More than Meets the Eye

Hoo, felt good to get that last one off my chest. On to happier subjects.

Recently, I watched Transformers Prime. To be scrupulously precise I watched all 44 episodes that were out at the time, in a sitting. And, uh, holy crap.

Now, I never watched the first show, so I don't have the "the original work is always the best" imbecility of those who claim, for example, that the Ninja Turtles comics are better than the 1987 show (those people are responsible for the 2003 show, which I feel is a sufficient refutation of their argument—and their claim to human rights). But I have a working knowledge of portions of the mythos. And this is, far and away, the most uniformly pleasing iteration it has yet had.

I wouldn't say, as I often do, "kids get everything", because no way in hell is this a kids' show. E.g., Arcee having PTSD flashbacks to being tortured by Airachnid, Bulkhead vomiting blood after exposure to Megatron's chemical weapons (the full effects of which are explicitly shown in a flashback), Airachnid telling Jack she's going to make him decide how she kills his mother. You know, for kids!

Nevertheless, top-notch. I can't think of a character I don't like, other than that Miko is a psychopath with no conception of "consequences", but she gets called out on it by everyone else (I especially liked Starscream: "You like playing with the big robots, don't you, little girl?"—said as he's swatting at her with the 3-foot jointed scythe-blades he uses for fingers).

The Autobots, if you think about it, are basically the High Elves from Tolkien, except not tainted at the source by a Kinslaying (though they regard the destruction of Cybertron in a similar light). Meanwhile the Decepticons are, pretty much, vampires (I'm actually thinking of having a character in my vampire book compare one of the vampires to Starscream)—immortal, motivated purely by greed, ambition, and/or fear, and perpetually trying to one-up each other.

Interesting worldbuilding, especially RE: the Primus/Unicron titanomachy, which is the thing I think all Transformers continuities share in some form. Though I'm surprised that, between the fact the Autobots' leader (in all continuities) is a divinely-appointed holy-warrior whose title is basically (given what Primus is to them) "the godly Optimus", and that the Prime-continuity Cybertronians subsist solely on the blood of their god (that's what Energon is this time around), there hasn't been some outcry by the militant atheists or the Pat Pulling types.

And I'm seriously impressed by the writers' restraint, having Jeffrey Combs and not having a single Re-Animator reference. Well, aside from that the synthetic Energon resembles Herbert West's re-agent. But really, still, kudos on your self-control, that you don't have a single Re-Animator joke despite having Jeffrey Combs and a zombie apocalypse (though, I mean, "giant robot zombie apocalypse" is really an embarrassment of riches, guys).

So, supposedly, the people who wrote this are also the writers from the movies. Only, what went wrong? I mean, just one example, Optimus Prime could no more utter the words "my bad" than Aragorn Elessar could call someone "homeslice". I'm assuming this is one of those instances where we really do have to blame the director; writers have a lot less control over films than people think.

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