Monday, November 29, 2010

G.I. Joe: Renegades episodes 1 and 2 review

I managed to catch G.I. Joe: Renegades, one of the many flagship shows that premiered on Hasbro's new TV network "The Hub" this past weekend. Of this and Transformers: Prime, I preferred Renegades. It was truer to the feel of the old Joe comics and cartoons, truer to the characters (at least the Joes), and as a show, it was really solid. As a G.I. Joe show attached to merchandise – not so much.

G.I. Joe: Renegades, judging by the first two episodes I saw, is about Joe soldiers Duke, Roadblock, Snake Eyes, Tunnel Rat and Ripcord being recruited by Scarlett for a mission to uncover popular pharmaceutical, multi-national corporation Cobra as the terrorist front operation they are. Cobra troops capture the Joes, blow up one of their plants and frame the Joes for it (oh, and ripcord dies in the blast). Now Duke, Scarlet and the boys are being chased by the government as loose-cannon fugitives with a possible terrorist agenda. Back at headquarters, Lady Jay still works for the government, but sympathises with Duke's crew and tries to help them secretly as best she can. Flint is assigned by the White House to hunt down Duke and the fugitives and bring them to justice. So Duke and the gang travel the land trying to clear their names and expose Cobra for the ruthless terrorist organization they are. In the second episode, Duke’s gang are trapped in Springfield (the Cobra-owned town from the comics) and defend the town from a Dr. Mindbender spawned bio-monster. The townspeople are wary of Dukes renegades at first, but hail them as heroes when they save the town. Flint almost catches them in the end, but is secretly thwarted by Lady Jay.

I really like this show in an A-Team sort of way. I get the impression with these Hub shows that Hasbro isn’t really trying to sell toys with these shows. They’re just shows, and as scatter-brained and tired as Transformers: Prime is, G.I. Joe: Renegades seems more focused and better able to tell a decent story. It’s much more mature than the old 80’s series, and as a result I foresee little kids not caring about this show. But if you’re above the age of 18, you’ll really dig this, and if you remember these characters from your cildhood, you’ll really love it. It’s a nice, fresh take on things (you hear that Transformers: Prime??).

I’m not a big fan of the designs of the Cobra guys in this show, but then again we really don’t see much of them in these pilot episodes. The troops look more like security guards, which I guess is the point. Baroness is Baroness – I mean, how do you screw her up? Dr. Mind-bender is just some geek kid in a white doctor’s jacket. That’s it. You do glimpse what I guess is the new Cobra Commander (referred to as “The Commander”) at the end of the second episode. It’s an interesting design. His face looks like the Spider-Man villain The Chameleon, but half of it is covered diagonally with a cloth wrap covering his left eye and diagonally across so that his entire mouth is covered. I like that there’s still some mystery to what his entire face possibly looks like. But, those are all of the Cobra characters that appeared in those two episodes. Unless I missed something, there was no Destro, Zartan, Tomax and Xamot, etc.

So, I liked G.I. Joe: Renegades. The toys will be boring as all hell (the vehicle designs looked like the usual stuff – nothing to write home about), but the show is neat.

G.I. Joe: Renegades – pilot



P.S. Now that Hasbro has their own network and is turning their toy properties into TV series, it's time to bring back The Inhumanoids! Who's with me?

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