Well, that was quick. Netflix is already back with a second season of She-Ra at roughly half the episode count. Did the quick turnaround hurt quality? No, this is the same smart show for kids, but it definitely focuses in a new direction for its abbreviated second round.

While the first season of She-Ra focused heavily on the war between the Rebellion and the Horde, this time that main storyline mostly takes a backseat to focus instead on the characters. Almost each individual episode is really a character study as we learn more about their background and motivations, including Bow, Shadow Weaver, and even Scorpia. This gives the show a very different feel that may disappoint some fans, but I think it smartly expands the show’s mythology through this focus while keeping the show from falling into an “adventure of the week” routine.

What really excels here is the continued top-notch writing for what we expect from a kid’s cartoon. The fourth episode, “Roll With It,” is basically one long Dungeons and Dragons game the princesses play in planning an assault on a Horde fortress. Each character gets a turn at planning the assault with different animation styles accompanying them. It provides character insight while also making what could have been a humdrum action episode into something more, especially Bow’s vintage take. Speaking of Bow, he’s the focus of one of the season’s standout episode, “Reunion.” It takes the standard “coming out’ episode we’ve seen in so many TV shows and flips it with the revelation that Bow has two dads, but he’s the one hiding a secret his parents have trouble accepting. Of course, the episode “Light Spinner” may be the most important for the show’s mythology as we go on.

She-Ra is remarkably one of the best shows on TV today for kids. It’s smart, funny, and insightful in ways that many adult dramas struggle with. Gather your daughters to watch, but bring dad and little brother along for the ride, too.

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