Friday, February 3, 2012

More Than Meets the Eye

Recently I've been watching a lot of the Transformers animated series. The HUB, a new animated channel that sprung up on my cable about a year ago, had been airing the original series for a long time. I watched that, but found myself longing for the series that ran after the movie. My wish was been granted a few weeks ago and luckily I started recording it just at the beginning.

Though I was a fan of the original episodes when they first aired, watching them again last year, I found the concept to be a bit stale. The second series however is much more entertaining. I remember watching those too, every day right after school. The key to these episodes is the expansion of the story. Set decades in the future from the original, this is more of traditional science fiction series. It hardly ever takes place on Earth and introduces all sorts of alien races with endless consequences.

The second generation of characters are also better. Galvatron, the reincarnation of Megatron, is cunning and more evil. Cybertron in once again in the hands of the Autobots, led by Hot Rod after Optimus Prime's death, though he is resurrected a dozen or so episodes in. Both sides have a shared enemy, the Quintessons. These are devious creatures, much like the Daleks in Doctor Who. In addition there is plenty of alien mythology thrown in with each new civilization they meet. Of course, there is still element of the show where each episode is used to introduce a new toy, especially the endless string of merging super-Transformers. But that's okay, the more the merrier.

It's a shame those horrible movies have sullied the franchise. In it's heyday, it was a revolutionary American cartoon, taking elements of Japanese style and bringing them here. It certainly was one of the prime stories that captured and shaped my young imagination. It's nice to know that it still has the power to do so.

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