People talk about many different shows happening right now, but no one I follow is really talking about the newest Transformers entry on Netflix! Is it because there’s no controversy? To me, this show represents one of the most complete visions of the war between the Autobots and Decepticons ever brought to screen.
Seriously. And so few people are talking about this one that only the first part has a score on Rotten Tomatoes! I get that it gets its namesake from a video game, but c’mon man! Look, If you are a fan of the Transformers, you should check out this series. If you ARE NOT a fan of the giant robot franchise, this is actually a pretty solid entry point into the lore.
This show is definitely made to appeal to adult audiences, but I think kids would enjoy it.
Anyway, jumping in…
Siege: What You Get from Part 1
You actually get to see the war on Cybertron without all of those pesky humans getting in the way somehow (like in some of the older versions of the series). You get male and female characters. You get to see old legendary characters actually playing out their roles that you often only heard about in other iterations. You get to see actual character motivations (e.g. Why is Megatron so malevolent? Why does Optimus Prime fight? Why don’t they get along beyond the old ‘good’ vs ‘evil’ trope?).
The first few episodes (I believe each portion of the trilogy is five-to-six 30-minute episodes) fill in holes that have existed in the animated and movie lore for YEARS. And it also successfully takes a few things from the comics and condenses them in a way that’s true to the characters.
You’ll see alliances shift and military acts of cunning played out.
Anyway – worth giving a shot if you’re curious, and I don’t think I spoiled anything that’s not in the trailer.
Earthrise: What You Get from Part 2
The biggest thing you get from the second portion of the trilogy is WHY IN THE HELL do the Transformers shoot off into space and what’s at the center of the beef between Optimus and Megatron. You also start seeing the interplay of a number of core external villains to the characters.
Now, admittedly – what you don’t get from the series thus far is how the hell are they human vehicles? It is never explained in the series. My guess is that this series is meant to take place AFTER the giant robots have already interacted with the human species to fashion themselves after the designs of some of our modes of transportation and utility vehicles, but… something in part 3 makes me wonder if that’s actually true. It is the biggest plot hole in the series to me, but it’s a point of belief you have to let go of in order to just take in what you’re watching.
Speaking of part 3…
Kingdom: What You Get from Part 3
This is in the trailer – I’m not spoiling anything — YOU GET THE MOTHERF*****G CHARACTERS FROM BEAST WARS!!!! Yes, the next movie in the hit-or-miss live-action movie portion of the franchise is supposed to feature the characters from the beloved Beast Wars installment of Transformers, but I’m not holding my breath that they do that correctly. But THIS? They do THIS right.
You don’t get the full cast of Beast Wars, but you get a lot of the fan favorites. You get the Primes meeting and the Megatrons meeting! This is just fan service at this point, but the story also makes sense! You get a lot of mysteries being answered in terms of the natures of certain key elements of the Transformers universe (I won’t spoil that for you), and you get some form of closure.
This portion deviates from the established course set by previous installments in the franchise, but – honestly – I’m not mad at the liberties they take, and I don’t think you will be either.
I know that this was all probably a big ploy to reintroduce the Beast Wars characters into the mind of the viewing public before the new movie starts really getting promoted, but I don’t care. This is a great wrap-up of the rest of the trilogy, as it’s established throughout all of the other episodes, and I honestly love it.
Overall – This is Quick and Good
This series doesn’t overstay its welcome. It takes a bunch of really old storylines and weaves them together beautifully in what feels like a well-done supercut of some stuff I would’ve done back when I was little and into action figures if I could write a reasonably good script at that age. I think they nail that part of the nostalgia and they did it with the fans in mind AND the core character traits at play.
They manage to create something new and fresh without disrespecting the past. The animation is GORGEOUS. And they’re clearly knowledgeable enough of their subject that they know what things they can play with and what things they shouldn’t touch but amp up (in a good way).
You see some low moments in this show (from an emotional beat), but you also get such satisfying payoff moments.
If you were a fan of anything Transformers in the past, this is worth your time. If you have kids that you want to bring into the fold, this is it! The live-action movies have been the torchbearer for the franchise as of late, but I really think THIS should be as it’s a return to form while giving us A LOT of history along the way (and I’m not even 100% sure if this show will be considered canon).
I don’t have a rating system for shows that I talk about on this blog, but if I did – this one would get high marks. You can watch it over the weekend. You would be doing it for the Culture (of Geekdom). Why are you still reading this? Stop it and go watch the first episode of the series if you have access to Netflix.