We’re all about comics here at Panels on Pages, but a geek cannot live on comics alone. Outside the Longbox is our chance to spotlight something outside our typical four-color realm – be it movies, music, TV or whatever.
”I’ve only got one episode to go on for Prime… The CGI animation and character designs immediately turned me off, as did the insistence on Bumblebee talking through sound effects. Oh, and don’t get me started on the trio of children at the Autobots’ side. After watching the final episode of the five part series premier, I can honestly say there’s not a thing about this show that would prompt me to come back for more, and that’s a damned shame.“
Ah, the words of a brash fanboy set in his ways. Fortunately, I was wrong, right down to the last sentence. As the Prime toys have rolled out from Hasbro, they’ve increasingly drawn my attention and – as a result – curiosity. The toys stand on their own merits, which makes them fantastic custom fodder, but the quality of the designs absolutely piqued my interest in the source material. As such, I gave the series another go.
The first five parter is still rough, I won’t lie. Some elements of the CGI models still rub me the wrong way, too. The eyebrows are kind of insane at times – all the moreso because why the hell do robots have eyebrows at all? Same with he mouths and, worse yet, Megatron’s teeth. Aaaaaaaand then there’s the kids. Their role in everything remains a bit dubious, though some episodes DO make a more-than-compelling argument for the Autobots to rely on more native allies.
What really pulls the show together is the one-two punch of some of the most flawless computer animation around and an ongoing narrative tapestry rich in both plot and character development. Throwaway lines of dialog are revisited, gaffs in logic adressed, and most importantly characters change. In a show called “Transformers” that’s especially crucial. Not everything’s perfect, but there’s a mountain of right to make up for the moments that go wrong.
Perhaps most impressive, if only as it is most surprising, is the decidedly dark tone of the show. Some characters die. Other sustain lasting injuries. And EVERYONE deals with the fallout. Then there’s Silas – voiced by Clancy Brown – who so far as I’ve gotten in season two has one of the most perfect villainous character arcs ever. I know we here often bemoan the inclusion of humans in Transformers lore, but this character more than makes up for some of his lesser counterparts. His rivalry with Agent Fowler – aka Ernie Hudson – aka my pick for GW Bridge -is a great addition to the show.
Ultimately, there ARE hurdles you’ll have to make it past in trying to enjoy this show. But they’re all up front, and once you get them out of the way, it’s nothing but uphill from there. The season one finale is where I truly got hooked, and the only hiccup since has been the wholly unnecessary mid-season two clipshow. MID SEASON TWO! Anyone who hasn’t been able to follow along or get caught up probably isn’t really going to appreciate the layered pathos of the show anyhow.
Give this one a chance PoP!ulation – or a second chance if you walked away too soon. It’s almost worth it for the Cullen-isms alone!
Filed Under: Outside the Longbox