Preview: Son of Zorn 1×1 (US: Fox)

He-Man's douchier brother learns to settle down

In the US: Sundays, Fox. Starts September 25

I don’t know exactly where Mattel and Filmation lie within the many concentric circles of giant US conglomerates’ IP assets, but if they’re not contained at least somewhere within Fox, I think the creators of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe have a good copyright infringement case on their hands with the arrival of Son of Zorn.

Zorn’s the guy in the picture above; He-Man is the guy in the 80s cartoon below.

Somewhat similar artistically, I think you’ll agree. 

However, that’s probably about the only similarity the two have in common, beyond an oddly similar array of friends, because Zorn owes a lot more to He-Man’s own inspiration, Conan the Barbarian, than to He-Man. He’s a macho, manly kind of guy who’ll only take orders from a woman if he believes she’s really a man.

That’s possibly why he ended up getting divorced and returning to his cartoon island nation to fight demons, giants, et al, while his wife (Cheryl Hines from Suburgatory and Curb Your Enthusiasm) headed off to Orange County, California, to raise their son, Alangulon, by herself. When Zorn returns to Orange County to see his now-teenage son and discovers that Hines is getting married to online professor of psychology Tim Meadows (Mean Girls), he decides to remain in Orange County as a detergent salesman so he can woo back his wife and become a father again.

Coming from Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Last Man on Earth, The Lego Movie), it’s unsurprising that this is a good deal funnier than you might expect – and you might be expecting Kröd Mändoon. While this is basically no different to any other culture clash or squabbling exes comedy – or even to Last Man Standing – with Zorn having to learn to be sensitive and fit in with modern American mores to have a relationship with his wife, it’s less about the format and more about the detail with Son of Zorn.

Zorn’s not just a huge dick with a huge sword, he’s a huge dick with a huge sword and access to death hawks. He’s also a ‘diversity hire’, barbarians from island nations being something of a rarity in California. Alan(gulon)’s a vegetarian and can flirt with the best of them, but he would be better with the girls if he had his own car… or death hawk. Hines’s character is trying to be responsible but is also someone who was happy to hang out with a barbarian and have sex with mountain trolls when she was younger. And Meadows’ character is hyper self-aware, particularly of the fact he’s a big disappointment in life and that Zorn is just big, giving an almost Ben Carson-like deadpan performance of oddness.

A lot of the jokes are obvious and you can usually see where everything’s going. But Son of Zorn keeps coming back with sufficiently out-there jokes that it doesn’t seem matter. Worth trying, at least for an episode or two.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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