Transformers: Prime, aired by the HUB Network, is among the greatest pieces of robot-brawling action you'll find anywhere. An epitome of what Transformers should strive to be, not just a selling point for action figures and toys, but a glorious story about an epic war between killer robots and how we can emotionally connect with them here on Earth, Transformers Prime holds a special place in my heart, alongside the controversially bad originally Bayverse trilogy as being the media which introduced me into this franchise. Though while I really only enjoy the Bay Films for their nostalgic purposes and epic, explosive setpieces which provide some decent eye-candy, I enjoy Prime for genuine reasons. So here is my review... on Transformers Prime.
Set in an isolated part of Nevada, TF: Prime takes us through the saga of the exiled Autobots in their eternal war against the malevolent and all-powerful Decepticon Empire. Despite losing an initial member, Cliffjumper, to Starscream, we see the Autobots are an elite fighting force capable of holding their own against even the toughest of threats. However, the Autobots aren't the sole main protagonists of this show. They share screentime and cinematic space with three human characters: Jack, Miko, and Rafael. Unlike most Transformers where humans are either meatshields or irritating takeaways from the eye-candy action sequences taking place, in Prime, they are given a real chemistry and dimension to them. Their personalities are differentiated, and thus, paired with a particular Autobot. Jack, being more mature yet conflicted on certain segments of his life, works with Arcee, who acts as his motorcycle. Miko, an enthusiast of monster movies and destruction, is paired with Bulkhead, who is similar to her in the love of fighting and destruction, but remains the levelheaded equivalent to Miko. Finally, Rafael is paired with Bumblebee, both being technologically savvy, and with Rafael able to communicate with Bumblebee's stuttered voice module. There's also Agent Fowler, a stumbling, yet dedicated member of the U.S Government who acts as liaison to the Autobot Cause.The Autobots also have Ratchet, a disciplined medical official who continually girds against the more freedom-loving members of the organization, Wheeljack, a loose cannon and highly-trained Wrecker warrior, Ultra-Magnus, a militant Autobot of the highest order, but above all...
Optimus Prime, voiced by Peter Cullen, remains the paragon of justice, righteousness, heroism, and leadership that Transformers has made him. Despite arguably being the most "flat" of the Autobots, this is merely because his personality is one of restrained, monk-like qualities of acceptance and hindsight. He is rightfully placed as the sage mentor, the wise leader, yet when provoked hard enough by Megatron or his vile accomplices, a ruthless and fantastic battle-tactician without any remorse for the enemy. Transformers: Prime truly does create one of the greatest versions of Optimus, practically epitomizing the character's qualities and becoming THE Optimus, a standard benchmark for which other iterations of this character must live up too in some way or fashion. However, it wouldn't be a proper Transformers show without the villainous Decepticons, who take up the other half of screentime. Led by among the greatest iterations of Megatron I've ever seen, who both exudes a grandiose, magnificent leadership, along with a stern, relentless, and ruthless tyranny, the Decepticons have brought destruction to their homeworld of Cybertron through endless eons of warfare, intending on restoring their people's glory by conquering the entire Universe. Megatron's cast of underlings certainly sets this show apart, especially since, unless the movies, they all carry their own personalities, identities, goals, and motivations. Starscream, as per usual, is a duplicitous, two-faced power-player that seeks to usurp Megatron and take command of the Decepticons. However, as the series progresses, we see Starscream's character and motivations further fleshed out, along with a brief instance at the series's end where he is truly loyal to Megatron's command. Soundwave, the silent one, is an exceptionally badass Decepticon who barely speaks throughout the series, the only time doing so in taunting the Autobots with his catchphrase of superiority. "Soundwave Superior, Autobots Inferior." Soundwave's silence is understood from his vow of silence, taken until the day he sees Megatron's conquest fully complete over the entire universe. Until that day arrives, Soundwave will remain a testament of enduring military competent and exceptional espionage quality, alongside his spy drone Laserbeak, of which also makes a presence on the screen. Shockwave, the heartless, cruel scientist that conducts experiments in the name of advancement, or Arachnid, the self-serving Spiderling Decepticon. Knockout, the Decepticon obsessed with vanity, and his partner in crime Breakdown. Essentially, the Decepticon personalities are so varied and brilliant that it almost makes you root for them. While the series formula isn't exactly anything new, a three-season story arc that includes numerous smaller storylines and arcs, it brings some entertaining content to boot. One episode, the Decepticon Knockout's involvement in illegal racing brings him in a crossroads against Jack's personal life. Another string of episodes is a race for powerful relics that contain unimaginable power that both sides of the war could use to their advantage. There's even a militant, human supremacist organization known as MECH that consist a third-party, human villain element into the show. Despite their generic nature and lackluster presence (which is quickly eliminated by both Autobot and Decepticon nonetheless), they do remain an interesting filler organization in the backdrop of the Greater Cybertronian Conflict taking place on their world. Speaking of such Conflict: Prime also gives us snapshots at the Old War on Cybertron consistently. Through memories of the Autobots, we witness some rather brutal scenes for a children's show. Arcee recollects her old ally, Tailgate, being murdered by Arachnid during the war, or Bulkhead discussing a brutal battle in which the Wreckers narrowly escaped with their lives.
Essentially, Prime has everything. An entertaining, three-season story that one could easily binge, third-party villains such as MECH and Unicron (the Transformers version of Satan, basically, but speaking about him in detail spoils most of the plot and ending movie), and characterizations of familiar faces in the Transformers Universe one shall be sure to remember, along with the memorable introductions of enjoyable human sidekicks, it earns a solid 10/10 in my book.