Is Transformers the "Star Trek" of Animation

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by Fairlady_Z, Sep 10, 2006.

  1. Fairlady_Z

    Fairlady_Z Official Voice of Flareup

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    I'm not talking about characters or storylines really, but as a fan of both Transformers and Star Trek I've noticed some interesting parallels in the way the franchises have developed as two of the longest running sci-fi franchises in history and the way fandom reacts.

    G1/TOS (The Original Series)

    Both series set up the universe and ran for 3 seasons. When Spock died in the movie fan outcry brough him back. When Optimus died in the movie fan outcry brought him back.

    BW/TNG (The Next Generation)

    Both series could have easily been a reboot, but even with a new crew each show chose to be a continuation set in the future. Fans were angry at the changes at first, but the new show won over many of the older fans. Appearances by original series characters helped cement the "approval" of the new show. The new characters became as fondly remembered as the originals. And both shows lauched the franchise revival that is going on to this day.

    BM/DS9 (Deep Space Nine)

    The "odd ball" series. These series are often loved or loathed for their "deeper storytelling and characterization," and daring to take chances with the core concepts of the franchise. Both series feature a setting that is a departure from the privious series (Trek - space station instread of ship, TFs - Cybertron instead of Earth). Both series dare to examine sprituality. Sisko's and Optimus Primal's joureys both lead them from skeptics to (sometmes fanatical) believers. The final episode of both shows feature the hero locked in moral combat with his greatest enemy (Dukat for Sisko, Megatron for Op), they fall into a firey pit, both "die" but the good guy becomes one with the gods (Sisko - the Prophets, Op - the Oracle/Matrix))and may someday return. But in the meantime a war is ended and a new age of peace is ushered in for those comrades left behind.

    RID/VOY (Voyager)

    A back to basics show. For Trek this meant a return to a ship exploring space, for TF a return to vehicles and battling on Earth. For those who weren't keen on the chances taken in the last show it's a breath of fresh air and they like it, for those that liked the chances and "depth" of the last show this shows seem too simplistic with the big "reboot button" pressed at the end of too many episodes (or in TF's case for the whole show concept). Both shows performed well for the franchise, but fandom starts to divide even further.

    The Unicron Trilogy (Armada/Energon/Cybertron)/ENT (Enterprise)

    A REAL back to basic show, not only back to basics but back to the beginning. Thinking that just a ship exploring space ever week was not enough Trek ops, not for a reboot, but a prequel. TFs, never one to care about continuity anyway, decides to just do another reboot. Both shows experience some major direction changes along the way in attept to keep the show fresh and gain more viewers (Xindi & Manny Coto's S4 vision for Trek, and Energon and Cybertron shifts for TFs). These changes result in varying degrees of sucess with fans either thinking that the show ended too soon or didn't end soon enough.

    And after all these shows fandom couldn't be more divided. The result is fans of BM/DS9 who used to think that their show was "the red-haired step child of the franchise" for daring to take the franchise to it's "limits" are now joined by RID/VOY fans who think that no *their* show is the "red-haired stepchild" since the "odd-ball edgy show" is now expiriencing a small renaissance on DVD for "not realizing how good things were when we had it" syndrome. The Armada/Energon/Cybertron/Enterpise Fans all feel like the older fans hate their show (though they can't agree on which changes were best during the rather eratic, direction-changing run). The G1/TOS fans wonder if anyone remembers their show at all, reminding everyone that if it weren't for their show the franchise wouldn't exist. And the BW/TNG fans gloat about how their show is really the one everyone likes best (or *should* like best) and is reponsible for the original franchise revival. But of course ALL the fans form any generation can agree that the network is screwing over their favorite franchise with bad time slots and eventual cancelations.

    Which leads us to the most recent developments - a movie that not only gets "back to basics" think reboot/prequel again, but one that this time is original series inspired bringing thing "full circle." The new TF movie promises familiar named characters and (one so far) original voice actors. The new Trek movie promises young Kirk and Spock with casting aproval by the original actors (Nimoy at least and I would expect Shater to demand the same). Whether or not these new, new, new aproaches drawing on original series nostagia will work remains to be seen. But one thing should be noted, after 700+ episodes of Star Trek and 500+ episodes of Transformers both series are unlikely to die for good. Hiatus maybe, but like Superman, Batman, or Mickey Mouse they'll endure and change for each new generation when the time is right.
     
  2. Pravus Prime

    Pravus Prime Sorcerer

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    An interesting comparison, well argued, and with interesting parallels. Hmm. Perhaps you're right.
     
  3. Ruination04

    Ruination04 8 Years Old Since 1984!

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    Very cool read!
     
  4. Feralstorm

    Feralstorm I ship Nick & Judy TFW2005 Supporter

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    (Guess I ddn't read too deeply into the real thoughts of the thread. oh well. :)  )

    Didn't we already HAVE a Star Trek for animation? :) 

    I think the main difference/issue I see with comparing Trek and TFs is that, with a few minor deviations and inconsistencies, All Star Trek material (TV and movies anyway - no idea about printed stuff) is supposed to fit together into one storytelling universe, while Transformers had reboots, restarts, or multiple continuities across different media fairly commonly.

    The main reason for this is that TF media is (mostly) built around toys Hasbro wants to sell at the time, while Star Trek has never been like that (though there is merchandise). Since Hasbro (and Takara) have new toylines with new concepts to plug, and they usually include a new Optimus and Megatron in each line, there are only so many ways to approach it from a story sense: New forms for the same characters, New characters with the same names, or a whole new story universe with similar characters. TF TV shows and comics have taken all three of those approaches.

    Interesting to think about what Trek would be like if similar restrictions were placed on the franchise. We've had three TV series with starships named "Enterprise", but what if they had to make a whole new series every two years that had an "Enterprise", a "Kirk", a "Spock", and "Klingons". Maybe throw a "Data", "Picard" and "Worf" in there too, 'cause they're pretty popular. :) 
     
  5. Fairy Princess

    Fairy Princess Banned

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    I thought it would be about psycho fanboys obsessing about the minutia of the series(s) little foibles. In which I would ahve agreed with you....

    Your analogy was cute too...
     
  6. Kickback

    Kickback Proud father Administrator Super Mod News Staff

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    When you look at it that way, yes.

    However, considering Star Trek brought together so many various things (science fiction along with politics and human desire) while Transformers brought together (G1) decent animation with cheesy music, I'd say advantage goes to Star Trek.
     
  7. Fairlady_Z

    Fairlady_Z Official Voice of Flareup

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    Thanks for the comments guys. I'm glad that you don't think I'm just being longwinded and crazy. It always takes a bit a courage to post a new thread.
     
  8. Caterwaul

    Caterwaul Busou Shinki Loremaster

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    I'm not sure any animation really fits in with Star Trek. Star Trek, as Feralstorm mentioned, mostly all fits in the same continuity, albeit with multiple time skips. The closest I can think of that really parallels that is the DC Animated Universe shows (B:TAS, S:TAS, Justice League, JLU)
     
  9. Sol Fury

    Sol Fury The British Butcher Administrator News Staff

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    I've sometimes heard Gundam compared to Star Trek in similar terms, but you make a good case. Very thought provoking, although I'm not sure if I can totally buy into the idea right now.
     
  10. Laser_Optimus

    Laser_Optimus Your opinion was noted. Now get lost. TFW2005 Supporter

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    Very well thought out. I do agree with you on some level, but at the same time... Star Trek is just leeps and bounds above Transformers in terms of storytelling and character development... not to mention development of their universe. Problem I think there is that TFs always seem to reboot and not really give a rats ass about continuity while, even when Star Trek drastically changes the concept, it still fits into the universe.

    Still, I do see all the parallels that you've mentioned, especially within the individual fandoms and it's going to be interesting to see where both new movies go. Personally, both could be good and both could be a flop. I'm personally expecting the later with Star Trek simply because their fandom seems less forgiving of "radical change" and the former for TFs simply because their is no one universe so "radical change" is more exceptable to the fandom... even if it ends up being a 50/50 split.
     
  11. Lonewolf

    Lonewolf Well-Known Member

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    A very well thought and argued comparison.
     
  12. DarkAngelPrime

    DarkAngelPrime Lawful Good

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    Several of those comparisions had occurred to me from time to time, but I'd never pursued them to this extent. When you put it all out there, though, I think the comparison is very, very apt. Bravo.
     
  13. snkeyes069

    snkeyes069 Legend in his own mind TFW2005 Supporter

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    Very well reasoned. As a fan (and I mean a BIG fan) of both franchises, I agree wholeheartedly. FWIW, DS9/BM are my favorite series, and were the minute I saw each episode first-run. Just brilliant storytelling given the restrictions placed upon each (Roddenberry eutopia vs. childrens' programming). :) 
     
  14. DJ Soundwave

    DJ Soundwave Action Figure Master

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    I Don't know....... perhaps Gundam may be the Star Trek of anime.
     

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