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Featured TV on DVD Review: Transformers: Prime: Season One

March 6th, 2012

Transformers: Prime: Season One - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

Transformers: Prime previously made its debut on the home market as Darkness Rising, which I previously reviewed. At the time, I thought it was easily the best result of the live action Transformers franchise. However, it wouldn't take much to do that. Is the show worth watching for fans of the original series? Will it make new fans for the franchise?

The Show

After the events of Dark Rising, the Autobots remain on Earth taking care of their three young human friends. The Decepticons also remain on Earth, under the command of Starscream. For much of the first half of the season, we get what are essentially freak of the week episodes. The Autobots either find an ally, or the Deceptions do, or they run into a different type of threat, but at the end of the episode, things are set back to normal. However, partway through we are introduced to a couple of recurring themes. Firstly, there's the return of Megatron, and the obvious battle between Megatron and Starscream for control of the Decepticons. Second, there are two new characters, Airachnid, who is an archrival of Arcee, while Breakdown is the rival of Bulkhead. There are several episodes that focus on these two rivalries, sometimes simultaneously. Finally there's M.E.C.H., a paramilitary organization that is looking for new technology to take over the world, and when they learn of the Transformers, they become a prime target.

Like I said the first review, this is the best Transformers series since Beast Wars and it works in every way. The writing is very strong and this includes well-developed characters, individual episodes as well as multi-episode arcs. (Not every episode was great. There's one about an artificial energon that feels like a PSA on Roid Rage.) The voice acting is very strong and help create compelling characters. This even includes the young kids, which are usually the weakness in these shows. There is plenty of action with some incredible one-on-one battles, as well as some epic battles. It even ends with a really good cliffhanger. If you liked Darkness Rising, then the full season is absolutely worth checking out.

The Extras

Extras include five minute audio commentary tracks on all five parts of Darkness Rising, plus commentary on ten of the other twenty-one episodes on the four-disc set. If that was all the extras on the DVD, it would be great. However, there are also an 11-minute making of featurette, which also talks about the show's place in the franchise as a whole, and a 17-minute featurette on the toys developed in conjunction with the show.

I don't have the Blu-ray to compare, but it comes with a mini-comic and I've heard great things about the video quality. On the other hand, it costs nearly twice as much. I think you are paying for the "Limited Edition" label here.

The Verdict

Transformers: Prime started off strong with Darkness Rising and maintained that high quality throughout Season One. The DVD is worth picking up, while the Blu-ray is a little pricey.

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