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View Full Version : Inflatable Dalek's Rewatch the Cartoon Thread.


inflatable dalek
2014-01-09, 04:37 PM
Currently off work (hopefully for just a couple of days) with a bad back, and- in-between trying every sort of cure bar a massage (though if any of you want to offer, I hear Hound has sensual hands), and am passing time, as well as celebrating the anniversary, by watching The Transformers cartoon!

More Than Meets the Eye:

I know this series isn't especially known for being brilliantly written, but most of the dialogue here is really perfunctory, even by the standards of later episodes. I've often joked the sound design on the series means it's a better radio show than a cartoon but Bloom seems to seriously think he's writing for the wireless as characters blandly say what they see All The Time (the low point being the "Look...an asteroid!" "Another one" "They're going to collide!", if nothing else it could have been just covered by one "Two asteroids on collision course!" line) with very few of the flourishes that will make the characters more distinct as the show goes on.

Mind, any time a character does try to be witty it tends to fall flat, so perhaps he's was better off keeping everyone very staid.

You also wouldn't think a story that had so many characters and backstory to introduce could wind up with lots of padding, but impressively this pilot manages it. Not only could you easily lop off at least one of the Decepticon's raids, the scene where Ravage attacks a van in completely and utterly pointless. And yet poor old Windcharger still doesn't get a line?

Good points? General inoffensiveness, and Hound is ****ing awesome. He talks like Jimmy Stewart! He's the only Autobot who seems to have a sense of fun about him! Why didn't he go on to do great things?

Also, the fact Optimus fails to save the day (and how pissed off he is as a result), leaving everything to Mirage, is really nicely done and even after all these years and all these viewings still mildly surprising.

I'm glad they dropped "Activate the null ray!" as a catchphrase as well, it's pants.

Transport to Oblivion:

Well, I've waxed lyrical before about how daft getting back in touch with Cybertron straight away is, and it goes without saying it's done in a completely undramatic way (would it really have hurt to wait until some more toys had to be introduced?), but a mostly harmless little episode a fun fight in a cave that just about manages to make you forget it's only two episodes since they had a fight in a cave.

It's really weird to think that there wasn't a gap between the broadcast of the mini-series and this, between the Autobots forgetting they were going home and the repetition of the cave fight it's as if the writers were just assuming a week would be long enough for kids to forget what happened in the pilot.

Roll For It:

Portraying disabled characters in fiction: Good. Going down the Extreme Ghostbusters route of really, insanely over compensating for their disability: Bad. You can portray your wheelchair bound character in a positive light without him rolling (and aren't we glad the season 1 episode titles aren't on-screen?) into a pitched battle and defeating giant robots without getting squashed. It's pushing it when Spike does it, and least he doesn't have trouble with uneven surfaces.

Divide and Conqour:

Despite more Chip silliness (like surviving acid rain... thankfully, IIRC, the show calms down a bit after this and just treats him as the smart guy) probably the best of this first bunch of episodes. It's fast, has a more tense feeling than usual, features some fantastic Huffer moaning and the ending is probably where Cullen shifts gears from "Pretty damn cool" too "Iconic".

The biggest surprise so far is how I'm not minding Megatron's voice as much as I used too, has gaining new respect for Welker's take through Prime mellowed me?

Cliffjumper
2014-01-09, 05:32 PM
Hound's definitely being set up as Child Association Character in MTMTE, with Trailbreaker as back-up and - weirdly - Jazz as a very straight-forward non-flashy 2IC guy. The other odd thing is how little the various Minibots get to do (does Gears join Windy in silence? Brawn and Huffer are only really in the bit with the oil rig, Bumblebee gets a couple of bits and Cliffjumper's barely seen after his early sketch); presumably someone realised they really needed to push the pocket money guys as gateway drugs.

It's one of the most ADD cartoon episodes too; there are, what, 47 plots in there - set piece after set piece after set piece. They got an entire second season out of that many ideas.

I do like the way the first series has a very vague arc or at least structure to it... it might be the stable cast (with all the new ones having an origin/introduction) but it feels more like one solid thing than anything up to the second series of Beast Wars did.

That does mean the next couple blend into one a bit for me. I do hate Chip, though. Spike's all well and good (especially compared to Daniel) for what he is, just a nice kid, and Sparkplug's awesome in a square stupid bloke kind of way (across the series he wracks up a very good tally of absolutely diabolical dialogue), but Chip's just too much of a plot device.

Divide and Conquer I actually quite dislike. It clips along nicely but the sheer imbalance is just too annoying (if not unique to that episode) - that the Autobots are toast without Prime but he can take down all of the Decepticons in about twenty seconds is just overstating things too much.

Warcry
2014-01-09, 07:56 PM
I do like the way the first series has a very vague arc or at least structure to it... it might be the stable cast (with all the new ones having an origin/introduction) but it feels more like one solid thing than anything up to the second series of Beast Wars did.
I have to agree with this. The first season actually felt like a series of some sort, rather than a bunch of disassociated 22-minute chunks like season two was. All of the characters felt like they mattered, too, even the Reflectors and the minibots who barely got to speak.

I actually thought that season three captured much of the same feel as well, and it was at least as coherent as the first season was. And even though there were zillions of characters around by then they did a good job of creating a small main cast. But the poorer animation makes it hard to enjoy it as much.

Divide and Conquer I actually quite dislike. It clips along nicely but the sheer imbalance is just too annoying (if not unique to that episode) - that the Autobots are toast without Prime but he can take down all of the Decepticons in about twenty seconds is just overstating things too much.
It's especially bad in the first season, because the Autobots outnumber the Decepticons by nearly two to one and many of those Decepticons are tiny and weak. Are we actually supposed to buy that Sideswipe or Hound or Jazz can't handle Reflector or Laserbeak? Even if they double-teamed Megatron, Soundwave and the jets they should have people left over.

Cliffjumper
2014-01-09, 11:04 PM
FFoD & TRoOP do book-end Season 3 nicely, don't they? It's like it's got a beginning, middle and end - plus there are mini-arcs like Starscream and Octane in there, even if they did screw up the order. S3's just bizarre, though - the episodes are either great or terrible, no "Cosmic Rust" level 'yeh, it's alright' middle ground at all.

Season 2 just feels like a collection of random adventures - by the time the combiners come along and give the very end some semblance of order you're already disorientated by the Season 1 guys killing time, then the cast inexplicably doubling at one third distance and trying to remember whether the Dinobots are there or not. Plus there's then that massive disconnect to the film where half the new cast disappear without mention, whereas FFoD for all its' faults at least carries on from the thing.

Summerhayes
2014-01-10, 05:29 PM
I've only watched through it all once, but I think you guys are pretty on the money. Season two was the only one that was kind of a chore to sit through. One was good fun, three at least kept surprising me and four was tiny.
I'm having a little How I Met Your Mother-a-thon at the moment but after that, I'll probably go back to sticking these on in the background while doing other things then totally forgetting to do other things.

inflatable dalek
2014-01-10, 09:09 PM
Hound's definitely being set up as Child Association Character in MTMTE, with Trailbreaker as back-up and - weirdly - Jazz as a very straight-forward non-flashy 2IC guy.

I've often seen that said about Trailbreaker, but I'm not entirely convinced. The animation often places him prominently in the scene but his actual contributions are surprisingly small, what does he add to the Prime/Jazz/Wheeljack scene in Iacon for example? Poor boy doesn't even get to show off his forcefield in the "I can make myself invisible/I have holograms!" scene he's in with Hound and Mirage.

You're right Jazz is a lot more subdued though.


Divide and Conquer I actually quite dislike. It clips along nicely but the sheer imbalance is just too annoying (if not unique to that episode) - that the Autobots are toast without Prime but he can take down all of the Decepticons in about twenty seconds is just overstating things too much.

One thing I've realised is, in these early episodes, what Cullen does brilliantly is he's not John Wayne, he's Adam West. Like West's Batman, he plays every single line with complete and utter sincerity no matter how silly ("These Dinobots must be destroyed before they cause a catastrophe!). It somehow makes the fact the character is the only remotely competent one in the entire series seem all the more plausible.

Fire in the Sky:

The sort of thing that would work better in a modern series where Skyfire's story could be done over multiple episodes, hampered by a very silly green crystal plot. It doesn't help Skyfire is so dull.

S.O.S. Dinobots:

OK, different origin from the tech spechs and all that, but there's some nice silly moments in this one. The scenes of the Dinobots twatting the Ark (the interior of which is actually a natty piece of design work, love the random rocks all over the place) are huge fun as is their general grumpiness.

Fire on the Mountain:

You know, no amount of exposure to fan piss taking can really prepare you for that opening scene, all the jokes are not even slightly exaggerated. The Autobots only go rescue Skyfire when they need him, and his heartfelt thanks and offering of friendship is swept aside as he's told to get to work biatch. It's hilarious.

Not sure anything happened in the rest of the episode though.

In terms of structure, I think it's fair to say season 1 benefits from less episodes only needed at a weekly pace, obviously gave them more time to think things through. I never understood why, instead of Dinobot Island, they didn't just make that two parter all about the arrival of the new characters. You could have had a malfunctioning Space Bridge create time holes to keep most of the basic plot intact (and give everyone lots of little missions so they can split into groups), just ditch the Dinosaur stuff in favour of something set on Cybertron about the reinforcements trying to get through.

inflatable dalek
2014-01-12, 09:09 PM
The Ultimate Doom of the Moon:

A good rompy one, that has a nice dilemma for Prime at the end of Part 1 (even if the road to him playing baseball starts here with the "Fat chance fat head!" moment) and some neat action scenes. Worryingly it's more scientifically accurate than Dark of the Moon as well (relatively of course).

They still haven't got the hang of how to pace a three parter though, there's what feels like a ten hour scene of Bumblebee down a hole that has nothing to do with anything else.

And what the **** is going on with Doctor Archevil?

Countdown/Plauge/Heavy Metal:

And suddenly at the end of the season we finally get some episodes that aren't about the Decepticons stealing energy. The variety is welcome and Heavy Metal especially is a really fun episode.

Skyquake87
2014-01-13, 10:13 AM
I love Heavy Metal War(s)...even though its very silly. In fact, all the silliness from the first Season gets a free pass from me, just because the whole concept of giant space alien robots turning into stuff is pretty silly. TUD is an R short of what it actually is. 3 and 5 part stories like this never seem to work well on the original cartoon (and TUD is technically four parts long with that epilogue episode). Its the only bit of the first series I can't recall being broadcast in the UK...although I may be muddling my memory of that with the Pannini Sticker album which didn't include it.

The second series is just intolerable. Its just more of the same and doesn't build on the original premise, just throws in some origin stories to keep things interesting - and even then, I wish they hadn't. Optimus' secret origin as Orion Pax is just awful.

Hound
2014-01-13, 02:39 PM
You missed War of the Dinobots

inflatable dalek
2014-01-13, 09:09 PM
I have no opinion on that episode.

Series 2!

Autobot Spike:

I'm glad Autobto X gets compared to Frankenstein (quick question for anyone who has read the book: I was listening to a supposedly faithful radio adaptation where the Monster declares he is a Frankenstein and takes the name for himself... is that the case in the novel? And does that mean all the "Frankenstein is the name of the scientist actually" people have been wrong al this time?) twice in the first three minutes, I might have missed the analogy otherwise. Actually having a Frankenstein movie playing helped as well.

Otherwise, the only good bit was Prime declaring they needed to be careful in subduing robo-Spike, before shooting him in the face. That is why Optimus Prime is awesome.

Changing Gears:

Is it wrong to really like this one? The plot stuff is mildly rubbish and we've really not seen enough of Gears for this to make a huge contrast to his normal self, but him going around being so nice is genuinely hilarious.

And how did they get away with the "I love being a slave!" stuff?

Clay
2014-01-13, 10:17 PM
And how did they get away with the "I love being a slave!" stuff?

Same way they got away with the "Republic of Carbombia" sign: it was the 80's. A simpler time, a better time... well, maybe not.

(quick question for anyone who has read the book: I was listening to a supposedly faithful radio adaptation where the Monster declares he is a Frankenstein and takes the name for himself... is that the case in the novel? And does that mean all the "Frankenstein is the name of the scientist actually" people have been wrong al this time?)

Can't quite remember... will check.

EDIT: Nope, it only refers to it as the creature, fiend, etc. No proper name.

Skyquake87
2014-01-14, 09:39 AM
The monster in Frankenstein is known as Adam, as I recall...though it has been a long, long time since I read the book.

inflatable dalek
2014-01-14, 08:29 PM
Same way they got away with the "Republic of Carbombia" sign: it was the 80's. A simpler time, a better time... well, maybe not.


I can only assume American children were just deeply perverted. Unlike us Brits with our nice wholesome family entertainment like Jim'll Fix It, It's A Knock Out and Rolf's Cartoon Club. I mean, look at G.I. Joe, it's just filthy.

Just finished The Autobot Run, and my thoughts on the intervening episodes are basically the same:

Is this the point the amount of cocaine use at Sunbow tipped into the ludicrous?

Cliffjumper is a dick as well.

Clay
2014-01-14, 10:00 PM
The monster in Frankenstein is known as Adam, as I recall...though it has been a long, long time since I read the book.

Almost; there's a bit where he steals a copy of Paradise Lost from a French family living in a cabin in the woods. The creature goes on about similarities between itself and Adam, and itself and Satan, but never actually chooses to take a name for itself.

another tf fan
2014-01-15, 08:34 AM
Cliffjumper is a dick as well.

Well said. ;)

inflatable dalek
2014-01-17, 10:10 PM
Season 2 has sort of ambled along amiably (though Dinobot Island is genuinely terrible on every level), so thank fudge for The Master Builders, a genuinely sweet little episode that has some lovely Hoist/Grapple moments and still finds time for a big fight at the end.

inflatable dalek
2014-02-03, 08:31 PM
Finished season 2, thank goodness for the special teams, after a bit of a slog in the middle where the show seems to not really want to be about Transformers anymore, they give the whole thing a bit of a shot in the arm and the episodes introducing Aerialbots/Stunticons/Bruticus are generally much more focused and coherent than Seaspray-****s-a-fish.

The '86 film looks great on Blu Ray, but my goodness, the sound mix is terrible.