The Source Material is a Lot More Interesting Due to 1986 and Beyond

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by Galvatross, Sep 22, 2017.

  1. Galvatross

    Galvatross Make it Mac Tonight! Veteran

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    The 1986 film is both a beloved classic in the minds of many Transformers fans and simultaneously blamed for being the beginning of the end of G1. The movie both killed off many favorites of the first two seasons, including Autobot leader Optimus Prime, and introduced robots that were never seen before. These new robots included Hot Rod, who would become Rodimus, other new Autobots, the planet-destroying Chaos Bringer Unicron, the reformatted Decepticon leader Galvatron (not an entirely new robot, but changed enough from Megatron that I'm putting him in this list), and new Decpeticons made by Unicron from the corpses of dead Decepticons. The movie also introduced the Quintessons, although their relation to the Transformers wouldn't be revealed until Five Faces of Darkness, Sharkitcons, Junkions, and the Matrix of Leadership.

    Furthermore, even some surviving characters never appear or speak again on the show, and some surviving robots have radically changed personalities in the following season. The Dinobots are much more comedic, and Galvatron goes completely insane. Many fans think the new characters (or lack of the old ones) and direction of the show ruined G1 and led to its demise.

    I am not so convinced. Bringing back Optimus Prime, likely the most popular Autobot, didn't do jack to save the American cartoon. Nor were all of the older characters out of the picture: Soundwave, Dinobots, Megatron (in the form of Galvatron), Astrotrain, the Combaticons, Aerialbots, Stundticons, Bumblebee, and others were all still around, even if they were not focused on as much for the most part. Even Starscream showed up as a ghost in two episodes. A show that continued to focus on the same characters as the first two seasons probably would have lasted no longer.

    More importantly, the changes made in 1986 and beyond have resulted in a much more interesting fictional world that Transformers fiction in any continuity can explore in its own way. Now there are Quintessons, who created the Transformers as a race of lifeless slaves and seek to regain control of their creations and are willing to manipulate the Decepticons and others to get what they want. There are Sharkticons, who are ravenous executioners who serve the Quintessons. The Decepticons being the losers of the Great War and being forced to survive and make plans of conquest in cosmic backwaters. An insane Decepticon leader who beats up his own troops to the point that some become mutinous. An entirely loyal Decepticon lieutenant made by the powers of Unicron. A race of Transformers that makes use of the universe's garbage and can repair themselves using any sort of junk, including its signals from the media of supposedly advanced species. An Autobot leader who doubts his leadership abilities while trying to fill in Optimus' shoes. Six-changers, Double-spies, Headmasters, Targetmasters, and Pretenders. Finally, the episodes themselves became a lot less repetitive than before the movie, and that is a good thing even with a few ridiculous episodes (even by Transformers standards).

    These are all much more interesting than two factions consisting mainly of extremely simple and often dull archetypes endlessly fighting in canyons and generic cities over Energon. Even if the 1986 film was a factor in the decline of the original Transformers cartoon in terms of viewer interest, I think by changing the status quo the 1986 film and later seasons and comics made G1 much more meaningful than if they never happened. G1 would have been a lot less memorable if it had been the same formula for all four seasons. Furthermore, 1986 set a precedent for the reinventions of the brand and changes in status quo that some Transformers fiction would try in the following decades.

    What do you think? Did the 1986 film make G1 better? Did it make it worse? Has it benefited the brand overall? Would you like to see more fiction go into 1986 and post-1986 territory? I know I would.
     
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  2. Macross7

    Macross7 Well-Known Member

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    Nope. Always liked season 1 & 2 better.
     
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  3. FanboyX

    FanboyX is a real boy

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    I used to think season 3 was dumb as hell, but now it's my favorite US season. Of course I have select episodes of each season I prefer, but I usually find myself just starting from the movie when I go to rewatch G1. I also typically skip Rebirth altogether. It's turrible.

    If by 1986 and post86 you mean filling in the 20 year gap between the end of season 2 and the movie's 2005 setting then sure. Yeah. who built autobot city and where is it stationed? Where did the movie cast come from? Were they with Magnus before Autobot City or assigned to his command when they arrived on Earth? Did the Decepticons drive them from Cybertron during their conquest? How did the Decepticons take Cybertron anyway? What happened to Sparkplug and Chip Chase?
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017
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  4. Altered Prime

    Altered Prime Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to try to make this short since I tend to run on when we're on this topic

    1) yes the film was the beginning of decline, but I don't feel it is the fault of the story itself but as soon aspect of the story which I will get into later

    2)yes I feel killing Optimus prime was a big mistake, but I don't feel the deaths of the other characters would have mattered much if Optimus had not been killed.

    3) I know bringing Optimus prime back to life didn't do much to save the Show, but unfortunately that's to be expected, after all they waited far too long to bring actress back permanently.The return of Optimus prime two-parter was not an original part of the plan rollout for season three, that's the way it was rusted the production when things started to really look bad

    now as to what I feel really damaged the show, The 2005 time jump and be extremely nonrealistic vehicle modes we got for the new characters

    Now I know those designs were based on what they felt Futurecast might look like but I think one of the real things that captured the American audience at least ,when the series started was the fact that these cars and planes and devices looked like real world cars planes and devices

    I remember being on the school bus and writing down the road and just pointing out all the cars on the road that looked like transformer toys

    I remember pretending that my regular radio could be a blaster or a soundwave or the tapes.....You could write down the highway and see an 18 wheeler truck and say look it's Optimus prime

    Once we got the characters for after the stories set in the 2005+ years that was something We really could not do anymore

    So much for keeping it short
     
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  5. Aernaroth

    Aernaroth <b><font color=blue>I voted for Super_Megatron and Veteran

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    The brand has made a fairly good go of reinventing itself every 3-5 years, at least in part, for over 30 years. The G1 post-movie may not have reached the soaring heights of Seasons 1 and 2, but there are plenty of titanic 80s franchises who are basically dust in the winds of history at this point because they couldn't hold on to their audience and weren't able to find the kind of second, third, fourth... TENTH wind the Transformers have been able to by taking risks like they did with the 1986 movie.
     
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  6. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    Whatever grievances people may have with the movie, I think we'd all prefer elements of lore like the Matrix, & characters like Unicron, Cyclonus, Springer, etc existed rather than not.

    If I had to cite one variable that contributed more to the decline of TFs in the 80s over any other factor, it would be the sci-fi setting and alt modes.
    Part of the draw of TFs has always been looking at all the cars on the road & thinking to yourself, "hey! That looks like Optimus! Or Bonecrusher! Or whoever." Or just thinking how any vehicle on the road could be a TF.
    The sci-fi vehicles pretty well killed that. There are no vehicles on the road that look like Blurr, Wheelie, Springer, Arcee, or Hot Rod. There are no jets that look like Scourge or Cyclonus. It takes some of the fun out of it.

    That said, I'm not sure if they could've told the same story without putting some distance between season 2 & 2005.
     
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  7. Altered Prime

    Altered Prime Well-Known Member

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    I used to think that too, mainly because of the Autobots City addition , then years later I saw the Japanese scramble City episode with Metroplex and Trypticon

    I felt they looked fine with the other 80s characters

    I'm convinced they could have told the same story still set in the 80s or maybe just a three to five-year jump ..... Spike would have been an adult maybe not have a child of dannys age but they could have introduced a younger brother or a new character all together
     
  8. Windsweeper II

    Windsweeper II The Pristine

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    Hundred procent agreed.
    The movie and season 3 and 4 enriched our franchise beyond believe.
    It was a brave move to kill of many of the original cast and the characters that replaced them are a lot more interesting.
    The movie and season 3 broadened the Transformers universe to include the entire universe and that is how it should be.
    Limiting this show to earth and earth altmodes was a mistake.
    The appeal of Transformers is the creativity of the designs and the post 86 toys gave us amazing and dazzling beauty.
    Moreover this is a scy fy franchise, limiting the action to earth is... wel, idiotic.
     
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  9. LegionMaximus

    LegionMaximus Well-Known Member

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    I don't resent the fact that Season 3 exists, but I also didn't find it that interesting. Webworld is the only episode that really made an impression on me. (But it is one of my absolute favorite episodes overall.)

    About the lore, I feel like we got more lore in Seasons 1 & 2. Travelling to Cybertron to find Vector Sigma to make new bots, the Aerialbots travelling back in time, raiding Wheeljack's lab for that special compound that TFs need to survive . . . Obviously Season 3 did have some lore, but did it really provide more lore than we could have gotten in the Season 1 / Season 2 format?

    Also, I'm just going to say it . . . the Matrix is silly. What a terrible way to pick a new leader.
     
  10. YellowCorvette

    YellowCorvette It's Joke!!

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    While I can't really say if G1 starts to decline after the 1986 movie or not, I can at least appreciates the fact that the writers takes risk and actually bring something new to the franchise. The stuffs before season 1-2 aren't that bad, but I can't denied that the formula in the season 1-2 episodes gets old and boring really quick. I never cared of G1 until Season 3 begins as I find the post-1986 era of G1 to be more interesting and the script quality actually improves (Which is ironic since the animation quality of the G1 cartoon declines at the same time).

    Some franchises that I remember like Gobots and Mega Man aren't bad necessarily, but the fact that those franchise refuses to do anything new which causes them to became obsolute over time can't be denied. While the effort to bring something new to the Transformers franchise with the G1 Movie and Season 3 aren't the best, but I can appreciate the effort and thought that went into the post-1986 era of G1.

    I think that the 1986 movie improves G1 and the changes really benefits the brand, and I would like to see more Transformers fiction went into the post-1986 territory, but better.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2017
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  11. Pravus Prime

    Pravus Prime Wields Mjolnir!

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    It's a sticky wicket, that's for sure.

    Personally I think the problem wasn't the movie, it was the approach post-movie that was the problem. As a kid, I had expected season 3 to be a lead in the movie; we'd meet the newer Autobots in better detail, the Decepticons would start winning battles to cement their hold on Cybertron, etc. But that clearly didn't happen.

    Going post movie, I think they went in entirely the wrong direction; as I've shared a few times, post-movie should've been a substantial paradigm shift. The war should've ended, as decreed in the movie, with the Autobots and Decepticons trying to rebuild their devastated homeworld. Galvatron should've become unstable, but again, in the other direction. Sullen and depressed; it took an Autobot brat to free him from Unicron's torment. His soldiers of war couldn't protect their planet, an Autobot trinket did. He'd be part of the council leading Cybertron, but a quiet one who's only there because of experience and the support of Cyclonus and the other Decepticons. The Quintessons should've become the new threat, not in a hokey way, but in a new one, threatening Earth and Cybertron, attempting to enslave Cybertron and mine Earth for it's resources bringing the battle to a larger scale and having the Cybertronians split their focus between their own homeworld and protecting Earth as they're taking their first steps into the universe. Taking a cue from where the designs went, the Quints should've had their own faction symbol and should've gotten all the "monsterous" figures, Abominus, Predaking, and the like. Computron could've been a split Autobot/Decepticon combiner and a major leap forward for both powers.

    Regardless, one of the things that really shows (and does bother me) is that post-movie, the profiles, well, they fell apart. They lost all nuance and individualization. Virtually every Decepticon was incompetent, smelly and gross, and a bully (usually pick 2), while Autobots all became unbesmirched heroes or virtually the same. There wasn't the character complexity and as more gimmicks came into play, they overshadowed personality.

    In short, I think had they mature'd up rather then dumbed down, they probably still would have faded, but it would've taken longer and more fans would recall the later seasons far more favorably.
     
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  12. G1 Evac

    G1 Evac The Last Knight

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    What are you talking about?

    The 1986 movie WAS TEH BEST THING EVER!!!!!

    YOU GOT THE TOUCH!!!

    YOU GOT THE POWERRRRR!!!!

    YEAH!!!!
     
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  13. LegionMaximus

    LegionMaximus Well-Known Member

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    Those are some interesting insights, Pravus, especially about the profiles. The more I think about it, I think it wasn't the change of location or the change of cast that made Season 3 seem lackluster to me, but that the characterization and character interactions were lacking something. It's harder for me to remember individual cast members or anything significant about them, especially on the Decepticon side. Whereas with Seasons 1 & 2 I can rattle off lots of Cons, even those that didn't get a spotlight episode, like Thundercracker. The Season 3 guys feel more generic, I guess?

    And visually the Decepticons became so purple. It's true that purple was always "a Decepticon color" on the show, but having the three top 'Cons be purple, purple, and a purplish-blue made them a lot less visually interesting IMO.
     
  14. Galvatross

    Galvatross Make it Mac Tonight! Veteran

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    Great posts from different points of view. There is nothing wrong with liking Seasons 1 and 2 more to be sure, but I also think that even if one doesn't like the movie and latter seasons that it's a good thing they exist. Like Windsweeper said, 1986 made the fiction take place in a much broader universe.

    Same here. I love Golden Lagoon, Dinobot Island, A Decepticon Raider in King Arthur's Courts, and others, but generally I greatly prefer the less repetitive post-movie episodes to the earlier episodes. Even the earlier episodes I do love are the ones that aren't as repetitive as the others.
     
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  15. FanboyX

    FanboyX is a real boy

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    Right. There are some awesome moments in season one but they are all kinda the same episode. My favorites are the Cybertron and Dinobots eps. I don't care for most of Season 2's Spotlight format episodes, but I do like the dinobot episodes and gestalt origin eps. I smiled like an idiot last time I watched the Stunticons crashing and ramping everwhere, spinning out in midair to connect with their targets. But then there's Hoist Goes Hollywood and The Girl That Loved Powerglide which I do not care for at all. But I agree with you on Golden Lagoon and A Decepticon Raider in King Arthur's Court. Any of that weird old school sci-fi stuff. Cosmic Rust and Kremzeek too. The seeds of eason Three's broader universe were planted then.

    I guess I feel like Transformers should be more space opera than covert alien robot war, because the Great War itself only takes up so much of Cybertronian history and the war on Earth lasts as long as a fart in the wind in compared to the rest of the story.

    It's like the idea that the Rebellion is the only Star Wars setting worth expanding upon. There's such a bigger universe to explore.
     
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  16. Galvatross

    Galvatross Make it Mac Tonight! Veteran

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    I agree fully. Granted the war is obviously an important part of Transformers, but I think Transformers shouldn't be limited to two factions who found their way to Earth fighting each other. Also, the core of Transformers is not just the war...it's that the Transformers are alien, sentient, sapient, transforming robots. It's about how many factors in the universe and not just the war affect them and their characters and personalities and the factions and how they respond to those factors, including humans and other species. That's how I see it anyway.

    I also like Star Wars much more when it's not just the Rebellion verses the Empire, even though I love the OT more than the other movies.
     
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  17. kaijuguy19

    kaijuguy19 Keyblade Wielder

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    I think it was the execution of the 86 movie and the seasons that came after it that left a bad mark on some people because most of the ideas that we've had like a new Autobot leader and things like Unicron and the Matrix aren't that bad at all which is sad because certain characters like Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime get unfairly bashed for years as a result even if what was done was done all those years ago.

    Also let's face it even if we didn't get the 86 movie and the later seasons the way they are there's only so many times you can use the same formula you've had for the first 2 seasons before it would get stale and boring so either way they needed to take a few risks and try something different.
     
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  18. FanboyX

    FanboyX is a real boy

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    I've actually been watching season two while healing up on the couch thanks to this thread and really a lot of the episodes in the second half so far have the feel of many season three episodes. God Gambit, Child's Play, The Gambler all indicate a bigger galaxy than just Earth and Cybertron. I'm probably gonna end up watching this all day.
     
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  19. herugrim

    herugrim Defiler of Energon

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    First gotta say I love this topic. Easiest way to spot a Geewunner is when they talk about season 1 and 2 G1 being the best. It's like an easy access list of people to avoid.

    The post movie stuff was clearly more original than what came before. Transformers had established it's formula well before season 2 started and it didnt vary from that formula. Starscream is a traitor, ironhide a hick, and there was clones everywhere. Bumblebee gets in trouble, Optimus saves the day, the end. The most unique thing they had was the dinobots, who were just as active later.

    Season 3 had predaking, sky lynx, trypticon and metroplex, technobots, ghost in the machine, call of the primatives, and so on. There was a lot more going on.

    There's a ton of interesting concepts that could be drawn from season 3, not to mention the Japanese G1 trilogy. Tons of material that gets completely overlooked because the fandom is stuck in this rut of the first two seasons. Just look at the MP line and what third parties are making, the same damn cast over and over. It's beyond old.

    I'm glad Hasbro has been tapping into some of this stuff lately. Hopefully they keep it going. I'm not buying anymore damn prowl, jazz, or Brawn. I'm ready for new seacons, star saber, and predaking.
     
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  20. Galvatross

    Galvatross Make it Mac Tonight! Veteran

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    I couldn't agree more, and the episodes in Season 2 I do love are the ones that are less like the pre-movie formula, such as the Dinobot-centered ones.

    I most notably agree with the bold. I'll hear endless complaints about how Transformers stays focused on certain core characters, but any time Transformers fiction moves away more to post-1984 characters and later G1-inspired stories and concepts the fandom complains ever louder than usual. At this point in the brand's history it's true for fans of many different continuities, too. Many vocal fans don't want their favorite iterations of Transformers to move too far from the first episode, comic, or movie, even when the changes actually make the original story or previous stories more meaningful.

    One of these days I would love a cartoon to start in Season 3 or later Marvel Comic territory or something even more bizarre or novel, then when the story changes to a more 1984-style story the fans of that cartoon complain how its ruined forever! :lol 
     
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