#1 Posted by mordukai (7150 posts) -

So this show popped up on my Netflix account as something I would interested in. I figured it showed up because I watched some episodes of the original 1984 show for nostalgia. I really had no intention of watching it since I am not that of a big Transformers fan. I mean I enjoyed the old show when I was a kid but I was never into the toys or the pretend games some of the other kids were playing and I never once wanted to dress as one. I even though War for Cybertron was an ok game but somewhat monotone, and boring game.

However for some reason that day I was bored, had no desire to play anything, didn't really have anything to do around the house, and had a few hours to kill. At first I was bit hesitant since the transformers design reminded me of the Bay version and I despise anything that man does. So with a bit of trepidation, and some shame I put it on expecting to fall asleep. I started watching it and a funny thing happened, I devoured the whole Darkness Rising mini-series. I was extremely impressed with the show.

I went a head and watched the whole first season in two days. I really couldn't get enough of it. The writing is top notch, the transformers are extremely interesting, the kids, while being somewhat a cardboard cutout characters have been slowly starting to show some growth, and the voice acting is just a treat. WHat I am most impressed is the way Soundwave is protrayed. I have no idea how the hell the animators managed to put so much into a charcahter that hardly talks and has no face, every moment he is on he just manages to somehow steal the scene.

Two scenes come to mind, one being the one where Starscream wanted to pull the plug on Megatron and the other was his confertation with Airachnid.

The whole first season was just spot on. Really great visual that fits the show just perfectly. Great stories that developed almost every character culminating with a really great ending that left you satisfied and also gave a great starting point for the next season. I really am excited to see how the show will developed in season 2. I haven't been excited about an animated since Avatar.

So anyways, as someone was at best a mild fan of Transformers, I wanted to ask the more hardcore transformers fans here what they thought of the show.

#2 Edited by NlGHTCRAWLER (1215 posts) -

Glad you liked it, I think I might have to check it out later on when I have some time to kill. I have never liked the older cartoons so we'll see how this turns out.

#3 Posted by 71Ranchero (2738 posts) -

Watched a couple episodes and found it pretty terrible. Not a huge fan of the bastardization of my youth. Galaxy Force and Car Robots are the only Transformers series I can get behind after G1.

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#4 Posted by WinterSnowblind (7615 posts) -

I watched the first episode and thought it was okay.. but the human characters were instantly completely unbearable. Do they have a big focus as it goes on?

#5 Posted by spiceninja (3056 posts) -

I've watched about half of the first season on Netflix and I also really like it. The designs for Optimus and Bumblebee have been taken straight from the movies (minus those awful flames on Optimus) and the show really feels like what the movies should have been. That being said, I really want to rewatch Beast Wars and I wish Netflix would hurry up and add it.

#6 Edited by BonOrbitz (2183 posts) -

I've been a HUGE Transfan since '84 and was avoiding Prime because of the shitty Bayformers designs and thinking the show is just an outlet to bank off of the movies. A buddy of mine started hyping the show and I gave it a shot on Netflix streaming and came away liking it quite a bit. I'm around episode 20 and like the OP I found myself not expecting the show would turn out the way that it did.

The visuals are impressive for a CG animated series, but Star Wars: The Clone Wars set my expectations so high because no current animated series can top what Lucasfilm's animations studios are doing and what the writers there are doing in terms of storyline and maturity (believe it or not). They're light years ahead of any animated series currently airing IMO, but they're past their 4th season and TF: Prime is in their first so my expectations need to be tempered.

Unfortunately I don't dig how "cartoony", smooth, and bland the kids aesthetics are when compared to the more realistically rendered and detailed 'bots, gorgeous landscapes and sky, and cinematic action set pieces. I also don't care for how lifeless the town is where some of the episodes take place. I understand that it's a sleepy "Small Town USA" but it feels like a ghost town devoid of any life besides the kids running around.

I am somewhat impressed with some of the storylines (though cliched but presented well) and they seem to be getting better as the season progresses. I also enjoy the continuing storylines (Megatron's condition, Arachnid) and look forward to wrapping up the season and tracking down the next. The death of a character in the first story arc was nice to see because it added a sense of unpredictability and emotional impact one doesn't expect from a show like this. I'm hoping for a bit more character development, darkness and tension, and the introduction of more characters (especially Unicron). By season four of The Clone Wars I'm flabbergasted that the series is still meant for kids (to the point that I wonder if Cartoon Network might pressure the creators to tone some elements down) and hope TF: Prime eventually follows suit. It's off to a good start!

It was also quite a joy hearing Peter Cullen and Frank Welker reprise their classic roles! Speaking of voice actors, I was surprised to find out Spike Spiegel's Steve Blum is voicing Starscream.

@PlasmaBeam44: LOVE your Regular Show avatar. Quite an underrated show and dare I say it- better than Adventure Time (though not as imaginative).

#7 Posted by EXTomar (4677 posts) -

It is no secret Hasbro wanted to reboot a bunch of their old toy lines where they needed shows to help that which is where My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Transformers Prime come from.

I like Transformers Prime because the background stuff actually makes sense but I wish they would be a little bolder with the stories. The implication has been that the Autobots are underpowered and out-maned and increasingly ruthless Decepticon force. I'm not implying there should be more violence or death but they seem to say things are dire but the Decepticons seem pretty relaxed ignoring the Autobots till something happens with their plans while the Autobots seem to have little urgency until they discover a plan. It would also be nice if the humans where also a bigger "thorn" for both sides too.

#8 Posted by Orbitz89 (229 posts) -

@WinterSnowblind: I would argue that the human characters are almost always unbearable and should never be in any sort of spot light in Transformers, whatever the series.

#9 Posted by Bane122 (786 posts) -

Yeah I wasn't interested in the series but checked i out anyway on Netflix and was blown away. I've loved the darker tone the show has and really dig most of the character designs. The show also has my favorite portrayal of Megatron. His voice, look, and badassness are just a perfect combination.

Normally I agree the kids are the weak link in a Transformers show but for some reason I don't mind them here. Rafael is kinda meh but the other two I like, which surprised me as I thought the girl would be incredibly annoying when they introduced her.

#10 Posted by BonOrbitz (2183 posts) -

@mordukai: I wrapped up the first season... Wow, the last four episodes blew the rest of the season out of the water (which was still really good). The kids didn't annoy me so much, the episodes were dark, and the appearance of the "new" villain was awesome. Plus, what happened in the last episode made me want to jump right into season 2. It's great to see that they're incorporating the Transformers mythos from the Marvel, Dreamwave, and IDW comics and the classic animated series into the TF: Prime with the inclusion of Optimus and Megatron's past history, Primus and Vector Prime.

It's interesting that the writers of the new Transformers and Star Trek movies helped write and produce the show. It makes me wonder how the movies would have turned out without Michael Bay's interference during the writing process (which the writers hinted was substancial and detrimental to the quality of the movies) and what ideas were rejected for the movies but were used in this series.

#11 Posted by mordukai (7150 posts) -

@bonorbitz: Cool. I'm glad you enjoyed the end of the season. I've so far watched all 12 current episodes of season 2 and I'm happy to say that the show haven't lost it's pace. The episodes are still pretty much self contained but there's still an overall story arch to the season. And don't worry, the show still goes dark. I am starting to wonder this show is not meant for kids because some of the themes explored in it are issues kids won't be very familiar with.

#12 Posted by BonOrbitz (2183 posts) -

@mordukai said:

@bonorbitz: Cool. I'm glad you enjoyed the end of the season. I've so far watched all 12 current episodes of season 2 and I'm happy to say that the show haven't lost it's pace. The episodes are still pretty much self contained but there's still an overall story arch to the season. And don't worry, the show still goes dark. I am starting to wonder this show is not meant for kids because some of the themes explored in it are issues kids won't be very familiar with.

It's pretty obvious that the writers and creators are Transformers fans who are knowledgable with the lore from the 80s through today, so it sounds like they're aiming the series at them while balancing it out for newer, younger fans like the He-Man reboot did in 2002 and Thundercats from last year.

It's very similar to Star Wars: The Clone Wars. During the movie and first couple of seasons they were trying to find their footing while gauging the audience's reaction and Cartoon Network's input. The show became darker with more adult themes and violence and I was shocked with what they got away with during their last (and fourth) season. Star Wars haters don't know what they're missing out on; it's really a shame.

It doesn't even feel like a Cartoon Network program anymore which I'm thankful for because it's not cashing in and is becoming a great lead-in to Revenge of the Sith (the darkest Star Wars movie). It also helps that they're the number one rated program on the channel so the network probably let's them get away with what they're doing. I wonder if The Hub is doing the same with Prime because of the show's success.

How would I be able to start Prime season 2 from scratch? I'm so far behind...

#13 Posted by Slag (4244 posts) -

I can't get into this one, I'm a big Tf fan so I tried.

The cast of Autobots is too small while having nameless vehicon enemies (I hate that, leads to sloppy characterization, happened in Beast Machines and Energon), tries to be serious while retaining the kid factor. Plus Zombies what an unwelcome development that was. Optimus now has swords? ok I guess.

All these things TF Animated did much better in my opinion than Prime. That show was loaded with G1 references but retained great writing and personality and the universe had so much depth. The premise I felt was much better on that show as it allowed them to have lots of guest characters. Having Cybertron basically as a wasteland limits the writers a lot I think.

don't get me wrong I love having Cullen and especially Welker back and some of the other touches (such as Wheeljack, Arcee and new character Airarchanid) , but the rest just doesn't seem to have the stuff I always enjoyed about TF.

Oh well as long as TF is on the air that's good enough for me as it gives me hope another G1, Animated or Beast wars will surface. I'm beginning to feel bad for Star Trek fans, this is the longest it's been off the air since the 1970's I think.

#14 Posted by Mousse_gallon (175 posts) -

I liked TF Animated a lot more than TF Prime.

#15 Posted by Veektarius (4771 posts) -

@Slag: I agree that the small cast of named characters is a major drawback. The show tries to sell us on a darker setting with the death of Cliffjumper at the outset, but you're left with so few characters that the scenarios leave basically no possibility for another such death. I thought they'd introduce more dudes as the series went on, but reading the IMDb castlist, it seems they did this toward the end of the second season at the earliest? The Decepticons are even worse off.

I'm not sure how I feel about the choices of autobots either. I can understand all of their choices except Bulkhead. Was he even an old transformer? Shouldn't he be Ironhide?

#16 Posted by Slag (4244 posts) -

@Veektarius said:

I'm not sure how I feel about the choices of autobots either. I can understand all of their choices except Bulkhead. Was he even an old transformer? Shouldn't he be Ironhide?

funny you mention that

He was actually intended to be Ironhide but the writers felt for some reason when they were writing him he sounded more like TF Animated Bulkhead than Ironhide (too friendly supposedly although I always thought Ironhide was gruff but friendly) and made a last minute switch before production.

Transformers has developed a couple characters like that it seems where they have duplicate characters filing similar roles. Bumblebee/Hot Shot/Hot Rod has become one and Ironhide/Bulkhead has now become another.

#17 Posted by StarvingGamer (8146 posts) -

I accidentally watched 1/3 of an episode somewhere for some reason.

It had Peter Cullen.

That's all it really needs.

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#18 Edited by EXTomar (4677 posts) -

The first season of the show is on Netflix or where ever you like to get your streaming video. It is definitely worth a look if you have the access.

#19 Posted by Vonocourt (2126 posts) -

Been looking to give it a shot, but I still have the entirety of G1 and Beast Wars on DVD to get through. And I've been meaning to buy the japanese collection for a while now.

#20 Posted by Veektarius (4771 posts) -

@Slag: I guess Hot Rod was a little like old Bumblebee, you're right. But now Bumblebee isn't even a character, he's just a quirky thing with no voice.

Just noticed, heh, you're Slag, and you've got a triceratops picture. Clever.

#21 Posted by Slag (4244 posts) -

@Veektarius said:

@Slag: I guess Hot Rod was a little like old Bumblebee, you're right. But now Bumblebee isn't even a character, he's just a quirky thing with no voice.

Just noticed, heh, you're Slag, and you've got a triceratops picture. Clever.

hah yeah exactly! You got me figured out. First one to do so publicly .

yeah The whole TF movie Bumblebee things is weird. If I remember correctly Tf Armada/energon Host Shot was supposed to be Bumblebee in the English dub but Hasbro let the trademark lapse (this is also why Shockwave and Soundwave were Shockblast and Soundblast for a while, they've also lost trademarks to Jazz, Hound, Hot Rod, Onslaught and a few others if memory serves) and had to rebrand him. They were going to name the movie character Hot Shot as well but decided to switch back to Bumblebee when the name came available (and felt the character felt the Bumblebee moniker better).

The post movie Bumblebees have the voiceless radio talks for me thing going on which I agree is a little weird, but he still fills role of youthful autobot liason to the Humans. Which was his primary purpose as a character on TV. He's even got a tv trope about his role on the show.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/KidAppealCharacter?from=Main.TheBumblebee

#22 Posted by Tim_the_Corsair (3065 posts) -

Colour me aroused.

Wait, sorry, interested. I always get those confused.

#23 Posted by Veektarius (4771 posts) -

@Slag: Jazz was in the first Transformers movie - was Armada after that?

If so, that's a shame, Jazz is one of my old favorites. And Hound is interesting too, because even though the character is nothing like Bulkhead, they changed other characters enough (except Prime) that he seemed like an obvious choice for "Green Truck".

#24 Posted by Slag (4244 posts) -

@Veektarius said:

@Slag: Jazz was in the first Transformers movie - was Armada after that?

If so, that's a shame, Jazz is one of my old favorites. And Hound is interesting too, because even though the character is nothing like Bulkhead, they changed other characters enough (except Prime) that he seemed like an obvious choice for "Green Truck".

Armada was before it - 2002-3 ish I think

for those two they used a different workaround if you look at the their toys their official names are "Autobot Jazz" and "Autobot Hound" now. I think it's a little different with fiction as they can claim in books and film that "Jazz" is a just a nickname for "Autobot Jazz". The trademark issue most deeply affects the toys themselves and deciding on what characters to cast (presumably if Hasbro thinks they won't get sued I guess). Why they just didn't do that with all the characters they lost trademarks to is probably due to lawyers I imagine. I can only guess certain trademark holder are more problematic than others. Certainly would be a lot easier than just adding -blast to everything (or switching names Motormaster has been called "Menasor" which was the combiner form of the stunticons for awhile).

The trademark issue has been a painful lesson for Hasbro, in the G1 and G2 era Hasbro believed that they had to come up with new characters each cycle, which is why they killed Optimus Prime and so many others in the original cartoon movie back in '86 and also why they let trademarks lapse. Only much later did they realize that fans loved the characters they created more than buying random new creations and they'd be better off just making new toys of the characters they already made. Which is why you'll see 8-9 version of each incarnation of Optimus Prime and such.

yeah Tf animated Bulkhead kinda has interesting development history, even then he was rumored to originally was intended to be Ironhide (who ultimately ended being a different character in the series) and was dubbed so in Japan (US Ironhide being called Armorhide over there) as that to help pitch the new movie but the Derrick Wyatt decided he wanted a new identity and reused a new trademark that was still active from energon (Tf Energon Bulkhead was very different - ancient, warlike and goofy). Why he didn't do that with Prowl I couldn't tell you, Tf animated Prowl seems very little like the way Prowl typically is portrayed other than a Police motif.

but whatever it's all worked out for the most part. His TF show was the best since Beast Wars in my opinion.

#25 Posted by Veektarius (4771 posts) -

@Slag: I know a lot of people hated that movie for killing Optimus, but man, the animated movie *was* my childhood. And I still think it's decent, aside from some big continuity errors.

#26 Posted by Slag (4244 posts) -

@Veektarius: I hear that, I love the hell out of that movie. Broke my heart at the time seeing Optimus die like that in the theater, but seems like an Oscar worthy film compared to the live action movies of today.