Transformers: Prime Complete First Season (Blu-Ray)

As a diehard G.I. Joe fan, I feel very torn when it comes to Transformers. As a fellow in house Hasbro property, I feel a certain kinship towards the Autobots and Decepticons, but at the same time, I can't help but feel a bit of a jealous rivalry, especially in the past few years.

While the Transformers films are Hollywood blockbusters (fraught with critical abuse) making buckets of money, the toyline has expanded dramatically, video games are kicking ass, and the entire brand has become a global phenomenon. Meanwhile, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was abused critically and failed to make a huge impact at the box office, which is the worst of both worlds.

This rivalry was never more intense than when I compare and contrast G.I. Joe: Renegades and Transformers: Prime. While Prime received tons of mainstream publicity and lead the way for the Hub's introduction as a television channel, Renegades seemed content to only ride its coat tails and try to leech off of its success. Indeed, as Season Two was announced for Transformers: Prime, a similar announcement for Renegades was hoped for, but then never came. It only seems all the more painful now that I review a complete Season One Blu-Ray set for Transformers: Prime, when by all indications, we may never see the same thing for G.I. Joe: Renegades. It seems woefully unfair, especially considering just how much critical acclaim Renegades received, and how well it apparently did in the ratings.

With 2012 being a movie year, you would think something would be in the pipeline, but the word has been unusually silent.

But this isn't a forum for me to complain about Hasbro's treatment of Renegades, everyone has heard me dwell on that over the past year...this is a review of Season One of Transformers: Prime. And I must begrudgingly say... it's pretty damn good.

Taking away the whole rivalry between the two brands, and my own self-inflicted hostility towards Transformers' success, I cannot argue with the production quality of the Transformers: Prime series. With fantastically rendered computer models, impressive writing, and a surprising amount of robot-on-robot brutality, Transformers: Prime has managed to nicely integrate a fairly sophisticated story (along the lines of my favorite animated series of all time, Beast Wars) but yet it manages to maintain the familiar Autobots vs. Decepticons story, and inject some pretty cool new designs into the formula at the same time.

We get familiar voice acting from Peter Cullen and Frank Welker, along with many great cameos along the way and lots of unexpected twists and turns. But I imagine most of the folks reading this review probably know about the basic storyline of Transformers: Prime already. Why do you want this set?

Well, quite simply, it takes this impressive animation series and makes it even better. I don't know about you, but I don't get the Hub in HD, and I'm not sure how many people do. Seeing these Transformers: Prime episodes in crystal clear Blu-Ray quality is awesome to say the least. Every episode of Season One is rendered in fantastic video and audio quality, even better than what I saw on my television screen the first time around.

Now, not only is every Season One episode excellently rendered here in wonderful high definition, but 15 out of the 26 episodes also have audio commentary by several different members of cast and crew, and there is also an excellent "making of" featurette that is sure to add some insight to the production as well. There is also a terrific 96 Page Graphic Novel by IDW talking some background about Arcee and Cliffjumper preparing for the deployment to Earth. Honestly, there are tons of excellent special features in this Season One set, as if the HD Blu-Ray quality wasn't selling point enough.

Oh and hey... friggen bad ass Wheeljack alert!

Now, the series is not perfect. The kids still get on my nerves a bit, and I'm continuously taken aback at how Decepticon plots can be foiled by 12 year old children when ancient, two-story tall transforming robots can't seem to figure it out. But if you can look past the kids, and focus on the actual Autobots vs. Decepticons story that persists throughout Season One (and now into Season Two) I don't think you'll be disappointed.

As a monumentally devoted and disgruntled G.I. Joe: Renegades fan, it takes a lot for me to admit that Transformers: Prime is something worth devoting several hours of your life to. At first blush I wasn't sold...the humans were obnoxious, and next to the spectacular writing of G.I. Joe: Renegades, this series seemed superficial and bland. But as the season progressed, things got deeper, got better, and at the end of the day, I was extremely impressed by Season One, and this DVD set only further sells me on it. It was great going back and revisiting some of these Season One episodes and enjoying them even more in HD. The plethora of special features certainly did not hurt. If you're a Transformers fan, you absolutely must consider this purchase. From here on out, it's the only way I'll watch Season One of Transformers: Prime.

Video: 1080p Anamorphic

Audio: English 5.1/2.0 Surround

Run Time: Approx. 10 hours

Street Date: March 6, 2012

Warning! Some spoilers are involved in one of the video clips below. Watch the second clip from "One Shall Fall, Part 1" at your own risk, if you have not yet watched the full first Season!


Now, dang it, Shout! Factory, give me a G.I. Joe: Renegades Season One Blu-Ray! That one will get 5 stars for sure!