January 1, 2014

Shadowcon Overviews- Transformers Prime Season 3

Shadowcon presents
An opinionated look at Season Three of
Transformers Prime

Well, here we are, with our final look at Transformers Prime in the Overview style. There will still be more reviews (obviously, since I haven’t already covered all of the episodes in the show individually), but this is the last time I’ll be looking at this in an Overview. Discussion of the finale itself will be saved for the “Deadlock” review whenever that happens, but this Overview will touch on the show’s ending in its relation to the series as a whole, as well as a retrospective of what made the series so good for me.

I’ve stated before that I think Prime is the best Transformers show that’s been made, and I feel that I should clarify a couple things regarding that statement. First, my feeling that Prime is the best Transformers show does not mean that shows like Animated or Beast Wars are bad. I love Beast Wars, and while I’m not Animated’s biggest fan, I can appreciate the level of work that went into the writing and character development on the show. In fact, in terms of characters, all three of these shows really do stand as equals in my mind. It’s the fact that Prime had such ambition and scope that the others did not that made me fall in love with this show. Unicron as Earth, Optimus and Megatron’s interactions and character development, great set pieces and scope, some of the best animation I’ve seen on TV made on a TV budget, a knack for being able to turn familiar concepts on their heads, and above all, a focus on characters: character exploration and motivation, particularly for Jack and Arcee, along with all the other strengths mentioned, make Prime rise clear above the rest.

Second, I don’t think that this statement means that Prime is flawless. Like Animated, Beast Wars, RID, and others still, this show is not without it’s fair share of missteps. One need only look at my Season Two Overview to understand how big of a misstep they took that season. However, I feel that the show handled their mistakes especially well because unlike some other shows that might ignore past mistakes, Prime attempts to go back and fix them. The relic-hunt in Season Two? That formula is back in this season, but unlike last season, the writers tried to switch things around a little bit and gave us something that felt more like what they had wanted out of the first time through, which in turn made this season all the stronger. I also think that while Season Two may have been poor in writing, the scope and ambition never dwindled, and the stakes were always epic in proportion, something that this season also carries on.

This season could be seen as Prime redoing it’s second season but with more… y’know care put into it. There seems to be a real sense of momentum and drive this time around, and an overall cohesion to the season that was lacking in Season Two. The focus of the show this time around was a big help in getting this season to work. I mentioned in my Season Two Overview that it felt very short; I’d have to correct myself on that and say that it felt very long and plodding, which is I think what I was trying to say… but obviously didn’t (y'know, opposites and all that)! Season Three feels quick and moving. I think what helps out the pacing of this season is the fact that it’s only thirteen episodes long, which means that there is never a chance to catch your breath. Every episode is important to the overall cohesion of the season in some way, whether it’s bringing in new characters, wrapping up old storylines, developing characters in new ways, or moving the arc of the season along. Thus the whole thing has a rhythm and flow to it that even Season One did not have.

Character development this season was very good. It was definitely better than Season Two. Season Two had a kind of “plot with characters” feeling. Season Three has more of a “characters with plot” feeling, if you get what I’m saying. The Autobots this season are given a huge boost in terms of interaction. See, this is also why Season Two was weak: it wasn’t just the relic hunt. It was the fact that the cast of characters at that point was so small that the writers had only a couple different combinations of characters to pick from. But with Season Three, the Autobot cast is expanded to eight members, which allows for far more interesting pairings and partnerships and team-ups than you had with just the original five characters, and the episodes this time around actually explore the characters themselves and not just their relation to the relics which they hunt.

Ultra Magnus is the big new Autobot character this season, and the first time I saw him, I was like: “aw yeah! They’re going the Optimus Prime redeco rout but cooler!” His model is based on Optimus’ old body, but it’s okay because his entire upper chest and shoulders are unique to him. He looks really cool. In terms of actual character development, there’s some but not much. Because the season is shorter, everyone got a little time to shine, but that’s kind of a problem for introducing a new character. Magnus doesn’t get nearly enough development for us to actually care about him in and of himself. We know that he’s by the book and formal to the point that even in battle where chaos is happening all around him, he still insists on following protocol. Hell, he’ll follow protocol on what to do when there is no protocol. He’s more of a foil for Optimus and Wheeljack, which does work out quite nicely.

Speaking of Wheeljack, he gets some much-needed love as he finally officially joins Team Prime. He butts heads with Ultra Magnus, has a touching episode with Arcee, and his and Bulkhead’s relationship holds steady. As with many partnerships over the course of the season, Arcee and Wheeljack’s partnership was a breath of fresh air, as these two had not had much screen time alone together. It made for some great character growth and introspection, and all of it in a relic-hunt episode. As I said, Season Three felt like a more refined version of Season Two, with the episodes having the focus being on the characters with the relics being kind of a backdrop objective. This meant that character growth was again at the forefront as it had been mostly in Season One. I do like that Wheeljack never leaves Team Prime even when he’s given ample opportunity to do so, showing his maturation throughout the course of the show.

The rest of the Autobots still carry enough character weight with them to keep the show moving. Smokescreen’s arc throughout the beginning of the season is handled beautifully. His recognizing that he is not yet ready to be a Prime was very, to use an inappropriate word, human, and really helped him develop as a character. His exchange with Bumblebee in “Project Predacon” about wanting to be more than who he is right now was nice, and once again helped elevate that particular episode which could have been just about the relic that they were looking for into actual content worth watching, because it wasn’t about the relic, it was about Smokescreen and Bumblebee’s characters and a questioning of who they were meant to be. It was very real. I also love Smokescreen’s new paintjob. Following in Bumblebee’s footsteps, Smokescreen gives himself a blue makeover, echoing his Transformers: Alternators toy color pallet. This is something that I like because it gives a visual cue that Smokescreen has matured from the brash young ‘Bot that he once was. Indeed, he was offered the position of Prime and turned it down, something no rookie would ever do, so to see this decision represented in the shedding of his old, flashier paint scheme in favor of this new more seasoned one is appropriate. It’s the same color blue as Arcee’s color of choice, and I’d like to think that serving with Arcee maybe made Smokescreen respect and/or admire her enough to pay homage to her, perhaps made him feel honored to serve as her partner for a time.

The human characters were given less to do than they were in Season One, though this is again due to how short the season is. I did like that June and Fowler were given more screen time to develop their relationship (albeit a little hastily) and the kids did get some nice moments. The biggest gain the humans get is Miko’s claiming and donning of the Apex Armor. I’ve never really liked that design, but it does work on Miko for some reason. I like that, for those who were never really all that into Miko like I was, this gave us a really awesome use for her character if not any actual character growth. I will admit, as Season Two went on and her arc solidified and found itself, I did warm up to her, and this donning of the Apex Armor just bumped her up another notch for me.

Jack’s arc is stationary this season. He’s less in the picture this time around, and it does feel like the writers were done writing him. Jack never became boring, however. His character growth through the first season and first half of the second did still hold true here, which is good. Oftentimes when a character’s arc is done, they’ll just revert back to the place from where they started, as though they had no change in them at all. With Jack though, he does stay where his arc left him. He’s more mature, and more confident than he was at the beginning of the series, and really falls into a kind of leadership role in some instances this season. His character is still the strongest of the three humans, and he never lost that even in this season where he wasn’t given a whole lot to do.

The Decepticons are where the real fun begins! I’ve always loved the Decepticons of Prime! They’re just so characterful! Like Season Two, the Decepticons are a strength of the season that never really gets mishandled. Episodes this season that are particularly good in terms of focusing on Decepticons are “Thirst”, “Evolution”, and “Persuasion”. In fact, this season is pretty evenly split up. The first four episodes coming as a kind of overarching epic, much like the “One Shall Rise” arc was for Season One and the beginning of Season Two. Then after that, the next couple episodes are dedicated to the Autobots, and then the next few to the Decepticons, and then it wraps up in the beautiful finale.

Predaking is the new character for the Decepticons, and he’s really cool! Unlike the Insecticons, the writers never forget that this guy is a really tough, fire-breathing dragon of badass, and he comes off as a credible threat! In fact, he’s so tough that he can take on Megatron and nearly win, and that point is never thrown away like it was for the Insecticons! His character arc is very cool, developing from the beginning stages of sentience to outright cunning and guile, putting even Starscream to shame. I love that at no point in the season did he feel forced, all the more an accomplishment considering that the writers of the show were basically told to put him in at the last minute (I’ll touch on the ramifications of this more below). The writers did a pretty good job on Predaking’s story itself, making him feel like a natural part of the Prime universe for as little time as they were given to develop him.

The rest of the Decepticon fold do get developed, though like the Autobots, everything is condensed to fit into the cut time this season gets. Nevertheless, the Decepticons’ development feels more substantial than the Autobots’. Starscream in particular goes a completely different direction than many Starscreams past, though his arc closes a little haphazardly. His interactions with Shockwave throughout the season were great, and I liked that he returned to his groveling ways from Season One.  He became very loyal to Megatron this season, something that I was initially against, though as time went on, I did warm up to it, and do think that it worked with the story and flow of the season. I liked that he had hints of his old scheming self still break the surface at times. There were many points this season in which Starscream was totally able to kill Megatron, and you can see that debate going on in Starscream as he stands there before choosing to spare Megatron’s life. I think this is why this new development in Starscream worked. In Season One, he was constantly vying for Megatron’s position of complete power, and when that failed, he went solo of his own choosing, because he knew that he could not lead. Season Two saw him struggling with mere survival; his cunning wasn’t cutting it, or at best it was barely getting him by. I think all of this made him realize that he was meant to serve, not lead, and I think he rejoined the Decepticons not to reclaim power, but to try to prove to himself that he was still able to be worthy of life. Season Three treats him to a role of constantly trying to vie not for Megatron’s position as leader, but for his respect. A very good development indeed, and had the season been longer, one that could have grown into something masterful!

Shockwave’s character was reintroduced this season. I haven’t talked about him as of this write-up yet, but suffice it to say I feel that he could have been so much more than what he was. Being logical is great and all, but some character development would be nice. His conversation with Ratchet over the Synthetic Energon formula was nice, though, and he provided Starscream with more people to hate. Something about Shockwave’s use of the English language just didn’t work for me. I felt that the writers were trying to make him talk “smart”, so they made him use all these words that just didn’t mean what he was trying to say. He’s not one of my favorites of the ‘Con fold. Still, he was a nice addition to Megatron’s team.

Megatron himself is as badass as ever, though perhaps far less involved this season. My cousin mentioned in my last Overview that he felt that Megatron “never really stopped being just the Big Bad, never became humanized”. While I disagreed with him last season about this (I felt Megatron’s development last season to be a boon to the otherwise lackluster circle jerk that it overall was), I do think that this quote applies here far more pertinently. See, Megatron at the beginning of Season Three wins! Like, he wins hard core! He has himself a castle, a legion of drones now sporting some nifty silver armor, and a huge dragon robot! Great! Yet his character never really recognizes these advantages as anything relating back to him.

Remember in the “Orion Pax” arc when he was telling Optimus half-truths? He was recognizing back then that what he and this person had believed in at the outset of the war had been real, yet one of them strayed from the other’s path. This was Megatron’s chance to show Optimus that his way was right, that what he believed in was worth fighting for and not against. But here, Megatron makes two mentions of Optimus, neither of which concern the fact that yes, his philosophy proved the better of the two, because he’d won. There’s no follow-through from previous points established. It would have been nice for Megatron’s character to be able to echo back to his established traits and thoughts on the war especially considering that the Decepticons are the ones who rebuild the Omega Lock. This latest development should have been the point where Megatron said “look, I’ve done some pretty bad things in my time, but they’ve all been to save my planet, and in lieu of that, make a new home for my people”. In other words, the rebuilding of the Omega Lock should have been the catalyst that made the audience care about Megatron as a person, as the destruction of it in Season Two made us care about Optimus as such.

You may have noticed, actually that I didn’t even cover Optimus Prime in my Autobots section above. That’s because he’s part of my problems with this season. The beginning of the season opens up with a very epic-scale Beast Machines-ish feel; I love the tone of it. The Autobots are on the run, the Decepticons hold power, and Optimus Prime lies dying. Now, any one of these things could have made for some awesome episodes and given us some thematic staying power, yet everything felt very underdeveloped here. This is where the season’s shortness does do this arc a disservice. The writers on the audio commentary tracks for this four-part arc said that they had planned to make this into the first half if not the majority of the season, however, due to time, they couldn’t do that. Or could they have? I think they still could have worked this as the main plot of the season, maybe expanding this to the majority of it. Having this arc over the first maybe ten episodes, with Predaking and everything else still being included, that could have worked and really made for a truly original direction for this show. I’m not saying that this would have been better than what we got (who knows, this may have ended up being repetitious and tedious like Season Two), I’m just saying that it was a possibility that they squandered a little too early in my opinion. As it stands, this arc was weak compared to the previous two seasons’ openers.

One of the biggest problems with this four-part opening to the new season, and with the season overall, would be Optimus Prime himself and just how little character development he underwent. Optimus was dying in the outset of this season, and they couldn’t think of a single good thing to do with that? No themes to explore here? Nothing? No. In fact, the most we get out of Optimus here is a little “no hope” line, which is fine as it shows that he’s given up (it takes Smokescreen to save him) and ties the arc together thematically with Starscream’s line at the end of the arc of having "any hope of winning the war", but there’s no follow-through with that when Optimus gets resurrected. It’s not just his new body that’s the problem (see below), it’s that Optimus himself doesn’t come back with anything meaningful to say to those who haven’t died. No talk of how he died and how he became one with the All Spark or whatever, nothing about how he has been given a second chance to do all the right that he failed to do originally, not even a “thank you” to Smokescreen for, y’know, saving his life! Like, really? And actually, fixing past mistakes is what could have been the theme for him this season. Last season, he destroyed the only thing in the whole Universe that could have saved his planet, and he did that in a moment of anger and desperation. Now, that’s got to be weighing heavily on his mind, it certainly was weighing heavily on Ratchet’s, and Optimus’ second chance could have been what drove him to realize that what he did was wrong, that maybe he should have let Earth die, or maybe that he could have done something differently to stop Megatron. Just something to connect him to his previous mistakes would have been nice with this resurrection thing, but instead we just get a boring Optimus that is even more deadpan than usual, his character helped in no way by a new body that is… well, it kinda sucks!

Optimus’ new body is not a strength in my eyes. This may seem like a small nitpicky thing, but the Transformers franchise has emphasized looks over plot for most of its life, and Prime’s designs always felt connected with their characters. Optimus’ Season Three form is the only fully new upgrade seen in the entire series proper, which is a welcome sight: too often, the shows will follow what the toy line is doing at the time which, when a series reaches the tail end of its run, usually means that new molds of existing characters will come out, or the same molds with new paint jobs will arise, with the show models following in the toy line’s footsteps. Prime differs from that tradition by having no characters save for Optimus change bodies, and Bumblebee’s and Smokescreen’s upgrades were done for their characters. However, the upgrade that they give Optimus is… less than stellar. Optimus had always been a lithe yet powerful looking individual. His pre-Season Three body made him look like the leader of a great army, which he was. It was slender, tall, but also carried a weight and power to it. The Season Three body sheds all of that in favor of brute strength. Optimus was never a brute; that was Bulkhead’s job. Optimus is supposed to be versatile, capable of many different fighting styles. This new body loses his melee weapons, makes laughing stocks out of his blaster weapons and makes him look cumbersome when in battle. He looks far too bulky in the arms and chest, and as such he loses so much of the grace and style that he used in combat. He’s also far too huge in comparison with the other Autobots. Ultra Magnus, who is based on Optimus’ old body, stands at Optimus’ chest, which means that people like Arcee and Bumblebee must come up to around his waist. I just can’t buy this size difference.

The biggest change to Optimus’ form is his jetpack. I actually like this change to Optimus’ body, because he doesn’t really have a handle on how it works. Not as bad as Animated Optimus’ jetpack experience, but the idea that he doesn’t immediately understand this new contraption was a nice touch. He is the only Transformer in the whole of the series who ever flies in robot mode, and so this is something that can be thought of as foreign to both sides. However, the jetpack wasn’t utilized to its fullest, and Optimus’ model when in the air lacked realistic movements, which is something that Prime animation is usually very good about putting in. Optimus looks more like he’s stationary while the rest of the world moves past him, kind of like in the early days of CG animation or really cheesy flying scenes in early ‘80s live action movies. Just everything about this new Optimus didn’t work for me. The jetpack was nice, but ultimately under-used, and the complete lack of character growth in Optimus this season when this could have been a revisit to the “Orion Pax” arc was super disappointing.

As part of the Aligned continuity, Prime has made some questionable but ultimately forgivable continuity contradictions when put side-by-side with its in-universe predecessors, the games War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron. These include the use and understanding of Dark Energon throughout the series in comparison to the games, Bumblebee’s character in general, and so on. The reason I say that these are forgivable is because the overall story and themes of the show remain intact, and I applaud the writers for not going out of their way to fix every little bug that can be found in the show’s continuity when compared to the games’; their primary goal is good story telling. However, not lining up with another product’s continuity is one thing, but to not line up with your own… that’s a different matter entirely.

Season Three’s main “gimmick” is it’s Beast Hunters tagline, hinging on the introduction and deployment of Predaking throughout the season’s run. Now, I said above that I did like Predaking as a character, but he was also a very late idea, and had studio execs not forced the writers to plant him into the show like this, the writers would have gone a different rout (they were actually wanting to bring in more Autobots, have the season start six months later with Seaspray being alive, etc.). They had plans for their third season of their show, and this only served to skewer those in favor of selling toys. Well, they needed to come up with some explanation for Predaking’s past and his origins. Were there others like him? why did he turn into a beast at all? why did Shockwave have to clone him? and so on. Jeff Kline said in an interview “we always have to justify something and make sure it’s part of the bigger whole. And we weren’t sure we would be able to do that.” Well, that's confidence-boosting, isn't it? So, here’s what they did.

It turns out that during the Great War, Megatron sent an army of Predacon clones to Earth to safeguard the planet’s Energon supply, then promptly forgot about them up until now. He even said that his reunion with the beasts “was much delayed”. Well, yeah, no shit, Megatron. You flew into outer space to search for some rocks, then used their power to revive the dead. Why didn’t you search for your Predacon army? Of course, the out-of-universe answer is obvious: this history hadn’t been written yet back in Season One. But that’s my point. A skilled writer is able to make development of history work by weaving it around other parts of history, or by making the already-established history vague enough so that there is room for play. Now certainly the Great War has always been a bit of a murky mess when it comes to grounded history, but Prime’s version of it is pretty scaled down in comparison to, say, IDW’s telling of it, so having Megatron say this now flies in the face of what was already established, and given that what was established was absolute, that left very little wiggle room to squeeze in this little detail of having an army of beasts already stationed on Earth. Justifying this whole thing and forgiving the writers on this gaff is going to vary from person to person, but for me, Predaking’s origins and the whole “Beast Hunters” plot was the weak link of the season, and being that this is such a big part of the season in terms of marketing and press release, it makes the presentation feel rather mixed.

Action is one thing that this show never drops the ball on, and this season just ramps it up even more! Thanks to the arrival of Ultra Magnus, the Autobots get a host of new weaponry from his weapons vault, and while Optimus’ new body may be stupid, it packs a hell of a punch: his new stumpy blaster things can rip through an Insecticon’s body like nothing! Having Wheeljack stay on the team for the season really adds a lot of kinetic fighting to the mix, and he and Arcee work very well together on the battlefield. Predaking’s fighting moments are intense and visually stunning. His dragon mode moves in a very lifelike fashion. The animators actually made an origami mock-up of his dragon mode so they could see what pieces could move and how realistically he interacted with his surroundings. Very cool. I like too that he’s not totally invincible. Unlike the Insecticons, the writers knew how powerful they wanted to make this character, so they managed his power levels, which made for more realistic fights and outcomes.

The last batch of episodes for this season is really where we soar from “getting out of the mud of Season Two” to “we have now surpassed Season One’s surprises and are going all out awesome!” because this ending is very good! Transformers television shows have not had good endings… ever. Beast Wars and G1 came the closest to bringing everything to a close, but even those failed to include a very important necessity, and that would be a falling action after the climax. Prime manages to bring us a great climactic battle that is both shocking and epic in proportions, as well as some very nice falling action afterwards. Season Three continues its revision of Season Two by giving a kind of mirror image of “Darkest Hour”, the Season Two finale. In that episode, Optimus Prime had to sacrifice the Omega Lock for the kids and leave his team fractured. In this episode, things happen in almost a reverse order: Team Prime must rescue Ratchet and thus come back together, and it is now the kids who save the Autobots, and it is only after the Decepticons are defeated that the Omega Lock is used to restore Cybertron. The goodbye at the end really pulls the heartstrings, and we end the series proper feeling satisfied and everything is tied up thematically.

Predacons Rising, the follow-up TV-movie that actually ends Prime as a television show, is unnecessary and undoes almost everything the finale of the show did right. This is like a microcosm of Season Three’s weaknesses: introducing new information with so little backstory to it, silly upgrades, and a host of character choices that do not fit in with the established behaviors of the Autobots, especially Bumblebee’s character. Because this feels like such a half-assed afterthought, I’ve decided to not review this… ever. It just doesn’t feel like Prime to me. However, I do feel that it requires at least an acknowledgement here, because this was made to finish off the whole thing. It does so poorly, so in my mind, I end the series with the series finale.

Final score for Transformers Prime Season Three is 8/10- great pacing and substantial action makes the season engaging, and character interaction is brought once again to the foreground. Season Three really felt aware of the pitfalls that plagued Season Two, and it took great care not to rush or slow down; Season Three felt like a perfectly paced season. I think it more than makes up for Season Two, and gives a heartbreaking but awesome and satisfactory conclusion to a wonderful series.

Post series follow-up: So, what exactly are my thoughts on the series as a whole coming out of this season? This is one of my favorite Transformers shows out there, ranking up there with Beast Wars and Animated as leading examples of how to do Transformers right. The characters are some of the most endearing I’ve seen out of all the Transformers shows, even surpassing Beast Wars in terms of how human the robots felt, especially the Decepticons. The characters, particularly Arcee, Jack, Knockout, Starscream, Megatron, and Smokescreen, made me wanting to come back every week just to see them again. These are some of the most interesting and three-dimensional characters seen on Transformers television, and I seriously hope that some of the Prime-original characters carry over to other series, much like Bulkhead and Lockdown from Animated.

The human characters are the best of any Transformers franchise (and no, Sari doesn’t count as a human character, because she’s not a human; she’s Cybertronian). Jack and Miko especially were engaging and fun and endearing, able to carry episodes on their own without getting on my nerves (most of the time). I warmed up to Miko as the series progressed; my Season One ire towards her really did not do the character justice, and I was pleased to see her develop over the course of the series, particularly Season Two. Jack’s character is the most relatable of the three, and he’s the strongest of any human character over the franchise’s thirty–year run. The “Orion Pax” arc developed him a lot, and nice moments throughout the second and third seasons were welcome. Raf is the only one of the three who I never really felt I got to know or see develop over the course of the series. His character was the only one of the humans who started off and ended on the same note, almost never deviating from it in the whole of the series. As a whole, though, the humans were a huge boon to the show, which both surprised me and made me really love the series that much more.

The art and animation for this series is the best for any CGI television program that I’ve seen. It continues to amaze me, given that this was made on a television budget, just how breathtaking the animation really is. The robots, the sets, the fight scenes, the different camera angles and perspectives all do a whole lot to make you realize the scale of the Transformers and their battles in comparison to the human point of view. Little details like reflections in the windows of cars, tiny bits of damage on the robots at all times, no one standing stock still, it all gives off a great sense of reality often lacking in TV. The animation is one of the show’s strongest points, and I’m so ready to see what the studio that produced this is going to do next, because these guys are amazing.

With all of that in mind, Prime is not without flaws, some of them very drastic (my original write-up of this accidentally had the line read "With all of that in mind, Prime is without flaws"! Ha! Oops). The relic hunt in Season Two was slow and plodding, some of the dialogue throughout the series is overwrought with pseudo-Shakespearean nuances, and a lot of the gadgetry described in the first story arc is inconsistent and changes a lot as the series goes on. If there were a single point I’d say that made the show less than what it could have been, it would have to be Prime’s failure to give satisfactory conclusions to a lot of its story arcs.  Season Two is the weakest of the three seasons by a mile, often bathing in the weaknesses just mentioned.

Prime’s scope and ambition are nevertheless impressive. This show as I’ve said before took risks, some of them not paying off, but a lot of them giving me a great original twist on a tried and trite story arc. The darker tone of the series has turned a lot of people off of the show, and I understand why: coming off of Animated, the show leans more heavily of the sheer ridiculously macabre tone of the film franchise, and that combined with the movie-inspired designs could keep, and has kept, away a lot of viewers. However, I think that a darker tone is especially welcome for a Transformers series. The comic books have been the darkest medium as they’re able to cater to adults more so than kids. I think Prime hits that perfect balance between dark without being depressing like Beast Machines.

Overall, I think it’s safe to say Prime is the most adult Transformers series that is still able to be fun and engaging, and on a personal level, this is my favorite series to come out thus far, surpassing Beast Wars in both animation quality and story elements, and surpassing Animated with its characters and development of those characters, as well as its scope being far more epic than either. This is definitely a worthy addition to the Transformers lore, and certainly lives up to its name: definitely a prime show.

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