14 Reasons You Should be Watching Transformers Prime

by Jason Gross @SockofFleagulls on January 22, 2013

in Television

I was 8 years old when the Transformers TV series debuted in ’84.


You might say I was the “prime” age to have transforming robot vehicles imprinted into my heart of hearts. I was hooked on the animated series and now cherish the memories of running up my street from the bus stop after school to turn on the TV. Transformers: The Movie is also one of the few movies that I vividly remember watching in the theater as a kid with my friends.

After the G1 series ended, I pretty much abandoned Transformers until the Michael Bay films came along. I believe I’m with most people in that it was nice to have the franchise return to the silver screen and pop culture to a certain extent. The Bay films stirred up some great childhood memories in me even though these probably weren’t the Transformers I was looking for. I essentially had “moved along” from the franchise again until my oldest son started watching Transformers Prime recently.

For awhile now, it’s been his after-school show of choice and I began stumbling into episodes when I got home from work. I remember watching the first couple episodes of the mini-series with him when it debuted on the HUB network back in late 2010. It really didn’t make much of an impression on me at first, especially my son being 6 years old at the time. I did notice that there were some elements that were probably over his head, but now that he’s 8, he’s really into the show…and so am I.

Now, I’m no Transformers expert by any means. Like I said earlier, I have lapses in my bot universe (meaning I never watched Beast Wars, Armada, Energon, Cybertron, or Transformers Animated). My only sampling is the G1 series and the Bay films (and if I can be blasphemous for a moment, Challenge of the Go-Bots.) So if you fit into my experience with Transformers, let me give you 14 reasons to put Transformers Prime into your TV rotation right now:


You can stream the first two seasons on Netflix. 

If you are one of the 23 million people who subscribe to Netflix, you have access to the 5 episode mini-series and the 47 episodes that make up seasons 1 & 2 as part of your subscription.


You have time to catch up before Season 3 starts.

The HUB channel has announced it plans to kick off season 3 in the spring of 2013, with at least 16 episodes being produced. So you still have a couple months to get caught up, if you really like the show.


TF Prime has very little carry over from Michael Bay’s films

From what I’ve seen, virtually none of the story has carried over from “Bayverse.” I’ve noticed a few things but for the most part I get more of a G1 feel when watching the show. Optimus Prime and Bumblebee both show a likeness to the Bayverse. Megatron is a mix with the shape from Bayverse but with his arm cannon like in G1. Bumblebee has also kept the characteristic of not being able to speak due previous battle wounds and communicates through electronic sound effects. A few other character elements but that’s about it.


Transformers CAN die

We saw bots and cons die in the Bayverse but other than Transformers: The Movie, I don’t remember much death in my animated experience. In TF Prime, an autobot dies in the very first episode. Decepticons die too, mainly the generic “vehicon” army used by Megatron but also more involved characters.


Energon is used like blood

This element really adds to the characters. This was kind of represented in the Bayverse but the substance that was leaked was mostly like hot lava it seemed. In TF Prime, energon is a glowing blue liquid that essentially works like blood in human. When in physical combat, bots can leak energon from just about anywhere. They also have to replenish what they lost.


Optimus Prime and Megatron are voiced by their G1 actors

Peter Cullen and Frank Welker return to voice the leaders of the two factions. I must say having Welker back with Cullen adds so much to the show for those of us who remember watching as kids. (no disrespect to Hugo Weaving.) They are excited to be together again too.


A great voice cast

Not only do we get Cullen and Welker, other voice actors credits include Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (WWE), Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters), Gina Torres & Adam Baldwin (Firefly), Markie Post (Night Court), Clancy Brown (Highlander, Shawshank Redemption), John Noble (Lord of the Rings, Fringe), George Takei (Star Trek) Anthony Todd (Candyman, Final Destination), and many other veteran voice actors.


The music is top notch.

Composer Brian Tyler and arranger Matthew Margeson use a complete live orchestra to produce the music for the show, which is rare for a television series today. Tyler’s score credits include films Iron Man 3, The Expendables 1& 2, and Eagle Eye. His other credits include the new Hawaii Five-0 and Terra Nova television series and the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 video game. Tyler was also nominated for an Emmy award and received an Academy of Television Arts & Sciences award in 2011 for his work on TF Prime.


Strong Female Characters

In the G1 era, it seemed characters like R.C. were on the show just to appease the girls that might be watching. In TF Prime, strong female characters, including a new “Arcee”, play an intricate part of the story for both the Autobots and Decepticons. A rogue spider-like Insecticon named Airachnid also makes for a great enemy. There is also a history between the two female characters as Airachnid kills Arcee’s partner during a past war.


Many characters resemble their G1 look

Above and below are some side-by-side shots I’ve put together of some of the characters that use the same physical characteristics and color schemes from G1.


Zombie Decepticons

For all you Walking Dead fans, Megatron unleashes dark energon on dead decepticons to revive them into “Terrorcons” during the 5 episode mini-series. Fun stuff for those who like a little undead in their TV viewing.


Most Transformers feature laser and hand-to-hand combat weapons

In other words, transformers don’t just mainly hold guns like in the G1 series. Their guns are housed within their arms or body. But when the battle draws near, they also have one-on-one combat weapons which makes for great swordplay action and just straight up punch-out fights.


There are good and bad humans

It’s not just Spike and his dad like in the G1 series. Early on, the story mainly focuses around a team of kids who discover the Autobots and then agree to help them against the Decepticons. Special Agent Fowler is the liaison between the Autbots and the government. There is also a terrorist organization called MECH that becomes an enemy of the Autobots and then work alongside the Decepticons.

image via Comics Online



At least, not yet.



Jason Gross (@SockOfFleagulls) is the creator of Rediscover the 80s and loves to subject his two sons to cartoons, TV, movies, and music from the decade. Currently promoting a M.A.S.K. live-action movie script (co-writer), he is a freelance 80s music & pop culture writer.

Howie Decker January 22, 2013 at 10:29 am

Jason- I had the exact same experience as you. I made a point of watching the mini-series when it premiered and liked it. I even watched the next few eps when it got picked up, but it didn’t keep my attention. I have about the same experience level with TF as you. It’s G1 only, and right around the movie was when I checked out. The triple changers were probably the last line I remember wanting when they came out. I never had many TFs, they were too expensive! (as Count Marzo said on the EDP this week)

Jason Gross (@SockOfFleagulls) January 22, 2013 at 11:16 am

I had a couple transformers toys, one of the Insecticons, the microscope, but I seemed to have more gobots just because I had a huge matchbox and hot wheels collection.

The rich kid down the street had optimus, the skyfire jet, shockwave, Megatron, and many autobots. That’s usually when I played exclusively with the tf toys.

There expensive nowadays too and for the most part too complicated for kids younger than like ten (at least the cool ones.) The toys back in the day seemed simplified, but they looked simple too.

swf63 January 22, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Jason, I loved your article. I’m going to watch the series thanks to you (:

I highly, HIGHLY recommend that you watch Beast Wars. It’s amazing. I grew up with it, and thanks to it’s awesomeness I got to meet the G1 Transformers. Now, I love all of them xD

I don’t recall watching Transformers as a little kid. I think I saw one or two episodes AFTER watching Beast Wars. I think that by the time I was growing up, they stopped transmitting the G1 series in Argentina O_o

Jason Gross (@SockOfFleagulls) January 22, 2013 at 5:35 pm

Thanks. I’ll check out Beast Wars. Rumor has it that season 3 of tf prime will have a beast wars feel, but since I never watched it I’m not sure if that will be true.

Gabe January 22, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Psst…her name was Arcee in both shows.

Highly recommend Beast Wars as well, the full show is on Netflix. Also, check out Anumatrd on the Hub. Probably my second favorite show after BW.

Count Marzo January 22, 2013 at 7:19 pm

I really need to give it a chance. I immediately dismissed it because I’m too hung up on the beautiful handpainted cel cartoons of yesterday as opposed to that newfangled CGI stuff.

I’ve only watched #GEEWUN (of course!) and Armada (Pokéformers). The reason I watched Armada was because that’s when the nostalgia bug reallllly bit me. I was working at Toys R Us from like 99-03 and that’s when they started bringing back and rebooted all the 80s properties that I grew up loving.

You brought up many good points for me to finally give it a chance. That Peter Cullen/Frank Welker video that I never really seen before (not a hardcore Transformers guy here) is the best reason of all imo. Those two are just legendary voices.

Good stuff and bonus points for mentioning Challenge of the GoBots! That was my 2nd favorite cartoon to watch and toys to collect behind MOTU for a while there in the mid 80s.

Jason Gross (@SockOfFleagulls) January 22, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Thanks, man. That Cullen/Welker video gives me chills. Those two are so good together.

Count Marzo January 22, 2013 at 8:01 pm

It had that effect on me as well.

Almost to the point of the Melendy Britt and Alan Oppenheimer video from the 2011 PowerCon. Those two brought tears to my eyes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nakdRnOKnS8

AG January 22, 2013 at 10:09 pm

oh my god- great video!

AG January 22, 2013 at 10:08 pm

Are the main characters the same as the 5 ep miniseries? I remember there only being like 5 Autobots. Have they added characters?

Jason Gross (@SockOfFleagulls) January 22, 2013 at 11:25 pm

There are 5 main Autobots but they do add more to both sides along the way.

jeets January 23, 2013 at 10:36 am

This is really well done, I have kinda soured on Transformers since the Bay movies and all the other incarnations there have been. Im partial to GI Joe- theres A Real American Hero, Sigma 6, Resolute, Renegades, but for the most part (besides Sigma 6) they are all the same characters.

I might check out PRime though now. Thanks for this

Jason Gross (@SockOfFleagulls) January 23, 2013 at 11:13 am

Your very welcome. Appreciate the feedback.

Obviously this article is geared to those in my situation who aren’t deep into the transformers universe and have maybe given up since the films or have grouped it with other new animated series that aren’t up to par.

I hope others might give TF Prime a chance like you or take a new approach if they gave up on it early on.

Lucas August 20, 2016 at 6:51 am

I loved G1 as a kid & didnt mind Beast Wars, skipped the rest until bay films (which i wasnt a fan of) but this Prime series feels so much like G1

i honestly think this series is what the bay films should have been

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