Would Transformers Media Been Better if it wasn’t a toylike

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by K2flygurl, Dec 10, 2019.

  1. K2flygurl

    K2flygurl Banned

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    This thread was inspired by a YouTube comment that claims that Transformers would’ve been better if it wasn’t a toy line. A YouTube comment isn’t a good source, but it did got me thinking.
     
  2. AutobotAvalanche

    AutobotAvalanche Number One in Boogieland Moderator

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    Not necessarily better, but much less constrained.
     
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  3. Rewind Eject

    Rewind Eject Did somebody say Avatar?

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    Transformers wouldn't even have existed if not for the toy line in the 80's - the toys literally came first. But, yes, I do believe a less merchandise driven series would be a breath of fresh air today.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2019
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  4. SaberPrime

    SaberPrime System Pride

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    I don't know if it would really be better... there are a lot of other factors to consider than just being a glorified toy commercial. There are a lot of fictions that don't have that problem but are far WORSE than Transformers.

    And I honestly don't think being a toy commercial really contributes that much to the over all quality of the story. Even within Transformers fiction itself we have things like Beast Wars and Beast Machines with a much larger toy line than just what the fiction shows us. Sure we get things like Inferno was suppose to die and then just didn't because Hasbro stepped in and said no want to see more of his figure, keep him in the show.

    The only time the existence of the toy line really hurts the fiction is when it's super obvious that they're trying to sell toys because it makes no sense in universe why this thing even exists other than to sell toys. I think a good example of this is when the cast of a cartoon has more characters than it can even support just because they need to shove all the toys in there.

    Like... as cool as it was seeing Rodimus' team vs. Strika's team in Transformers Animated it didn't really seem to add anything to the story and they're never seen or mentioned ever again which made it feel more like a scene that was shoved in there to sell more toys. Though not all of those characters had toys it did also include characters like Oil Slick who was a toy first and I'm sure his sales jumped up once that episode aired.

    It's kinda like during Beast Machines, I passed on Obsidian the first time around. Really didn't care for the figure and being a toy only character at the time I didn't give a crap about him... then he showed up in season 2 and suddenly I was actively tracking down a figure I originally didn't care about. And I got all the other Beast Machines figures just in case they showed up at some point in the cartoon so I wouldn't have the same trouble I did finding Obsidian after the fact. It's kind of a sneaky way to sell more toys and doesn't really make sense in story considering they introduced him as someone who fought in the great war despite the fact this was the first time there was ever an Obsidian in the fiction. I think that's the only time that it became really obvious this character was only being put into the cartoon to sell more toys.

    We've also actually had Transformers fiction with no toy line attached to it. Hearts of Steel is a great example of that since no official toys have ever been made for those comics. I'm not exactly sure but I think War Within never saw any toys until that comic story line had already ended and even then they weren't really a dedicated toy line to just War Within, they were mixed in with other figures. I don't think those stories were better or worse than the ones with a toy line. They're still made by the same writers so that's what really makes the most difference.
     
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  5. Amadeus Novilium

    Amadeus Novilium Well-Known Member

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    Simple, no toys still makes money but less, toys and we be raking.
     
  6. Feralstorm

    Feralstorm To Infinity - and Your Mom TFW2005 Supporter

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    It's a mixed bag IMO. The biggest thing about 'toy-driven' fiction is those making it always have to answer to the 'home office' to some degree, on what they must do or include, or avoid doing. This can be a big drawback when plans are forced to change to accommodate the needs of marketing the toys. Then again, it can occasionally be a benefit as well. A new character that wouldn't have been added otherwise could turn out to be a fan favorite, or a story whipped up to explain a toyline-driven change might wind up an important piece of canon going forward. Not to say toy-driven fiction is better, but it does (or at least can) have quality elements which probably wouldn't have shown up if the needs of the toy line didn't bring them out.
     
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  7. CountDrunkula

    CountDrunkula Sturdy Beard

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    Transformers media was initially created solely to serve as long-form, regularly-scheduled advertising for the toyline, so the actual answer is that it would not exist in any capacity if there was no toyline. Whether or not that is an improvement is, I suppose, certainly debatable.

    In any event, name me any children's IP from the 80's without a successful toyline that is still active, or at the very least, widely remembered today. Better? Maybe. Successful? Not by a long shot.
     
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  8. Windsweeper II

    Windsweeper II Banned

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    On the contrary. If this wasn't a toy-based franchise about robots the writers would have centered in even more on humans with all the deranged politics of fiction that entails.
    Things have been bad enough on that account, but they could have been far worse.
     
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  9. Venixion

    Venixion Evil Dust Bunny-con

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    No. The person who said that has it ass- backwards. Hasbro is a toy company that has been around longer then any of us have been alive, and uses their media to make commercials. Not the other way around. That's why you don't see a lot of actual Hasbro commercials.
     
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  10. Pravus Prime

    Pravus Prime Wields Mjolnir!

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    I would say only in regards that they don't veer much from Y8 and as their normalized profit generation.

    I'm not saying I want all the vices of adult content, but there are certain story avenues that are cut off or would be severely diminished because they don't want to take a chance. As it is, Hasbro doesn't even seem to be all that big on making their own shows. For as much as they're diversifying and have in the last few years into multimedia entertainment, they also seem to be really bad at it. They let Prime sink their expansion plans, the "older" aimed shows that were 6 minutes (or whatever) long barely moved a plot, and they're now doing short episodes mostly for YouTube, which ironically seems to be trying harder to be in the aligned universe then Prime ever did.

    If I were in charge of the proper division at Hasbro, I'd have 2 series, essentially a Cyberverse series for kids, then a variety show for adults on YouTube. Something like Transformers: Multiverse. Maybe even narrate it by Vector Prime. Do stories in arcs as long as they needed, jumping around the different universes and franchises. Celebrate what is there in the franchise and tell stories that go farther. Even do some specials, like MTMTE/Lost Light as longer length episodes.

    Though personally, I'd do yet another retelling of Transformers awakening on Earth, using the Season 1 and 2 cast (all together), in a logistics tech specs/original profile series. The teen fiction that was originally planned, with issues like limited armament, no re-supply, and no way to refuel with actual Energon the driving narrative forces. Every death would be a hard felt troop death in what may be a war of attrition, but also parts for the injured and one less mouth to feed.
     
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  11. K2flygurl

    K2flygurl Banned

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    This.
    Also My Little Pony Friendship was well done despite having toys behind it.
     
  12. Venixion

    Venixion Evil Dust Bunny-con

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    That's still ass backwards of you to say. The franchise as a rough whole has done well selling toys. No toys=no cartoon. Not the other way around.
     
  13. Whomps

    Whomps Well-Known Member

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    Not necessarily, all that matters is people wanting to make good content. You can have as much freedom and no restrictions as you want but it won't really matter if the people behind it are incompetent or don't care

    Hot take here, but the latter half of the show's run(S6-9) was a lot less toy-centric, the writers weren't restricted to the toys and had a lot more creative freedom, yet was a lot worse off for it
     
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  14. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP Be strong enough to be gentle

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    Transformers is a toyline. It's very foundation and fundamentals of the idea itself all exist as justification for a toy gimmick.

    Even Transformers media that aren't based on a toyline still feature the core "silliness" of the original toys, like transformation itself and how impractical and goofy it is.
     
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  15. K2flygurl

    K2flygurl Banned

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    It was? I thought it was a compliment. Never saw it as one that until you said. I never said the show or the toys were horrible. I was thinking what that guy and Diamond Bolts had said about toys being behind Transformers. DB stated in one of his videos that Combiner Wars (the comic one) fail because there were toys behind it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2019
  16. SaberPrime

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    To the people saying Transformers wouldn't even exist... I think you're missing the point of the thread.

    It's not about if Transformers was NEVER a toy line... it's just about would the fiction be improved if the writers weren't restricted by what toys Hasbro wanted to sell.

    Think of it like this. Batman has had multiple toy lines over the years but he wasn't originally a toy. He was a comic book character first, the toy line came later. And I do think the fiction takes a hit whenever they cram something into a story just to sell toys. Have you seen that story where Batman has to wear a different colored costume every night? It's stupid... and the only reason it exists is because they had a bunch of toys of Batman in different color schemes and they had to use them to sell the merchandise.

    Batman Unlimited is actually pretty good for a glorified toy commercial. And that's all it since the Batman Unlimited toy line actually came out first and the movies were made to promote that toy line. You can kinda tell when something was shoved into the movie's plot just to sell a toy. That said I still think the movies would of been BETTER if they didn't have to also sell a toy line.

    Now if you look at something like Batman the animated series from 90's that cartoon also had a toy line with a lot of stupid gimmicks and multicolored Batmen but we never saw any of them in the cartoon. The cartoon series came first, story and characters came first. Nothing was done there just to promote their toy line.

    So what they're really asking is not would the story be better if the toy line didn't exist but rather would it have been better if they didn't have such strict rules from Hasbro to push products. There could still be a toy line but how much better would the fiction be if the writers weren't restricted by that toy line. Like Beast Wars season 1, the toy line suggested a much different story that the animators ultimately ignored entirely and I think the story was that much better for it.
     
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  17. stephen

    stephen Well-Known Member

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    If a show did not have a toyline there would be no money to fund the show.
     
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  18. K2flygurl

    K2flygurl Banned

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    But I wasn’t asking for that. See comment above you. The person explains what I meant.

    Thanks
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2019
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  19. RodimusRex

    RodimusRex Well-Known Member

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    I think alien robots turning into cars is a pretty dumb premise outside of the basic play setup of toys and toyetic fiction.

    If it weren’t a toy line, either you’d write it like one anyway or you’d end up with insanely bad fiction.

    Let’s start: are there seams where the transformation panels are? How does it work? Why is it efficient? Where do the robot parts go in vehicle mode? What happens to a human inside one when they transform?

    Why not just tell stories about giant robots?

    Or spirits that possess machines?

    Everything about them transforming makes the premise worse.

    It’s a bonkers premise that doesn’t work as hard sci-fi. And as soft sci-fi, what makes the premise engaging? Does it appeal to car people without car themed merch? Probably not given how it clashes with the detail aspect of cars.

    Without the toys and the basic morality fables, the idea is worse than Plan 9 from Outer Space or Sharknado.
     
  20. K2flygurl

    K2flygurl Banned

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    What happen to the humans is something I don’t want to know.