10pm and I need to start blogging.

Todays topic comes from the 80’s.
The Transformers.
Of all the toys, of all the cartoons, of all the things about the 80’s, I think Transformers comes out on top.
At least to me it does.
Sure, you had things like GI Joe, RoboTech(how did I miss this?!?), He-Man and a handful of other toy/cartoon series. And to a degree they were successful, some more than others.
But to this day, I don’t think of GI Joe or He-Man, just Transformers.

Now, you could say this is a little sqwed by the fact that I’m an anime nut and Transformers does fill that whole anime thing rather nicely.
That could be true, but for the purpose of this post let’s just pretend that it’s not the case.

I’ve recently been going back and visiting the old cartoon haunts of my youth, and I’ve come to the sadish conclusion that you really can’t go home again.
This is mostly true with Transformers.

I purchased the first season on DVD and sat down to watch it almost immediately.
The first three episodes brought me right back to Oromocto NB, to a friends house(too bad I’m crap with names) that lived right across the street from me.
We had all gathered to watch the first episode of Transformers, and I don’t think we blinked once!
All the action, all the transformations, this was all new to us, and it seared right into our brains.
As soon as it was done we all ran outside and replayed the whole episode.
I remember vividly that Chris was Jazz as he could do that jump/crouch/transform thing. The fact that he didn’t become a Porsche is merely a technicality.
He could mimic it the best, and therefore the role was his.
Can’t remember who I was, maybe SoundWave. Hard to say.
Suffice to say that Transformers was the big thing on everyones Christmas list that year.

But that was then, and that was the first three episodes. To this day I don’t think they expected it to be the hit that it was and had only planned the mini-series.
Right after that the animation went downhill fast, and only near the end of the first season did it start to pick up again.
The second season was much better. While there were still some odd stories and random animation problems, overall I think it was the best of the four.
That season went ‘combiner’ crazy.
At first you had Devistator, which was the combination of the Constructicons.
And all was good.
Then came the Aerialbots, Combaticons ,Predacons ,Stunticons and the Protectobots.
Most of these had a back story, but I swear that the Predacons and Protectobots just appeared out of nowhere!
The plots for the second season went all well and good, but near the end I think they threw continuity out the door just to make some plots work.
Oh well. At that age it really didn’t matter.

1986 introduced The Transformers Movie.
This was awesome!
A whole movie about the Transformers.
I think, either that year or the year before, we got the He-Man movie(animated) and it was cool, but Transformers was where it was at.
I’m not sure how well I remembered that movie, I think parts of it were blocked out.
Not that it was bad, but for the fact that it was so dark.
When in the first 30 minutes you kill off most, if not all, of the original cast members, where the hell do you go from there?
And it’s not like they were assumed, off camera deaths either. These were in your face, ain’t coming back kinda deaths.
And they killed off both Optimus Prime and Megatron!
How do you do that?!?

I watched the remastered version of the movie today, and that’s what started the idea for the post.
In the extras, it talks about the killing of Optimus Prime.
It’s funny to see their rational behind it. Funny, and it makes a whole lot of sense.
In their mind, all they did was remove the 1985 line and introduce the 1986 line of toys.
Totally logical. Except that it scared half of the kids that saw the movie.
They got so many letters about that. There were kids crying in the theater, kids not wanting to come out of their rooms, people leaving the movie, it was chaos.
The producers said that, if they had to do it all over again, that they probably wouldn’t have killed him off.

I don’t know about that. I have a feeling that the hype of the movie has lasted this long because of what they did.
It sticks out in peoples minds.
It’s a part of history.

Sadly, it’s also the turning point in the Transformers lifecycle in the US.

The third season took place right after the movie, and I mean like 20 minutes after the movie.
I don’t think it did as well. Sure, there were new characters, but they didn’t have the same punch as the older guys.
Maybe because we didn’t know them as well, or the quality of the writing had changed?
Whatever the reason, season 4 was a whopping three episodes long. And all it did was attempt to introduce more gimmicks.

But the early Transformers will always have a place in my heart and in my childhood.
Sure, all it was trying to do was get my to buy more toys, but I didn’t care.
It was cool. And that’s what childhood should be about.
Cool Saturday morning cartoons.

That’s something that’s lacking in todays world.
Trust me, I’ve been watching ^_^


  1. thinkschematwo

    Ah, Transformers…

    Who didn’t like Bumblebee… er… Soundwave, yeah, Soundwave!

    And, of course, Gary Chalk []… most recently seen by me on Cold Squad. He was in a ton of stuff I remember fondly too!

    I have to agree about lousy Saturday morning TV too. (Worse when you’ve only got 4 channels… TVO has some stuff though… All through the week too… but nothing that reeks of cool…)

  2. sidekickca

    Well, according to that link, the last time I saw him was in Eureka.
    Fun show that.
    Can’t wait for the next season to show up.


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