Transformers Prime: Season One [Blu-Ray]

Transformers Prime: Season One [Blu-Ray]
Throughout the commentary tracks with the series creators on many of the 26 season one episodes included in this Blu-Ray pack, they discuss the many boundaries they were able to push in the universe of televised children's computer animation. Rather than adhere to the standard kid-friendly template of broad jokes and simplified afterschool special lessons like, "drugs are bad," they've created a surprisingly mature and dark series that introduces themes of identity, loyalty and the gamut of conflicting motivations when it comes to world outlook and socialization to a younger audience more accustomed to less nuanced entertainment. It's certainly more thematically complex than the lucrative movie trilogy, which isn't saying a great deal, but it does make for intriguing viewing for anyone familiar with the franchise. The template is ostensibly the same as previous incarnations of the show, only focusing on the struggles of five Autobots (Optimus Prime, Arcee, Bulkhead, Rachet and Bumblebee) against the Decepticon Starscream, whose manipulation of the Dark Energon extracted from Megatron's chest is exploited to turn dead transformers into zombies, amongst other things. And while the many battles throughout the season involve the various transformers trying to outwit each other in the face of the looming threat of Unicron and other ill-willed baddies like Airachnid, the downfall of the show is the inevitable inclusion of three human children. Of course, they create many issues throughout the season by accidentally downloading problematic ancient data or getting themselves kidnapped, but their cutesy discourse and strained integration hinder an otherwise clever series that raises the stakes of drama in a mostly aesthetic franchise. This isn't to slight the visuals, as the show actually looks quite impressive, as far as televised computer animation goes, ensuring that the action sequences have some intensity. Also included with the Blu-Ray set is a 96-page graphic novel that gives Arcee and Cliffjumper some back-story, along with a standard "Making of" supplement that outlines the approach to making a moderately fresh series out of a familiar story. (Shout! Factory)