With the end of Transformers Animated the legion of bots fans eagerly looked to the future to see what came next. Thank the Allspark but we didn’t have long to wait. This holliday weekend launched the beginning of Transformers Prime, a new show that draws from both new and old in a fresh series on an older franchise.
Transformers have been around for twenty six years and produced numerous shows, movies and even a successful pair of live action shows, so coming up with new concepts for shows is getting more and more difficult. In Transformers Prime we see the familiar robots stranded on earth once again. Much like the movie and the recent video games War on Cybertron, the home planets of the bots has been ravaged and left barren after a civil war. Now on earth, and working with the US government, the bots patrol Earth’s surface looking for the Decepticons and the hidden Energon deposits. When Megatron returns to earth armed with Dark Energon, the plot device for the show or at least the first season, he threatens the status quo for the cons. The dark energon provides evil leader with the ability to resurrect a fallen bot as a mindless robot. Megatron has the ability to make zombie robots.
The show draws numerous aspects, in both look and feel, from the successful movie franchise and from Transformers Animated. Bumblebee is a camaro-like car and can only speak using R2D2 beeps and squeaks. Optimus Prime has a removable mouth plate like in the movies. Ratchet and Bulkhead both draw their personalities heavily from the previous series.
The animation and story feel oddly familiar, reminiscent of the highly successful and critically acclaimed Beast Wars. Much like the classic series which replaced cars with animals the bots were given deeper personalities and even engaged in romance. In Prime, we see the cons care for each other, and even love one another. Arcee is in love with Cliffjumper and is torn when he dies (not a spoiler, it was in the trailer lol). This forces her to reach out to a human who can understand despite her dislike for the civilian fleshbags. If the show continues with this strong trend we will have another emotionally deep Transformers series on our hands.
The shows only drawback is once again the children. The human has always been the weak link in any Transformers series. The humans are always awkwardly treated and feel like they have been trust clumsily into events and sadly that seems to be the case again. We have the child genius who is smarter then any other human and is the computer expects for a team of living robots, the 17 years teenager, and the rich punk defiant Asian daughter looking for adventure. These three are hardly characters that the children viewers can relate two. I am aware that having the human aspect is required on Earth but I would like for the show to creature regular humans that seem to have a point to the show and not just some token characters.
The voice acting requires special mention. Transformers Primer marks the return of Peter Cullen and Frank Welker in their legendary roles of Optimus Prime and Megatron. Cliffjumper’s voice is provided by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnston (before dying faster than a Redshirt disguised as a Stormtrooper) Star Trek’s Jeffery Combs as Ratchet and US Goverment Special Agent Bill Fowler, who acts as the liaison for the Autobots, is voiced by Ernie Hudson from Ghostbusters fame.
Just like Young Justice and GI Joe, the show is not perfect but it is miles above most of what’s on TV right now and should not be missed.
Transform and Roll Out!!