On this day in Transformers history – September 17, 1984 was the date of the premiere of the very first Transformers cartoon. More than Meets the Eye part 1 brought to TV screens the saga of the Transformers – journeying from planet Cybertron to Earth in search of precious energy sources to rejuvenate their world.
In the 30 years that have passed in between, we’ve had over 720 episodes of Transformers. Those 720 episodes have spanned no less than 17 different cartoon shows, each with its own unique premise, but all tracing themselves back to the great pedigree set down by the first ever episode of Transformers, which aired this day in 1984.
As a fan who was around in 1984, I can remember watching the original trilogy of More than Meets the Eye cartoon episodes on a VHS tape called “Arrival from Cybertron”. More than Meets the Eye / Arrival for Cybertron opened up for me this whole fantastical world of transforming alien robots – leaving their home which was critically low on energy and crashlanding on our own four million years ago, only to awaken in a volcanic tremor and resume their war on Earth.
The premiere trilogy wasted no time in cutting straight to the action, and quickly established the roster of personalities. It was a very good, strong start for the show that did an excellent job of world-building and setting out who was who - and of course, it was followed by an excellent first season that built off the strong foundation.
On this day, we celebrate the first Transformers cartoon, and the rich legacy that it led to – because there can be little doubt that without such a strong cartoon to back it up, the Transformers may not have gained the momentum it did to break through and become the phenomenon that it is today.
On an aside, you might be amused to know that the very first Transformer to appear on screen in this first episode is none other than Wheeljack, closely followed by Bumblebee. Perhaps by accident or design, any day now Wheeljack is going to celebrate his role as the first Transformer to appear on screen by getting his very own Masterpiece toy released – and as with the cartoon, a Masterpiece Bumblebee is following closely after.