Transformers: The Complete First Season (25th Anniversary Edition) Review
If only the new movie could have been this awesome...
If you're a regular reader of gamerstemple.com, you know that I've become the go-to guy on everything Transformers. DVDs, games if it has these robots in it, you can bet I've reviewed it (make sure to check out my review of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on PS3 coming soon). Through all the series revamps, re-imaginings and restarts, I've always had one thought in my mind the original is still the best. And now, FINALLY, Shout Factory has compiled the first season of the original cartoon, cleaned it up, slapped on some cool extras and released it on DVD. And guess what? I was dead-on correct: the original Transformers are still the best.
If you're a bit older, you know how sometimes revisiting beloved childhood properties can go either way some are still great, while others are almost unbearable (go back and watch Thundercats if you don't believe me the song so annoying). The Transformers remain infinitely watchable and engaging almost from the first second episode one begins. If you don't know or can't remember, the series begins with the good-guy Autobots and the bad-guy Decepticons crash-landing on Earth during their endless space battle. Both factions learn to blend in with human society by mimicking man-made machines of all kinds, and with the help of a smattering of humans, the war rages on. From that base point, all kinds of stuff is introduced, from Energon to the fan-favorite Dinobots. Newer Transformers series have tried to add layers to the basic plot, but they just end up convoluted messes simpler is better when it comes to the robots in disguise.
This DVD set a very nice set, I might add covers "season one" of the original series, which is to say 16 episodes across three discs. It begins with the multi-part pilot, and follows the Transformers right up to the introduction of the Insecticons. Most of my favorites are found in these first 16 episodes Starscream, Soundwave, Grimlock, Ironhide they're all here and they look better than ever, thanks to the amazing job Shout Factory did on the original masters. For this release, they cleaned up not just the picture, but the soundtrack as well, and this is evident when watching these DVDs in a room with a higher-end or even just decent sound system. The voice track AND background music are as crystal clear as any other animated DVD release I've ever seen, and the menus and extras just add to the overall quality. The DVD menus all have some decent animation from the show inlaid behind them, which is cool, but the extras steal the show.
In the special features department, Transformers: The Complete First Season gives viewers a few Hasbro toy-related mini-features, a printable script for one of the episodes and some concept artwork, all of which are pretty cool. The best stuff, though, is some awesome Hasbro toy TV commercials and even some original public service announcements (kinda like the old G.I. Joe ones), which are both fascinating and hilarious. They've even thrown in as a bonus a CD-sized Autobots refrigerator magnet, which really seals the deal. And I'm not sure if it counts as a "special feature" per se, but you have the option of watching the two multi-part episodes in marathon mode, i.e. without breaks for intro or closing credits. I loved this feature in the recent Dragonball Z sets, and I love it just as much here.
As I was watching these episodes and writing this review, I was almost constantly searching for a fault in these episodes or this DVD set. To put it plainly there isn't one. In either. The episodes are just as great as I (and you) remembered them to be, and the packaging and presentation of the material should be held up as an example of how to do a DVD release the right way. Now it's just a matter of months before season two is released, and whether or not I'm sent a copy to review, it will most definitely have a place waiting for it on my DVD shelf. Go get this DVD you won't have anything but hours of robot fights ahead of you, and who doesn't want that?
Transmitted: 8/30/2015 11:58:36 AM