First Look at Transformers Prime Screeners Review - * SPOILERS! Ahead*

The time of reckoning is almost upon us. Discovery and Hasbro's new channel, The Hub, is set to debut the new "Transformers: Prime" animated series on Monday, November 29th at 6:30pm EST. Tformers.com was lucky enough to score an advance 'screener' copy of the first two episodes, which are part of the opening 5-episode miniseries that kicks off the show. After review of the show, we're ready to offer our first take.

WARNING!! MAJOR SPOILERS!!

The article below will reveal some plot lines and character personas. If you do not want to know any plot details, or if you do not want a critique of characters, DO NOT GO FURTHER!! You have been warned!

The Premise

The story takes place near the fictional town of Jasper, Nevada. The town is fictional, but the name is no coincidence, as it was a nuclear program during the 1950s that took place just northwest of Las Vegas. The storyline has shifted back to a more G1-esque type of situation, where the Decepticons are trying to mine Energon from cache points around the Earth. The Autobots, naturally, are trying to protect the Earth from this raid while staying incognito. During a scout mission, one of the Autobot's covers is blown while being pursued by Decepticon troops. When the dust settles from the ensuing battle, two humans learn about the Autobots. When Prime orders that the two humans be brought into Autobot custody, a third human is eventually in on the secret, and is subsequently brought into custody as well.

Meanwhile, Starscream begins the series by monitoring the Energon mining operations. From what is learned, Megatron has been missing for 3yrs, much to Starscream's satisfaction. That streak ends when Soundwave locates him. Once back in command, Megatron divulges his discovery of Dark Energon. Megatron injects the Dark Energon into a recently deactivated test subject. The result is a mindless zombie bent on rage. As part 2 ends, Megatron is seen injecting himself with the Dark Energon.

Vague? Yes. I don't want to give everything away.

The Characters

By order of appearance

Autobots

Cliffjumper:A fighter, he rather work alone until he's in over his head. Barely lasts half an episode before being taken offline. Alt mode is a red sports car modeled after the Dodge Challenger. The hood is adorned with longhorns.
Arcee:Acts as vice commander. She has a bit of an attitude, but is genuinely concerned for everyone's safety. Very agile in battle, but small and not very powerful. Alt mode is a blue motorcycle that resembles her Energon vehicle. Optimus Prime:Very G1 like, right down the voice (naturally). Wears a mouthplate during battle. Largest member in robot mode. Alt mode is identical to the movie Peterbuilt, sans the flames.
Ratchet:Can be moody, but not shed as an elder in this case. Initially despises the humans, as he's had to adapt Earth technology for Autobot use in their base. Alt mode is a large SUV outfitted as a rescue vehicle.
Bulkhead:Gone is the clumsy oaf from the Animated days. Bulkhead resembles more of "The Thing" via Fantastic 4. Alt mode resembles a Hummer H2 SUT.
Bumblebee:Talks in beeps and synthesized sounds. Looks similar to the movie Power Bot in robot mode. Alt mode is a yellow sports car. Think deformed Chevrolet Camaro.
Autobase:Former US military missile silo. Utilizes human technology, which Ratchet attempts to adapt to suit the Autobots' purposes. Known to glitch on regular occasion.

Decepticons

Nemesis:Decepticon flagship and mobile Earth base. Resembles Nemesis from Animated series. Massive in size.
Decepticon Troopers:There's alot of them, and they're all anonymous. They do have the ability to talk, although it's only seen when reporting in their status. Alt mode resembles heavily modified Cadillac CTS.
Starscream:Loses the nasaly voice, but still has contempt for Megatron. The contempt is very subdued though. Always hunched over in robot mode. Alt more is a Harrier style jet.
Soundwave:Only shown in two sequences. Does not show an ability to talk, is the one responsible for finding Megatron. Alt mode not shown thus far.
Megatron:Missing for 3yrs, but pulled back to Earth via Space Bridge technology. Anyone hoping for a G1 Megatron can stop reading here, as Welker takes Megatron in a different direction. Has found Dark Energon and is formulating ways to use it. Alt mode is briefly seen, resembles his alien jet mode from the first movie.

Humans

Jack Darby:16yrs old. Works at a local burger joint. Doesn't show much motivation except for when he first spots Arcee in bike mode. Would rather keep to himself.
Rafael:The stereotypical kid genius. Has a knack for computer systems. Eager to help out.
Miko:Foreign exchange student from Tokyo. Gets excitable and pummels with questions. Relishes the idea of staying with the Autobots.
Agent Fowler:Liaison between Autobots and humans. Very critical of Autobot's damage control during battles, would much prefer having the Pentagon handle any Decepticon threat.

Visuals

The characters themselves are done in high definition graphics. They move very smoothly and show great detail, although their faces are very simplistic in nature. The background art is console game quality.

Other Tidbits

Warning! Some major plot lines may be revealed here! Read further at your own risk!.

1) Unicron is back in the storyline. This is where the Dark Energon eminates from.
2) The Autobots utilize "Ground Bridge" technology, similar to the technology used in the Armada series.
3) The Energon mined resembles the concentrated crystals in the G1 Episode "A Prime Problem". However, unlike that episode, these Energon crystals can be handled directly by the Transformers.
4) Jack's mother is briefly introduced. It is learned that there is a past with Jack and motorcycles and she objects to Jack 'owning' one (since Arcee is posing as Jack's transportation).

Thoughts

From what I can gather from the first two episodes, another attempt is being made to satisfy all walks of Transformers fans while trying to bring a fresh story line via canon reboot. Some people may be disappointed that Welker's Megatron is not G1 faithful. In truth, it more resembles Corey Burton's portrayal via Animated. It's one of many 'letdowns' that some older fans may have. In fact, the only satisfactory point may be with Optimus Prime. The voice is spot on, as is his G1-esque persona.

That aside, the show does have promise. Sure, the CGI looks a bit dated when judging it from the peripheral art, but the characters themselves are done up very well and have fluid animation. The storyline, even from early on, is also intriguing. What may hurt (or help) this series is the airtime, which is 6:30pm EST (3:30pm PST for you west-coasters). 6:30 is usually dinner time, so it should be interesting to see how many east coast fans tune in initially.

Being that it airs at 3:30pm in my time zone, this writer won't be able to catch it live. Since I also don't possess a DVR, that means (like many) I will be victim to YouTube or torrents to catch most of the action. Depending on how the remaining three episodes of the miniseries pan out, this has the ability to make or break both the Transformes and The Hub. Here's hoping for a strong finish.






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