now out of print. A complete series box set was released by Madman on June 24, 2009, this is still available.[30]

The pilot episode, "Diamond Ray of Disappearance", has a minute or so of footage missing due to the master tapes being damaged. In the original version, after teleporting the King and Queen and Man-At-Arms away to another dimension, Skeletor turns the ray onto Orko, who gets stuck inside a vase which deflects the beam. Orko escapes to warn He-Man. This footage has not been lost; it is still existent on other media in circulation. However, complications over the rights to it prevented it from being inserted back into the DVD release.


  1. In the practice of barter syndication, production companies give television stations a series for free, in exchange for advertising.[8]


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External links