I managed to check out a few of the flagship shows for Hasbro’s new television network The Hub. Mostly, the first two episodes of Transformers: Prime, and the first two episodes of G.I. Joe: Renegades.
I’ll talk about Joe in a later post, but I’ll begin with Transformers: Prime. I’m a huge Transformers fan. Now, I know people say this in this day and age and they’ve only ever seen the new crappy Michael Bay movies or something. No – I’m a huuuuge Transformers fan. I own every G1 show, both American and Japanese (and almsit all of the commercials), I’m trying to complete the Unicron trilogy (I just need Transformers: Cybertron now), I loved Transformers: Animated and I was eagerly anticipating Transformers: Prime.
Transformers: Prime is all CGI and is basically Optimus Prime leading a rag-tag group of about four or so Autobots against Megatron, Starscream, Soundwave and a slew of Decepticon “drones” on Earth. Nobody knows about the Transformers yet, so the Autobots have to keep everything a secret. Three kids happen across the robots, so know they’re the only ones, aside from the government who know about the Transformers. Anyways, Megatron was exiled in space somehow and happens upon a substance known as “the blood of Unicron” which can raise the dead. The DEcepticons kill Cliffjumper (a new version of him, basically a red mustang) and revive him – but he’s a mindless, vicious zombie who kills anything in his path. The second episode ends with Cliffjumper beign destroyed again and Megatron stabbing himself in his spark with a knife full of the blood of Unicron to change somehow. Will he change into Galvatron so soon? Who knows?
I want to like this series, I really do. But there’s nothing fresh about this at all. It’s written by the two guys who wrote the last two Michael Bay Transformers movies and that kinda shows. There’s not a lot that’s their idea, other than turning Cliffjumperr into a zombie, and I don’t know how I feel about that (okay, I do know -- it's stupid!). Bumblebee is back to being a Camero who can’t talk (he communicates in beeps and boops), Optimus is the movie version and voiced by Peter Cullen (cool!), RC is a bike who is voiced by original RC voice Susan Blu (double cool!), and Bulkhead is recycled exactly from Transformers: Animated, as is this show’s version of Ratchet. On the Decepticon’s side, Megatron is voiced by Frank Welker (finally! And hearing him now, I’m really resentful of Michael Bay and Shia LeBeuf saying in interviews that he sounded too old to play Megatron in the first movie – they were obviously lying. Why lie when you know you will eventually be caught??), Starscream (who wants to take over the Decepticons, naturally), and Soundwave (voiced and super-processed by Frank Welker again). The rest of the Decepticon ranks are just mindless drones.
As with most TF series, there will be more characters later, I guess. But what is here feels tired and done before. At least with, say, Transformers: Armada, the TF’s fought for control of mini-cons that could enhance their powers. Or with Transformers: Cybertron, they needed to collect cyber-keys to awaken Cybertron to transform into Primus to stave off a black hole that threatens to destroy the galaxy. In this one, I’m not sure what’s happening that hasn’t been done before. What’s worse is that this show could have been a direct sequel to Transformers: Animated, seeing as how they rip off characters and design ideas from that show, if it didn’t take place in the present day (Transformers: Animated took place in the future sometime).
I’ll have to wait and see what this show does (as with most Transformers shows – I thought Beast Wars was going to suck, but it just got better and better). But judging by the first two episodes, it’s just alright. It doesn’t really grab me. And that's a little sad.
Transformers: Prime - pilot