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TF: Prime revisited


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#1 Treadshot 2.0

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 05:03 PM

Transformers: Prime is grossly underrated by our fandom. When all is said and done, it might actually be the best TF cartoon we've ever gotten.

That's right, I said it.

Having finally sat down and watched this series at length--not in one long sitting, but three or four episodes every day--I am EXTREMELY impressed with the overall quality of the show, the writing, directing, everything. Let me just touch on a few points:


These may contain SPOILERS so stop reading if you haven't seen the show yet. (I'm not putting spoiler texts, all these episodes have already aired.) You have been warned!


* Consequences: Miko is chastised by both other humans and Autobots for her foolish recklessness. Raf is wounded and nearly killed. Jack's mother gets involved in a somewhat realistic manner. Starscream kills Cliffjumper and is almost murdered in cold blood by Arcee, who in turn costs the Autobots a significant strategic advantage. Megatron decides to EXECUTE Starscream for his incompetence!

* Starscream. I have never actually felt SORRY for Starscream before, and his character arc is shaping up to be truly fascinating. He is being established as ACTUALLY underestimated, by EVERYBODY. The Decepticons don't respect him. Autobots take him lightly. Yet he is responsible for the onscreen murder of a major protagonist five minutes into the first episode! His terror, frustration, and desperation was palpable in "Rock Bottom" and "Partners." I actually am kind of rooting for this guy now, in a weird way. I want to see him get his comeuppance on EVERYBODY.

* Megatron. At turns awesome, badass, insane, and unspeakably cruel. His treatment of Starscream in 'rock bottom' was truly, TRULY bad. The way he completely broke Starscream down psychologically and totally undermined his sense of self-worth in the most denigrating manner possible. (in a 'bad guy' way). At the same time, this is a guy who means business. He's less of the Animated subtle, cold, calculating general and more of a warlord. This FEELS like Megatron; he's incredibly powerful, ACTUALLY terrifying, bold, just barely teetering on the edge of losing complete self-control.

* the action scenes. Just amazing. Optimus vs. Megatron in "One Shall Fall" is one of the all-time best Op/Meg fights and definitely better than any fight they had in the trilogy.

* the animation. It's basically movie-quality CGI in a TV show. Watching it in HD for the first time was a real eye-opener. I don't understand complaints about lack of variety, etc. This is NOT Beast Wars. Everything we see is fully realized and there are multiple environments. Sure there aren't a bunch of lush forests but they're located in the Southwest, in a dry, arid place. There are other humans in the world (it's sparsely-populated, but again, it's a small town).

* Shock and awe. Surprise! The guy we're setting up as the initial hero is dead, which has a lasting impact on the storyline and the characters who cared the most about him. Hi/bye perma-deaths for Decepticons. at time brutal robot-on-robot violence. Decepticons actually harming human kids (this happened in G1 too but I was equally surprised to see Daniel crippled in season 4, even if they cyborged the boo-boo away). Unicron is Earth's core. Optimus becoming amnesiac.

* I like the characters. They're interesting. Even Optimus Prime, who was somewhat aloof during most of the season, is now getting a chance to be re-established from the ground up.

In general, I am extremely impressed.

#2 Detour

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 05:28 PM

Debatable on a lot of points, but two I'd like to address specifically:

QUOTE
* Consequences: Miko is chastised by both other humans and Autobots for her foolish recklessness.

When? I think Jack chastises her about it once but follows her along anyway, otherwise Optimus Prime practically hugging encourages it at the end of T.M.I.!


QUOTE
* Shock and awe. Surprise! The guy we're setting up as the initial hero is dead,

I dunno about the shock and awe there, I'd even called it before the premiere. That they did it within the first five minutes severely hurt the impact of it, too. You don't "set up" a hero within the first five minutes alone.

You're far too young to be this bitter and angry at the world....

I'm reading that with Roy's voice. Heck, I read everything you post in a laconic Irish accent.

 


#3 Chip

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 05:37 PM

I agree, Treadshot. I don't see anything replacing Beast Wars in my heart, but I'm not really capable of evaluating Beast Wars objectively. This is a very good show.

QUOTE(Treadshot 2.0 @ Dec 4 2011, 05:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
* I like the characters. They're interesting. Even Optimus Prime, who was somewhat aloof during most of the season, is now getting a chance to be re-established from the ground up.


I'm starting to think Prime's mind wipe will stick. Look at Animated: It seems clear that Hasbro wanted a young, untested Optimus Prime, but they accomplished that by revamping both the character's entire history and the entire concept of what it means to be a "Prime". We hardcore fans got over that because the show was good, but it created a barrier to entry for anyone who came in from the movies or G1 or whatever and expected Transformers to more or less be Transformers. So now we have that young, untested Optimus, but his history is more or less like the Optimus you know, and there's a story reason for why he's different now. This also helps explain why Optimus was so freaking stiff in Season 1; they're creating contrast with the post-wipe version.

Or they'll just undo the whole thing like Primal's death in Beast Wars. But I'm thinking they won't!

Edited by Chip, 04 December 2011 - 05:37 PM.


#4 MrBlud

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 05:48 PM

QUOTE
Transformers: Prime is grossly underrated by our fandom.


It really isn't.

The only things it does better then Animated/Beast Wars is animation and Unicron being the Earth itself (which *is* inspired and BY FAR the best thing about the show.)

Other then that, plot, voice acting, characters, character-arc, etc Prime is extremely lacking.

It's been picking up but for most of the first season I only watched it BECAUSE it was Transformers. I didn't find the show entertaining in the least. I am oddly enough looking forward to Season 2 but it has A LONG WAY to go before it can be included in the same breath as Beast Wars or Animated.

#5 NICK TYRANNO

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 06:23 PM

No, I like it a lot too, Treadshot. Its good stuff. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the aligned universe.

My only complaint remains I want MORE character moments, but that's because I'm greedy and want more of the show in general.

#6 Sprocket

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 06:34 PM

I think I'd like it if the certain characters were stronger. As it is, the Autobots may as well be 'Arcee (with Bulkhead) and her robot friends.' It's like the plot's more important than the characters sometimes, only the plot isn't important because whoops, we forgot to mention all these plot devices until we got to the season finale, our bad.

But hey, no big, there's always the next series, however many years that'll take.

Edited by Sprocket, 04 December 2011 - 06:36 PM.

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#7 Mark Pellegrini

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 06:36 PM

I'm kind of waiting for the blu rays (if they happen) so I can reevaluate the series in a single big helping. As it stands, I kind of lost interest around "Speed Metal" I think it was, or maybe "Convoy". I just wasn't digging the show and found the plots and characters rather dull.

I jumped back in during the big multipart season finale and was blown away; really, really liked what I saw.

So I want to check out what I missed in the middle and maybe see if the first half of the season watches better now that I know what it was building up to, or if its just really lopsided in quality between the first and second half.

Edited by DrSpengler, 04 December 2011 - 06:47 PM.


#8 Silent_Magnus

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 06:38 PM

QUOTE(MrBlud @ Dec 4 2011, 05:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Other then that, plot, voice acting, characters, character-arc, etc Prime is extremely lacking.

Wait, what's wrong with the voice acting?
I think that facet of the show has been pretty great so far.
Only negative that I think qualifies is Optimus being stuck in "trailer narrator" mode, but the season finale made me think that that was deliberate.
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#9 Sprocket

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 06:43 PM

QUOTE(DrSpengler @ Dec 4 2011, 06:36 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
So I want to check out what I missed in the middle and maybe see if the first half of the season watches better now that I know what it was building up to, or if its just really lopsided in quality between the first and second half.

Nothing: It builds up to nothing. Other than cast changes, none of the plot threads introduced in the second half of the season have much if any bearing on the season finale. Rather unique in that regard...

Edited by Sprocket, 04 December 2011 - 06:46 PM.

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#10 Kevin S

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 07:13 PM

As a show that takes itself & the subject manner seriously, it does a fine job. However, I like the in jokes & asides of Beast Wars & Animated, and Prime falls short there.

It also suffers a bit in that CGI always has strings attached, in that new character models & locaels are hard to come by. And water hardly ever is seen.

It isn't a bad show & I respect it, but I prefer a show like Animated. Prime is just a bit too stark & straightforward for my tastes.

And there's too many overt Macguffins of the week, which was fine when I was younger, but now I do like a more complex story. Then again, I'm not the target audience, so I don't chagrin the choice.

Edited by Kevin S, 04 December 2011 - 07:30 PM.

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#11 MrBlud

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 07:17 PM

QUOTE(Silent_Magnus @ Dec 4 2011, 06:38 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE(MrBlud @ Dec 4 2011, 05:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Other then that, plot, voice acting, characters, character-arc, etc Prime is extremely lacking.

Wait, what's wrong with the voice acting?
I think that facet of the show has been pretty great so far.
Only negative that I think qualifies is Optimus being stuck in "trailer narrator" mode, but the season finale made me think that that was deliberate.


Cullen's epic epicness and most of Comb's Ratchet comes across as forced and unnatural.

I don't really have a problem with anyone else. Both Blum and Welker do a fine job but on the other shows everyone was firing on all cylinders.

Edited by MrBlud, 04 December 2011 - 07:18 PM.


#12 Moroboshi

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 07:18 PM

Yep, this show is really resonating with me (Animated started out strong, but eventually lost me in season 3). I just really find these characters likable and enjoy watching them interact; it's a huge draw for me (actually didn't notice the lack of a plot arc, since I was having fun with the characters' personalities being built up with each installment...just seeing how they handle problems , the VAs getting into their roles, etc. But in general, I'm more impressed with someone who can fit a story into a half-hour than the long arc...probably partly because my own writing could stand to be more concise). After the comics' long, drawn-out arcs leading nowhere, gimme TF stories wrapped up in half an hour.

Edited by Moroboshi, 04 December 2011 - 07:21 PM.


#13 Dake

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 07:23 PM

QUOTE(Detour @ Dec 4 2011, 04:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Debatable on a lot of points, but two I'd like to address specifically:

QUOTE
* Consequences: Miko is chastised by both other humans and Autobots for her foolish recklessness.

When? I think Jack chastises her about it once but follows her along anyway, otherwise Optimus Prime practically hugging encourages it at the end of T.M.I.!


In reality she gets chastised nearly every episode (because she does something stupid nearly every episode) and then she turns around and does the exact same thing the very next episode. That's probably my biggest complaint about the show. Otherwise it's fine - she's just grating.
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#14 Moroboshi

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 07:28 PM

Yeah, by the end of this season, they were surprised when Miko DIDN'T seem to be trying something.

#15 D.M

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 07:52 PM

QUOTE(Treadshot 2.0 @ Dec 4 2011, 11:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
When all is said and done, it might actually be the best TF cartoon we've ever gotten.

HAH!
No.

The best TF cartoon would be the one that wouldn't do any stupid idiotic crap (purple griffin, making Earth to be you-know-who, having Earth to be like a magnet for random Cybertronian junk...). A Batman TAS of Transformers. I have yet to see such TF series.

Sure, such TF cartoon will probably never be made, but still, anything could happen.

Edited by D.M, 04 December 2011 - 07:58 PM.


#16 Kickstrike

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 08:17 PM

It hasn't replaced Animated as my favorite Tf series (and I'm doubtful it will), but I'm really enjoying Prime. My only complaints are that Optimus' dullness is a huge letdown after Animated Optimus, and the ever-present annoyingness of Miko. Otherwise, the humans are likeable, the Autobots are likeable, and the 'Cons are effective and entertaining. I do second the motion that the show would be better if it didn't take itself so seriously all the time; however, it does a better job at it than some other shows I won't mention here.


QUOTE(MrBlud @ Dec 4 2011, 07:17 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE(Silent_Magnus @ Dec 4 2011, 06:38 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE(MrBlud @ Dec 4 2011, 05:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Other then that, plot, voice acting, characters, character-arc, etc Prime is extremely lacking.

Wait, what's wrong with the voice acting?
I think that facet of the show has been pretty great so far.
Only negative that I think qualifies is Optimus being stuck in "trailer narrator" mode, but the season finale made me think that that was deliberate.


Cullen's epic epicness and most of Comb's Ratchet comes across as forced and unnatural.

I'll give you Cullen, but Combs' Ratchet is basically the same as the Question, only he's a mad scientist instead of a conspiracy theorist.

On your other "points," I can counter them with this: the plot is in essentially the same place it was in Beast Wars; there was a multi-part opener (Beast Wars 1-2, Darkness Rising 1-5), a plot central episode in between (The Trigger, Sick Mind/Out of His Head), and a big damn finals that sets up lot of plot threads for the next season (Other Voices 1-2, One Shall Rise/One Shall Fall 1-3) with buttloads of episodic/Macguffin of the week comprising most of the season. Granted, the quality of them is debatable, but they're going about it the exact same way. Individually, there have been some weak episodes (Masters and Students, T.M.I.) in Prime, but there have been strong, character driven episodes like Scrapheap, Predatory, Operation Breakdown, Crisscross, and Partners.

As for your complaint about characters and character-arcs; Arcee. She is the character with the most development in the entire season. It's all started by Cliffjumper's death, but she develops as a character through the season, culminating in Partners. She's already contesting Blackarachnia for the title of "Best Female Transformer ever," and she does it without being there just to be the Token Girl, like how BA was the Femme Fatale trope in her introduction, or how Override was made the Token Girl for Cybertron's dub.

As for the rest of the voice actors, everyone is doing pretty great in their roles. Heck, I hate Miko, and I won't deny her VA is doing a good job. Welker is better than he's ever been as Megatron. And then you have Daran Norris and Blum as Knock Out and Starscream, the most fun roles in the show.

Edited by Spin Out, 04 December 2011 - 08:20 PM.

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#17 Detour

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 08:34 PM

Combs has his moments, and kicked massive butt in Stronger, Faster, but honestly?
His "gone mad with the science" schtick from Masters & Students was irritating at best.

You're far too young to be this bitter and angry at the world....

I'm reading that with Roy's voice. Heck, I read everything you post in a laconic Irish accent.

 


#18 Benbot

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 09:03 PM

Yeah, it's pretty good, but I think the show needs a larger cast. And I still have a hard time getting around the stylized super-deformed Animated-esque designs. I wish they could just do them straight up instead of insisting on weird cartoony characteristics.

#19 Sprocket

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 09:15 PM

QUOTE(Benbot @ Dec 4 2011, 09:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yeah, it's pretty good, but I think the show needs a larger cast.

What? No. Beast Wars got along just fine with a cast of 5 on each side: just give several characters more interesting personality quirks that make them chafe with each other (Even the internal conflict among the Decepticons comes off as a bit forced at times in my eyes) and maybe we'll have an interesting show.
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#20 Thylacine2000

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 09:16 PM


TFP is a very good to excellent cartoon. It isn't as overall fun and well-paced as Animated, but it's still a damn sight better than any other toy-based cartoon I've seen in over a decade.

The characterization and voice work--with the exception of Prime himself in both cases--are top notch. The character-based story arcs that have been developed since more or less "Predatory" have been great. The writing team did nothing to universe-build until 4 eps from the end of season 1, leading to a real roller-coaster ride that has only served to make the handful of crappy early season eps even more forgettable than they already were.

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