- Directed by Bill Reed and Ernie Schmidt
- December 25, 1985
- Prince Adam / He-Man, Webstor-John Erwin
- Skeletor, Man-At-Arms, Zipper-Alan Oppenheimer
- Teela, Queen Marlena-Linda Gary
- Alicia-Lana Beeson
- Princess Adora / She-Ra, Mermista, Catra-Melendy Britt
- Hordak, Bow, Cutter-George DiCenzo
- Peekablue, Perfuma, Mother-Erika Scheimer
- Miguel-R. D. Robb
- Orko, King Randor, Swift Wind, Spikor, Two-Bad, Modulok, Kowl, Rattlor, Horde Prime, Father, Multi-Bot-Lou Scheimer
Orko accidentally travels to Earth before Christmas and returns to Eternia with two kids.
Is He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special a tale of kidnapping gone wrong? No. Rather it is a Christmas special based on two classic syndicated animated series. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and She-Ra: Princess of Power were some of the best 80s action adventure shows for kids. At times they talked a little down to their intended audience but not often. These were lighter adventures that imparted a lesson at the end of each episode.
He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special was a syndicated special that officially aired once but as I recall it had a few subsequent showings on the local affiliate that ran both shows and as I have learned this was not an uncommon action.
This special was as fun and entertaining as any episode of either series. Somehow it manages to shoehorn in Christmas into the He-Man/She-Ra concept without it coming across as forced. While there was a connection between Earth and Eternia in the series (via Queen Marlena) having something as Earth-based as Christmas show up on the magical world of Eternia should not work but here it does. They knew how to do things like that in the 80s. I just could not picture a special today being able to do this.
The story is bouncy, and the characters are just as you would find them in the shows. The action in the special is great and as practiced in the series they seamlessly merge the two shows. At the minimum many characters appear from either series here. I am talking many make a background appearance somewhere while others have a more prominent role.
Orko accidentally kidnaps two kids, but nobody ever comes down on him for it. Huh? Unlike in other episodes, he does not even get smack for screwing up. Here he not only launched a rocket into space. Here he not only accidentally used his magic to go to Earth but he returned to Eternia with two kids yet nothing. That has jumped out at me ever since I first saw this.
Representation is a big thing these days. Thing is it has occurred for decades but that was never something creators felt the need to put front and center when they made something. Often the movie, show, or as here the special was put forth with ethnicity of the characters being something that just was. They do not beat you over the head with it but it is clear that Alicia and Miguel, the two kids Orko absconds with, are Latino.
Horde Prime, being the most evil of evil characters, does not want Christmas to spread to Eternia or anywhere else and after Miguel and Alicia are accidentally brought to Eternia by Orko, orders rivals Hordak and Skeletor both try to catch them in their usual villainous bumbling way. These two characters hated each other as much as they hated He-Man or She-Ra and on the episodes of both series when they interacted that was part of the entertainment.
Eventually Skeletor gets ahold of the kids and this leads to the character highlight of the episode special. Skeletor has no knowledge of Christmas because he is evil and evil people do not know about it in the world of He-Man. As he learns about Christmas, he starts to get a little bit of the Christmas spirit. When he learns about presents he asked if they explode when they’re opened (which I took as an allusion to Jokey Smurf from the unrelated series The Smurfs). As a bad guy in a family friendly series everything goes back to doing bad things that make him feel good. But the coup de grace is when, because he has so much Christmas spirit, he saves the kids.
He-man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special is a great throwback to time when Christmas specials could be fun and most shows had a least one Christmas episode no matter what the concept was. If you want to journey back to your childhood or just enjoy something light and fun this is a must watch.