Anyone seen the Netflix show yet? (Minor spoilers)

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Warcry
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Anyone seen the Netflix show yet? (Minor spoilers)

Post by Warcry » Mon Aug 03, 2020 5:06 pm

It's...kinda terrible, isn't it? I was going to do up a proper review with all the things I liked and didn't, but at the end of the day the only positive I can think of is getting to see my boy Spinister in a TV show for the first time. He even survived until the end in spite of getting impaled half-way through! I had a good chuckle when he talked about a "hunting party", even though I'm 95% sure the writers weren't deliberately referencing the first comic story he appeared in.

The list of negatives is...rather longer:
  • The animation is really cut-rate. The characters don't move like robots -- in particular, their torsos flex and bend like a person wearing an Optimus Prime shirt. They also barely transform. It feels like they didn't bother to even make alt-mode character models for half the cast (Optimus, Elita, Wheeljack and Bumblebee escaping from the Decepticons by walking casually down the street instead of turning into cars is especially notable). And most of the ones that DO have alt-mode models will lunge off-screen or have the camera swing away when they transform because no one wanted to animate the actual transformation. Towards the end of the show we see a character ripped limb from limb and when they show her remains it's literally just her regular character model with the limbs deleted, seemingly undamaged otherwise. Overall, it looks like an average Xbox 360 cutscene.
  • The voice acting is attrocious. I'm used to this being the saving grace of other terrible Transformers shows, but instead of hiring veterans on the franchise or newcomers with actual talent, they asked Mr. Burns to do the casting: "Get me his non-union Mexican Youtube equivalent!" Optimus Prime is voiced by some random 20something whose claim to fame is posting videos of him impersonating Peter Cullen, and he can't act AT ALL. He does a passable job of sounding like Prime's closing monologues in the Bay movies, but as soon as they ask him to show a bit of emotion, he stops sounding like Prime and starts sounding like an angry teenager. Megatron and Starscream are also voiced by G1 impersonators who aren't especially effective at emoting. They were obviously trying to emulate G1 Soundwave, but he sounds more like Microsoft Sam than Frank Welker. Almost everyone else was totally forgettable, except for the lady voicing Elita-1, whose actually really good performance feels wasted on a show like this.
  • A lot of characters who got toys in the Siege line didn't show up at all. The Micromasters (aside from Ravage and Laserbeak) and Battlemasters were entirely absent. Sixgun, Brunt, Crosshairs, Apeface and Springer didn't appear either. Nor did any of the Selects or store-exclusive toys aside from Skywarp. That matters because they populated the background with lazy, mostly monochrome palate swaps to fill out so very many scenes. Based on what we see, the Autobot forces are about 75% Sideswipe and Cog, while the Decepticons are about 85% Starscream and Reflector. Having actual, unique characters in the background would have made so much difference. And since the show models were apparently based on the toy CAD models, it's not like they would have had to put in a ton of extra work to do it.
  • The tone of the show is really weird. Given that it's based on "80s Nostalgia: The Toyline", you'd think that it would lean heavily on references to the 80s media. And they used slavishly G1 character designs and hired G1 impersonators to voice most of the main cast, which solidifies that impression. But the writers clearly didn't get the memo. The story is the identikit post-2007 movie "Find the Allspark!" quest that we've all seen a dozen times by now. Red Alert is written like Armada Red Alert so that Ratchet can essentially be a reformed IDW Brainstorm. Jetfire is basically Dinobot and so is Impactor (which really smothers the emotional impact of both). Bumblebee is an angry rebellious teenager, etc. etc. All of which are honestly fine but it's really weird to see that happening while the presentation is all but screaming "1984" at the top of its lungs from start to finish.
The one saving grace is that it's only six episodes long, so the combined runtime is less than one of Michael Bay's groanfests. It's short enough that the halfassedness was amusing, but it was definitely wearing out it's welcome by the end.

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Re: Anyone seen the Netflix show yet? (Minor spoilers)

Post by zigzagger » Tue Aug 04, 2020 12:08 am

It was okaaay, I guess..??? I didn't hate it, I suppose--I mean, I did sit through it all.

It was... ehhh, fun?

I'm sorry, it just didn't leave much of an impression, and the more time that I've stewed it over, the more I found to dislike about it. I didn't find the story especially interesting, being more or less another rehash of "find the Allspark". Most of the voice-work I felt lacked nuance and, well, freaking emotion (why... does... Megatron... talk.... so... slooooooow). I also felt a lot of character arcs and motivations were underdeveloped or just plain rushed (though, I suppose that could be chalked up to the first chapter being crammed into only 6 episodes).

Horses for courses and all that, and if you enjoyed yourself, awesome, but this really didn't do much for me.

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Re: Anyone seen the Netflix show yet? (Minor spoilers)

Post by Civ » Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:47 am

I watched the episodes through once. I'll have to watch through them again since I have a knack for missing things the first time round. And now that others mention it, I'm actually trying to remember specific instances in the shows and I'm having a rather hard time of it.

Only two I can think of is the opening scene that was reminiscent of the G1 cartoon and when my favorite big guy decided to save the day. I did get the feeling that the derived a fair amount of its content from the IDW series, particularly the rebellion-gone-wrong idea.

I definitely don't hate the series but it doesn't grip me the way Beast Wars or other shows did.

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Re: Anyone seen the Netflix show yet? (Minor spoilers)

Post by Warcry » Wed Aug 05, 2020 3:31 am

zigzagger wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 12:08 am
I also felt a lot of character arcs and motivations were underdeveloped or just plain rushed (though, I suppose that could be chalked up to the first chapter being crammed into only 6 episodes).
I'm of two minds on this. On the one hand, the show was definitely lacking in backstory and motivation. I watched it with my wife and I could tell that she was lost in places. I was filling in a lot of blanks with what I remembered from other media, but to someone who's not nearly as dedicated a fan, a lot of things just didn't make much sense. A lot of those "subtext that fans can pick up on" things, like Optimus's backstory, the history of the Decepticons, the course of the war, even something as basic as who Alpha Trion is, really should have been given actual spotlight in the show itself.

But on the other hand, the six episodes that we did get were so low on substance that I really don't think that they would have been able to make good use of the space to tell those stories.
Civ wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:47 am
And now that others mention it, I'm actually trying to remember specific instances in the shows and I'm having a rather hard time of it.
I watched it two days ago and I've already forgotten almost all of it. :(

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Re: Anyone seen the Netflix show yet? (Minor spoilers)

Post by zigzagger » Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:13 pm

Mmmm, yeah, I'm having trouble remembering much about it too, honestly. :laugh:

Did feel Impactor's and Jetfire's abrupt-ish heel-turns needed a smidge more focus than they got. Like, they seemed pretty onboard with Megatron's cause.... until they weren't. Or am I misremembering how that all played out?

Oh, and before I forget this detail too, was anyone else just as confounded as I was when Skywarp was suddenly announced as "killed", when he seemed fine after his altercation with Jetfire; he angrily jetted off, not appearing particularly wounded, then the next time we see him he.... dies???

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Re: Anyone seen the Netflix show yet? (Minor spoilers)

Post by Civ » Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:30 am

zigzagger wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:13 pm
Did feel Impactor's and Jetfire's abrupt-ish heel-turns needed a smidge more focus than they got. Like, they seemed pretty onboard with Megatron's cause.... until they weren't. Or am I misremembering how that all played out?
Impactor's needed much more work than Jetfire's turn; however, Jetfire could have used a bit more fleshing out I think. I was hoping there'd be some kind of flashback to how Cybertron was pre-rebellion and showing how the Decepticons were formed. A three or four part episode focusing on that would have really helped in trying to figure out how both factions got where they are in modern day.
zigzagger wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:13 pm
Oh, and before I forget this detail too, was anyone else just as confounded as I was when Skywarp was suddenly announced as "killed", when he seemed fine after his altercation with Jetfire; he angrily jetted off, not appearing particularly wounded, then the next time we see him he.... dies???
I'm so glad you said that because I thought I missed an episode or something. My impression is exactly like yours and I was expecting some kind of swerve or surprise showing that Skywarp was actually still alive.

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Re: Anyone seen the Netflix show yet? (Minor spoilers)

Post by Blaster » Fri Aug 07, 2020 12:23 am

It's.... not great. I'll watch it cause... well I may as well. But I was real happy when it was only 6 episodes.

Agreed on the voice acting. Writing wasn't much better. How many times did someone change tone, opinion or personality mid scene?

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Re: Anyone seen the Netflix show yet? (Minor spoilers)

Post by Warcry » Fri Aug 07, 2020 5:25 am

I would say that (though my memory grows foggier by the day) Jetfire's turn was fairly well telegraphed. Though maybe that's just me mentally filling in the blanks because he's Jetfire, of course he's switching sides. But wasn't his first appearance literally hacking Starscream's arm off to stop him from randomly executing prisoners? It seemed natural that the Decepticons' growing extremism pushed him out.

Impactor was totally out of the blue, though. Did he even have lines before showing up as a good guy? He was just sort of "there" in the battle scene that led to him being buried, and then he showed up and he was super-disgruntled...
Civ wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:30 am
I'm so glad you said that because I thought I missed an episode or something. My impression is exactly like yours and I was expecting some kind of swerve or surprise showing that Skywarp was actually still alive.
By the time this happened I was barely paying attention, but this was a head-scratcher for me too. I figured that I'd missed something thanks to having given up caring, but Skywarp definitely just looked mildly annoyed when Jetfire shot him, right? Then he shows up at Decepticon HQ and doesn't even look all that out of sorts there either, but Starscream tells us he died. If this was a better show I'd give them the benefit of the doubt and say that Starscream finished the job so he could blame it on Jetfire and take his job.
Blaster wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 12:23 am
Agreed on the voice acting. Writing wasn't much better. How many times did someone change tone, opinion or personality mid scene?
Who beyond Optimus, Starscream and Elita even had a recognizable personality to change? The vast majority of the characters were just there to spout exposition or do whatever to push the plot along. Even Megatron is basically a vague one-dimensional sketch of a character.

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Re: Anyone seen the Netflix show yet? (Minor spoilers)

Post by Hound » Fri Aug 07, 2020 6:19 am

I don't know if anyone watched the "Prime Wars Trilogy" cartoons from before but I did and they were pretty much the same, quality-wise, as this one. Well, actually, I think the voice acting was maybe a bit better but that's it. That, to me, is the most disappointing part as I was really hoping that Netflix was throwing enough money at this to bump up the quality and give us a show closer to what we got with Voltron and She-Ra. Is it just that Hasbro's little animation studio is just that inept?

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Re: Anyone seen the Netflix show yet? (Minor spoilers)

Post by StoneCold Skywarp » Fri Aug 07, 2020 2:42 pm

I've not watched it, yet, but it's on my list.

I'm a fan of the production studio, Rooster Teeth, so I kind of have a feeling of what to expect. They've got a very unique animation style and I imagine that a lot of their direction on War for Cybertron is based off of their own show gen:LOCK



I can only presume that Hasbro anticipated something with that level of quality but likely with a smaller budget based on the disparity of acting talent between the two productions.

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Re: Anyone seen the Netflix show yet? (Minor spoilers)

Post by Heinrad » Sat Aug 08, 2020 1:51 am

The only real indication we get that Skywarp's injured is when he flies off with smoke pouring from one of his engines and then when he crashes once he gets back to Starscream. Still, I wouldn't be surprised if Screamer finished him off. All I can guess for Impactor's heel-turn is that he was loyal to the Decepticons/Megatron because Megs freed him from the gladitorial pits. His loyalty transferred to Ratchet because Ratchet saved him from a slow death beneath a pile of rubble. This is a guess on my part, but I seem to remember Impactor talking about his days in the arena and how Megatron saved him.

I think being such a short series is it's biggest problem. There's little character development, motivations seem rushed(Ultra Magnus' decision seemed way too hasty. Jetfire at least had time to realize what he had to do), and I got a feeling at a few points that the show may originally been scripted to be longer, say 12 episodes instead of 6.

I heard that the guy voicing Optimus is the same guy from Cyberverse(this was before Siege came out), and the thought was that yeah, he can do a good imitation of Peter Cullen's Optimus Prime voice on a show where Op's the 'stoic leader' and little more, but can he actually do a range of emotions? I mean, he wasn't bad.... he wasn't great, but he wasn't bad.

Will I watch it again? Probably. Would I rather sit down and binge watch Red vs Blue instead? Definitely.

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Re: Anyone seen the Netflix show yet? (Minor spoilers)

Post by Crystine » Sat Aug 08, 2020 11:53 am

Warcry wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 5:06 pm
[*]The voice acting is attrocious. I'm used to this being the saving grace of other terrible Transformers shows, but instead of hiring veterans on the franchise or newcomers with actual talent, they asked Mr. Burns to do the casting: "Get me his non-union Mexican Youtube equivalent!" Optimus Prime is voiced by some random 20something whose claim to fame is posting videos of him impersonating Peter Cullen, and he can't act AT ALL. He does a passable job of sounding like Prime's closing monologues in the Bay movies, but as soon as they ask him to show a bit of emotion, he stops sounding like Prime and starts sounding like an angry teenager. Megatron and Starscream are also voiced by G1 impersonators who aren't especially effective at emoting. They were obviously trying to emulate G1 Soundwave, but he sounds more like Microsoft Sam than Frank Welker. Almost everyone else was totally forgettable, except for the lady voicing Elita-1, whose actually really good performance feels wasted on a show like this.
You're in good company...

Peter Cullen and Frank Welker Q&A at GalaxyCon Richmond 2020 (3 min clip)

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Re: Anyone seen the Netflix show yet? (Minor spoilers)

Post by Tantrum » Sat Aug 08, 2020 4:38 pm

After watching the clip Crystine linked to (thanks), Youtube showed me the the full (40 min) interview that clip is from. The whole thing's pretty interesting. Though, when Peter Cullen's talking about his imitator and says, "It's grand theft", I just thought: c'mon, man, grand theft Autobot is right there.

I haven't watched the Netflix show, but from what I'm reading here, it doesn't sound like I'm missing much.

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Re: Anyone seen the Netflix show yet? (Minor spoilers)

Post by Clogs » Tue Aug 11, 2020 2:24 am

It was the lips. Seriously. The lips. LIke Megatron was actually Overlord wearing the ol' bucket. I keep remembering the lips. It's terifying.

Other than that: yeah, tolerable. Voices okay, within tolerable limits. The big McGuffin and additional McGuffins everywhere. Then the sudden reveal that there's a handy virus which could take out the Autobots, but might damage Cybertron; does the first, nothing comes of the promise of the second. Lots of bits of plot flapping in the wind. Oodles of references that only dedicated fans (like us, neh?) would get and absolutely no explanation for non-fans to even understand a fraction of what's behind what's going on.

Totally gutted that Mirage was not given a real spy role and that Decepticon Mirage is just a homage to the wonderful, odd and completely messed up IDW Spotlight - I got the figure, anyway. I might lash out on the Impactor, if I can spare the cash. And, talking of Impactor: yes, I knew he'd die, because that's really all the poor blasthard ever did in Marvel UK comics, but his dropping out and joining Ratchet, who had dropped out and was somehow surviving, could have been handled better. Ditto the Jetfire stuff.

Six episodes trying to cram in too much lip(aarrgh)service, when concentrating on a simple plot would have been better. Poor animation, too, with all those ruddy Reflectors everywhere, although I had to laugh at the Skywarp thing, because G1.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I am so ruddy sick of the Cube/Box/McGuffin being fired off Cybertron and, quelle surprise, ending up on Earth. I keep finding myself snarling: Underbase!!! It was never the best story, I'll admit, but Starscream asking the thing to indulge in extramarital relations remains absolutely unforgettable!

Like those lips, really... :nonono:

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Re: Anyone seen the Netflix show yet? (Minor spoilers)

Post by Hot Rod Here » Fri Aug 14, 2020 11:54 pm

I seen clips of it and it seem meh to me

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Re: Anyone seen the Netflix show yet? (Minor spoilers)

Post by Skyquake87 » Sat Aug 15, 2020 9:03 am

None of the post-Prime shows have grabbed me, so this is another one to pass on. 6 episodes seems awful short. Why even bother? I'm guessing there wasn't the budget/ interest in doing a 'full' show (hence the no doubt cheaper voice 'talent'). Clips I've seen are all awful. Slow, plodding dialogue delivery with endless pauses like everyone's revealing an X-Factor winner, the animation is fine, but doesn't seem that much better than the Prime Wars stuff (also awful).

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Re: Anyone seen the Netflix show yet? (Minor spoilers)

Post by Warcry » Sun Aug 16, 2020 7:35 pm

A couple weeks after the fact, and I'd probably have forgotten that I'd watched the show at all if I hadn't made this thread...
Clogs wrote:
Tue Aug 11, 2020 2:24 am
It was the lips. Seriously. The lips. LIke Megatron was actually Overlord wearing the ol' bucket. I keep remembering the lips. It's terifying.
Oh heck yeah, that was a bit creepy. I cringed more than once when they did a close-up on Megatron and his huge lips.

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Re: Anyone seen the Netflix show yet? (Minor spoilers)

Post by Cyberstrike nTo » Mon Sep 14, 2020 6:46 pm

I seemed to recall a lot of fans complaining about the casting of over-priced big name actors used in the Prime Wars trilogy like Mark Hamill, Ron Perelman, Samoa Joe, Will Wheaton, David Jason Frank, and the return of Peter Cullen, Judd Nelson, and Greg Berger over getting better writers. So I think that is the reason why we get Optimus Prime sounding like the Emerpor in Star Wars Episode 1 and Megatron sounding like Emperor in Star Wars Episode 9
and...as...well...all...of...the...damn...dramatic...pauses.

It's not as bad as the Star TV/Hong Kong dubs of Headmasters, Masterforce, and Victory but it's easily the worst for a Western animated series.

The animation is pretty good it's not as good as Beast Machines, Prime, and Beast Wars are and/or were. It's reminds of IDW artist Livio's style on the Dinobot and -racy trilogies in terms of visual style. Then you remember why Livio's style worked best in graphic novels one-shots and 4 part mini-series it quickly becomes a strain on your eyeballs.

While I do like making Bumblebee a little yellow bastard at the start (and I will admit that was the best thing in the series for me because I'm sick and tied of that little yellow bastard and I didn't mind seeing presented as something other than annoying kid friendly character, a fast-talking smart ass, or a bad R2-D2 knockoff) the overall plot is standard boilerplate TF story, the backstory that is hinted at could be interesting or just another IDW ver. 1 knockoff.

I think 6 episodes was the problem in terms of pacing and characterization which is true of a lot of Netflix (and most other major streaming original shows both animated and live action) I mean the last season of Voltron: Legendary Defender has so many characters that it's almost impossible to watch the damn thing. The final season of She-Ra avoids this by mainly focusing on Adora/She-Ra, Catra, Glimmer, and Bow in the first half then uses a single episode featuring the supporting characters to set up the final 6 or 7 episodes. Even then it struggles to find something to do with Hordak and Shadow Weaver until the final 2 or 3 episodes.

I didn't hate it, but it wasn't as good as could be.

I think Transformers: Cyberverse season 3 has been a much better show in terms of writing. It certainly is one of the most ambitious TF shows in quite a while, it's constantly surprising in terms of of the first four episodes feeling like the final battle, then becoming a Matrix inspired story that has the Autobots and Decepticons teaming up for against an even bigger threat then a kind of weird "Cold War" spy vs. spy type story with some modern political metaphors, a search for Windblade's scattered psyche, Optimus being told he has to destroy the Megatron's Matrix of Leadership or Cybertron is doomed while Megatron is getting ready for another bigger foe. It pulls TFs from just about every major show and comic with it's new villain (or maybe the big bad villain's henchmen) based on a popular comic book character. It's at silly and dumb at times, then switches to very serious and dark, and then it's all kind of hope punk. The animation is bright and colorful. The voice acting while maybe not at the level of Peter Cullen and Frank Welker, or even Gary Chalk or David Kaye is good and well done.

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Re: Anyone seen the Netflix show yet? (Minor spoilers)

Post by Lightindarkness » Fri Sep 25, 2020 9:43 pm

Had its moments. I enjoyed seeing guys like Impactor, a different take on Skyfire and Omega, but Prime was second rate and too toy-ish to go toe to toe with that more mature take on Megatron ... almost like a Wreck it Ralph character in the look/design.

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