Friday, August 4, 2017

Top 5 Transformers Cartoons

Last week, I wrote about my top 5 80s cartoon reboots and said "I could have easily made this about the top Transformers reboots because there have been over a dozen iterations of the battle between the Autobots and Decepticons."  It's true!  There are a metric ton of Transformers cartoons and they all run the gamut from fantastic to eyeball-stabbingly terrible. 


And now we're getting a new one - Transformers: Cyberverse!  This show promises to take us back through the Transformers's entire history, doing cartoons inspired from every show produced, even Generation 1.

So I think it's high time I go through every iteration of the Transformers and pick my all time 5 favorite series.

5. Beast Machines
Beast Machines did something new for Transformers and in some aspects it worked.  It turned the act of transforming from something Cybertronions took for granted into a meaningful event.  They had to learn to transform all over again, something that took a lot of concentrations and sometimes lead to failure.  I know it was too big of a change for some people - they thought the animation of it, with the model just kinda morphing into the other model, and the new cheesy motto "I am transformed" being a little too much for people to accept.  But what it did with the characters, notably Rhinox, was something unexpected and honestly, refreshing.

4. Transformers: Prime
Prime started out great - awesome animation with fantastic models, Frank Welker finally back as Megatron, and a rounded out cast of interesting Autobots and Decepticons.  The kids were probably the best human characters since Generation 1 (I fall in the small camp that actually likes Miko), and we had Ernie Hudson doing a spot on job as Agent Fowler, probably the coolest human in any Transformers fiction. The show had a ton of promise, but went off the rails a bit in the last season, dropping interesting threads and killing off awesome characters for no good reason.  Overall, I'd say this show didn't stand above the rest story-wise, but this is probably the most well-produced series so far.

3. Generation 1

I'm sure this is controversial, not putting G1 on the top of the list, but as much as I loved it as a kid and can still watch it today, it's got some serious flaws that I cannot overlook.  I mean, it was written just like any other 80s cartoon, where plots were spit out by various teams with out any consistency.  Animation studios didn't care how the final product looked.  But even with those problems, the original series is endearing as hell and so many great shows have followed in its wake, it's impossible to not still love this show thirty-some years later.  It holds up to this day as a monumentally fun watch, and definitely one I plan on sharing with my kids as well.

2. Transformers: Animated
Do I really need to go into this again?  Yeah, because there's a lot I didn't cover in the last list.  I talked about how different it was from the original show, but I didn't really talk about what made this show so awesome on its own.  First, the voice cast is excellent.  David Kaye, who voiced MEgatron in about 5 different Transformers series, took a turn as a young Optimus Prime and did an outstanding job at it.  Corey Burton, originally Shockwave in the G1 cartoon, upgraded to Megatron, giving him such an evil voice, especially with the Decepticon's new war cry - "Transform and Rise Up!"  I think it also has one of the absolute worst deaths in the show - truly heartbreaking with how brutal and heartless it was.

Before I go into number 1, I want to give an honorable mention to Rescue Bots. 
When I first heard about this show being for the younger kids, I wrote it off as a bunch of sappy nonsense.  But once my son was born, I decided to try it out and found it was a very fun show.  I never thought a show could do so well without the Decepticons ever showing up.  The cast of characters - human and Autobot are interesting and the techno-savvy town is a great backdrop to their learning adventures.  The fact that this show crosses over often with Transformers: Prime, and a character from it has joined the cast of Prime's spin-off, Robots in Disguise is such an awesome touch.  The show's end came pretty abruptly, but there's a new cartoon, Rescue Bots Academy taking it's place with new characters that I can't wait to introduce my boy to.

1. Beast Wars
Beast Wars takes place in the far-flung future of the Autobots and Decepticons, after the end of the Great War.  Maximals and Predacons have become the new Cybertronians, and peace has ruled for hundreds of years.  During an exploratory trip, Optimus Primal's ship is shot down and crashes on an alien world.  Megatron follows them down onto the planet, covered with unstable energon.  They take on beast modes to protect them from the radiation and a new war begins.  Everyone thought this show was a new beginning for the Transformers, their leaders in new bodies and commanding all different troops.  But come the second season finale, when this new Megatron finds the Ark filled with offline Autobots and Decepticons, you realize this is somehow past, present, and future of the original show.  It was a stunning reveal.  Sparks, the life force of the Transformers and their version of a soul, started here and have become a staple of Transformers lore from here on out.  It's had a long lasting effect on Transformers and is widely considered the very best Transformers has had to offer in its long history.
 

 


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