Concept: Conflict between the heroic He-Man and the evil Skeletor on planet Eternia; or, to put it another way, a half-hour animated commercial for an action figure line (or so some believe)
Total Episodes: 130
Original Air Dates: 1983-1985
Original Network: First-run syndication
Geek Factor: 8
Prince Adam/He-Man (Voice of John Erwin): Son of Eternia's rulers, King Randor and Queen Marlena. Pretty much everyone thinks Adam is useless, but when he holds his Power Sword aloft and shouts, “By the power of Greyskull, I HAVE THE POWER!” he is transformed into He-Man, the most powerful man in the universe.
Cringer/Battle Cat (Voice of Alan Oppenheimer): Cringer is the royal pet, afraid of just about everything. When Adam becomes He-Man, he uses the magic of his sword to transform Cringer into Battle Cat, a fighting armored tiger whom He-Man rides like a horse.
Man-At-Arms/General Duncan (Voice of Alan Oppenheimer): Man-At-Arms is He-Man's closest ally, adoptive father of Teela, and chief producer of the weaponry and vehicles used by the Eternian defenders. He is one of the few people to know that Adam is He-Man.
Teela (Voice of Linda Gary): Captain of the royal guard, Man-At-Arms' adopted daughter. Her mother is the Sorceress, who asked Man-At-Arms to raise her. She is very outspoken and opinionated, and wishes Adam could be more like He-Man.
Orko (Voice of Lou Scheimer): Magician from the parallel world of Trolla, he is inept and his spells tend to backfire, while on his homeworkd he's a master magician. Orko knows that Adam is He-Man. He's unaware that he's one of the most hated characters in any Filmation cartoon!
The Sorceress (Voiced by Linda Gary): Mystic guardian of Castle Grayskull, who gave Adam the power to become He-Man. She is not able to leave Grayskull for long, else she reverts to her falcon form, Zoar. She is the mother of Teela.
Skeletor (Voice of Alan Oppenheimer): The main antagonist of He-Man, Skeletor is an evil demon from another dimension – or possibly he used to be Keldor, brother of King Randor!
Beast Man (Voice of John Erwin): Animal-like humanoid who can summon wild creatures of Eternia to aid Skeletor's schemes, but he's pretty much a buffoon.
Mer-Man (Voice of Alan Oppenheimer): Another buffoon toady of Skeletor's, Mer-Man can control sea life.
Evil-Lyn (Voice of Linda Gary): A malevolent sorceress, whose power is second only to Skeletor's. She aids Skeletor to suit her own ends.
There were a LOT of other characters in this series, but these are the main ones!
Geek Guest-Stars: Not applicable
Geek Pedigree: Naturally, being a Filmation program, Masters of the Universe has that whole Lou Scheimer thing going for it (Lou even voiced characters, not just Orko, but also King Randor and others). Episodes were written by people such as Donald F. Glut, Paul Dino, J. Michael Straczynski, Michael Reaves, Bob Forward, and many others who have had long histories with other geek TV programs and movies.
John Erwin, the voice of He-Man and others, did his first work for Filmation voicing Reggie Mantle on various Archie programs, and also did voices on Sabrina and the Groovie Goolies/Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, as well as characters on Fred and Barney Meet the Thing (the less said about that, the better!). He can also be heard as a radio sportscaster in Back to the Future Part II, and reprised his role as He-Man in a 2005 episode of Family Guy.
Alan Oppenheimer's first geek role was Dr. Contrare in Gammera the Invincible, although that may have been voice only. He also played Colonel Benkovsky in two episodes of I Spy, guested in two episodes of Get Smart, appeared in a handful of Hogan's Heroes episodes, an I Dream of Jeannie, a Bewitched, did voices in a few New Scooby-Doo Movies, played Dr. Rudy Wells in the Six Million Dollar Man, played the Chief Supervisor on Westworld, did voices for Wait Till Your Father Gets Home, Speed Buggy, Goober and the Ghost Chasers, Hong Kong Phooey, Valley of the Dinosaurs, Uncle Croc's Block, Fraidy Cat, Fabulous Funnies, Battle of the Planets, Tarzan (1976-1979), Flash Gordon, Thundarr the Barbarian, Blackstar, The Kid Super Power Hour With Shazam!, and many, many other shows before and after He-Man. His most recent geek role was playing Alfred in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies.
Linda Gary did the voice of Tania Frankenstein in Lady Frankenstein, provided voices for Scooby-Doo and Scrappy Doo, Tarzan, Blackstar, The Kid Super Power Hour With Shazam!, voiced Aunt May on Spider-Man (1981-1982), did voices for The Transformers, Ghostbusters, BraveStarr, She-Ra: Princess of Power, DuckTales, Darkwing Duck, and many other shows, including voicing Aunt May again in the 1994-1997 Spider-Man.
George DiCenzo appeared in an episode of Dark Shadows as well as the movie House of Dark Shadows, and could also be seen as an underground tour guide in The Night Strangler. He was the voice of Hercules and Sentinel One in Space Sentinels, played Roarg in an episode of Space Academy, was Major Benchley in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, voiced Captain America and others on Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends as well as the 1982 Spider-Man, voiced the title character on Blackstar, and went on to voice Hordak and others on She-Ra, as well as other roles, although his geek roles started becoming fewer further between.
Erika Scheimer, Lou's daughter, and Jay Scheimer, Lou's late wife, also did a number of voice roles on the show, as they'd done for many Filmation projects prior to that.
DVD Release: BCI/Eclipse did two box sets, one for each season, as well as a “Best Of” teaser collection before that, all of which featured special features I helped work on, but are all out of print. Other releases have come since – check the publisher's name before buying!
Website: http://www.he-man.org/ is, of course, the master site for all Masters of the Universe stuff, past, present and future!
Notes: Okay, so I have to admit, I did kind of watch this show as well as the She-Ra spin-off... and I wasn't impressed at the time (we only watched it because nothing else was on at that time of day). There are things I notice even more now, watching it so many years later, such as the reuse of animation and so forth... but it was an amazing accomplishment!