Well, well... who would've thought that there would be so much rumblings and grumblings over the recently announced Transformers Animated television series, but that seems to be exactly where we're at. When I posted about the show a few days ago there wasn't really much in the way of plot details available, but now that the news is out there have been a few interesting and concerning tidbits of info that've hit the netwaves...
Maybe I should preface this by saying I am all in favor of the changes being made. In general I have no problem when even my most beloved properties are altered slightly. Also, its not like they didn't change the entire mythos two or three times throughout the last few TF series; don't bitch now just cause you've finally started to pay attention. And even if the changes don't turn out for the best, I support people trying to make a series more interesting for today's kids. And then finally face facts, retconning never killed anyone. Wewh, ok, sorry. I just get kinda pissed at fanboy bullshit.
So just check out this new image that's come out for the show. You can really see the radical departure in style from any of the other TF series. Click to embiggen.
Next and most importantly though is the plot. From the Cartoon Networks press release:
"Set on Earth in the near future in Detroit, the alien Transformers are thrust into a world populated by humans and automatons. As visitors to Earth, the Transformers--Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Prowl, Bulkhead and Ratchet--work in the human world, interacting with the 'natives' in exciting and humorous ways. "Transformers Animated" has been created to showcase the heroic Autobots working together to battle the evil Decepticons and save Earth with kid-relatable plot lines filled with humor, distinctive character personalities, and dynamic action."
"Each episode will present a standalone storyline featuring everyday heroes who do good deeds that triumph over evil... Twenty-six, half-hour episodes will be produced as well as a 90-minute special of "Transformers Animated" which is scheduled for release in early 2008 on Cartoon Network in the U.S."
Now that doesn't so so bad. What got the interweb fanboys up in a huff though was what came out of this Hollywood Reporter article where they talked to the series helmers a bit more about what we can really expect...
"Cartoon and Hasbro execs said the new series, "Transformers Animated," will be significantly different than the others, adding humor, never-before-seen characters and a new premise in which the Autobots fight evil humans in Superhero fashion much more frequently than they battle the Decepticons..."
"We've used the basic Transformers and characters as a springboard, but then we're pretty much reimagining the whole thing," said Bob Higgins, senior vp programming and development at Cartoon Network. "What we're doing with it is basically turning it into a superheroes story. We're really excited that we're able to take this decades-old property and hopefully turn it into something that kids haven't seen or expected from a Transformers series before."
That is the problem. Transformers as superheroes?! Not fighting the decepticons?! And having robots with "a lot more human qualities, allowing kids to identify with the characters much more than in previous series." Are they crazy?!?!
Personally, I'm not so sure its a big deal. I mean yes I admit it sounds pretty weird. But heck, if someone told me about Beast Wars beforehand I would've thought they were crazy too. And I loved that show. In fact, I unapologetically think its better than the original. So I for one, am going to try to keep an open mind.
The Transformers Animated wiki has a few more interesting tidbits, including some interesting voice cast info... And other than that I'm not sure what else to say. I'll definitely be interested to see the show now. It's set for a launch in early '08 on Cartoon Network, with the accompanying toy line set for March. We shall see what else transpires in the meantime...
Oh, as a side note, I picked up the action figure for the movie version of Optimus Prime at Target this weekend. Haven't had a chance to open or play with it yet, but it looks super sweet!