Transformers War For Cybertron
Image: Netflix

It has been decades since fans of the original Transformers cartoons, commonly referred to as G1, have seen their favorite characters in action. It should also come as no surprise that not everyone was a fan of the radical design changes made in the Michael Bay movies. Well, get ready to roll out again because Netflix has just debuted a new CGI anime series based on the original series.

Image: Netflix

Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy “Siege” begins before the iconic characters have left for Earth. The Cybertronian wars are not going well for the heroic Autobots. As the first episode begins, we get a glimpse of two very familiar characters in a desperate search for Energon. Not unexpectedly, things don’t go as planned, and, of course, they encounter Decepticons.

Image: Netflix

This new series does not feature the original voice actors, but it does feel like the new crew understands the weight of portraying such well-loved fan favorites. Some of them, at times, even sound like the original cast, further showcasing homage to the G1 series.

Image: Netflix

Primary Cast

  • Optimus Prime: Jake Foushee
  • Megatron: Jason Marnocha
  • Starscream: Frank Todaro
  • Wheeljack: Bill Rogers
  • Elita-1: Linsay Rousseau
  • Red Alert: Todd Haberkorn
  • Bumblebee: Joe Zieja
  • Soundwave: Edward Bosco
Image: Netflix

As the name implies, Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy “Siege” is planned to be a three-part series. This first one gets things moving with six episodes. In a somewhat typical fashion for streaming shows, things kick off with a bit of a slow burn, at first. For those still recovering from sensory overload from the live-action movies, it could be a welcome relief. Netflix is streaming the series in 4K Dolby Vision/Atmos where available.

Peter Brosdahl

As a child of the 70’s I was part of the many who became enthralled by the video arcade invasion of the 1980’s. Saving money from various odd jobs I purchased my first computer from a friend of my...

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12 Comments

  1. I’ve seen it all the way through. It doesn’t take very long. There isn’t really anything all that ground breaking here. It pulls from various continuities. Mostly from G1 and the War for Cybertron games. It’s entertaining but the voice acting is atrocious and the animation isn’t all that good. The style is somewhat like the games, which I like, but as I said the quality of animation isn’t as good as say Transformers Prime was.
  2. We we’re too tired to make it beyond the first two eps last night. I did find some of the voices bland well but I thought both Optimius and Startscream were decent. I also noticed how the designs blended both G1 and the games. Almost wondered if somehow they were using something from the game engine. I liked Tranformers Prime as well, never made it to the last season though. My only complaint, so far, for this animation is it doesn’t feel like they’re using the screen space as well as they could. I.E. really feels like a 4:3 pan & scan most of the time and wasting not using enough wide shots.
  3. Interesting that it was dropped with no notice. I remember seeing the original trailer and posting it to [H] a good while ago, but never seeing anything about it since.
  4. We we’re too tired to make it beyond the first two eps last night. I did find some of the voices bland well but I thought both Optimius and Startscream were decent. I also noticed how the designs blended both G1 and the games. Almost wondered if somehow they were using something from the game engine. I liked Tranformers Prime as well, never made it to the last season though. My only complaint, so far, for this animation is it doesn’t feel like they’re using the screen space as well as they could. I.E. really feels like a 4:3 pan & scan most of the time and wasting not using enough wide shots.

    There are a lot of super close up shots, which I suspect is to help hide an underdeveloped environment. It’s obviously a show made on an extreme budget.

  5. There are a lot of super close up shots, which I suspect is to help hide an underdeveloped environment. It’s obviously a show made on an extreme budget.

    Totally agree. Well, I finished it on the weekend. Not a bad story. I also now agree about the voice acting. For me, only Starscream and Optimus really stood out, oh, and Alita One. The rest might’ve all been the same person due to the generic tones. I was also shocked that even though it’s Dolby Vision it’s actually 1080P and not 4K. I’ve seen that happen before with other Netflix stuff. That also alludes to the limited budget scenario. I do like the story development for Bumblebee and Soundblaster though.

  6. Totally agree. Well, I finished it on the weekend. Not a bad story. I also now agree about the voice acting. For me, only Starscream and Optimus really stood out, oh, and Alita One. The rest might’ve all been the same person due to the generic tones. I was also shocked that even though it’s Dolby Vision it’s actually 1080P and not 4K. I’ve seen that happen before with other Netflix stuff. That also alludes to the limited budget scenario. I do like the story development for Bumblebee and Soundblaster though.

    The stories of Sound Blaster (not to be confused with Blaster, a different character) and Bumblebee as nice as they are the only new story elements I haven’t seen in other continuities.

  7. The stories of Sound Blaster (not to be confused with Blaster, a different character) and Bumblebee as nice as they are the only new story elements I haven’t seen in other continuities.

    Had to turn off in the background due to work, but it has inspired me to rewatch G1 again. Although, many of my favorite eps are in s3+s4. I loved the quintesson storylines. Right away my wife was asking if there’d be anything with them in this series and all I said was ‘I don’t know’. Also loved Beastwars and Machines. Didn’t think I would but they had a huge impact on me over time. Hopefully that doesn’t get jettisoned.

  8. Had to turn off in the background due to work, but it has inspired me to rewatch G1 again. Although, many of my favorite eps are in s3+s4. I loved the quintesson storylines. Right away my wife was asking if there’d be anything with them in this series and all I said was ‘I don’t know’. Also loved Beastwars and Machines. Didn’t think I would but they had a huge impact on me over time. Hopefully that doesn’t get jettisoned.

    Gross. While Season 3 & 4 weren’t bad, I preferred the earlier stuff. I loved the movie and there are some really good story lines in season 3 & 4. Dark Awakening is a favorite episode of mine. However, I hated Beast Wars and Beast Machines. Most continuities don’t ever recognize or recreate those things. I recall reading that this one would, so you may have that to look forward to.

  9. Gross. While Season 3 & 4 weren’t bad, I preferred the earlier stuff. I loved the movie and there are some really good story lines in season 3 & 4. Dark Awakening is a favorite episode of mine. However, I hated Beast Wars and Beast Machines. Most continuities don’t ever recognize or recreate those things. I recall reading that this one would, so you may have that to look forward to.

    Beast Wars was good, but Beast Machines was horrible. I think I only managed 2 episodes of it before noping out. The last series I watched was Armada and that was pretty good. The Netflix series is okay so far, but some things they did with the story annoy me.

  10. Beast Wars was good, but Beast Machines was horrible. I think I only managed 2 episodes of it before noping out. The last series I watched was Armada and that was pretty good. The Netflix series is okay so far, but some things they did with the story annoy me.

    We are going to agree to disagree. I hated Beast Wars. I’ve seen most Transformers shows and frankly, most of them aren’t very good. There are some really good ones every now and again though. Unfortunately, the show we are talking about now isn’t one of them. It isn’t bad, but it isn’t great. I’ll watch the next season whenever that shows up, but the first season isn’t likely something I’ll rewatch anytime soon.

  11. We are going to agree to disagree. I hated Beast Wars. I’ve seen most Transformers shows and frankly, most of them aren’t very good. There are some really good ones every now and again though. Unfortunately, the show we are talking about now isn’t one of them. It isn’t bad, but it isn’t great. I’ll watch the next season whenever that shows up, but the first season isn’t likely something I’ll rewatch anytime soon.

    I’d say the interesting thing about the franchise is that there are soooo many different incarnations. For most G1 will always be the definitive moment, and especially the first and second seasons. For the rest of us, we’ve been around long enough to sample a plethora of other versions. In the end, it’s ultimately an ‘each to their own’ kind of thing but, hey, at least we do have some choices. I honestly couldn’t even begin to count how many I watched either a few eps, minutes or just read a description, only to move on. I’ll always have my favorites though that get a periodic rewatch over decades.

  12. I’d say the interesting thing about the franchise is that there are soooo many different incarnations. For most G1 will always be the definitive moment, and especially the first and second seasons. For the rest of us, we’ve been around long enough to sample a plethora of other versions. In the end, it’s ultimately an ‘each to their own’ kind of thing but, hey, at least we do have some choices. I honestly couldn’t even begin to count how many I watched either a few eps, minutes or just read a description, only to move on. I’ll always have my favorites though that get a periodic rewatch over decades.

    This is a double edged sword honestly. The fact of the matter is that most of the post-G1 content mimics its source material heavily. Often to their detriment. Several of the story arcs are repeated to a point where the impact that they should have on the audience is entirely lost. Examples of this are the death and rebirth of Optimus Prime and Megatron being reformatted into Galvatron. Both of these stories are basically done to death as they occur in nearly every single incarnation of the characters. Even Beast Wars, which was probably the least derivative of the shows did this as well. It added an additional death to G1 Optimus’s timeline and saw the Beast Wars Megatron reformatted into another Galvatron.

    Optimus Prime has probably died about as many times as characters like Daniel Jackson (Stargate, Stargate SG-1), Charles Xavier (Marvel Comics), Jean Gray (Marvel Comics), and so on. The only characters that I can think of that have more deaths under their belts are Dean & Sam Winchester (Supernatural), and Jack Harkness (Doctor Who.) Of course, those characters dying and coming back to life repeatedly in some cases was part of a gag or character arc.

    Obviously, when Optimus died the first time, it was shocking and we never knew that he would return. Deaths in Transformers wasn’t a think until the 1986 movie. His death was a result of sacrifice for his soldiers and friends. He also dies simply because a younger Autobot made a mistake. One that haunts that Autobot from then on. In some continuities, he’s practically killed by random gunfire. In others, they attempt to kill him via a grand sacrifice, but it always feels flat and derivative because it is. Optimus Prime is resurrected a mere two years later as a Trojan horse in the form of a zombie only to die again in self-sacrifice. It was a dark and unique story for the series. He was also an Autobot named Orion Pax who was virtually destroyed at the hands of Megatron only to be turned into Optimus Prime, the first Autobot designed for combat in the G1 continuity.

    In other words, he died three times in the G1 continuity and did it far better than he did anywhere else. It had gravitas when it was done the first time. Each time its happened since, we always know that he’ll come back to life. In the original G1 TV series, we waited about two years for his return, which we never knew was going to happen. In modern retellings, he sometimes gets brought back to life within the same episode or film where he dies. It’s lazy and we’ve seen it done better in the past.

    To further point out just how derivative this is, the story of Optimus Prime and Elita-1 is identical to what we saw in the G1 TV series. Although, the flashback in G1 is a continuity error as the launch of the Ark was shown in the pilot episode, a later episode retells this tale exactly as seen in the new series. For those unaware, Elita-1 would later lead a team composed entirely of female Autobots that took orders from Alpha Trion, doing covert missions. Basically, it’s Charlie’s Angel’s with Robots. We see that none of the female Autobots save for perhaps Arcee make it off Cybertron in this show and as a result we can conclude it will probably result in something similar, albeit without Alpha Trion. Though the latter, has faked his death before.

    Megatron’s reformatting as Galvatron is seldom any better. While his reformatting in the 1986 Movie has some purpose (to sell toys), the subsequent fallout from this procedure torments the character and he suffers for it. Unicron controlled him by inflicting pain on him whenever he didn’t obey. These receptors are left on due to damage sustained in his fight with Rodimus Prime (the worst character name ever), and thus is short tempered and unnecessarily violent. He goes from being a scheming villain and occasionally brilliant military strategist to a sadistic and brutal commander with none of what made him great as Megatron, aside from being physically more powerful. He sabotages his own efforts to defeat the Autobots by being abusive to his own troops to a point where they only follow him out of fear rather than respect as they did with Megatron.

    At some point, after turning on his own troops several times he’s even committed to an intergalactic insane asylum to get help for this. It only tempers his behavior slightly. He effectively murders a living planet and sets back the civilization living on it by centuries. This calms him down so he’s a bit less abusive after that. The point being that none of these nuances, or any other are present when this story is retold in modern versions.

    The story of this new series closely follows the plot from the War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron games. It draws its visual style from these as well. Unfortunately, it glosses over most of the plot points from this source material and does very little to develop the characters or do anything we haven’t seen before. The only change worth mentioning is that Bumblebee’s character is entirely different from previous iterations. We’ve seen this only once before as the Bayformers movies changed the character almost entirely from what we’d seen in the G1 series. Some changes being for the better, and some not. In any case, the character we see here is a total departure and that’s about the only fresh thing going on. Sound Blaster isn’t entirely new, as he’s been seen before, but the character isn’t one we’ve seen too much in animation. So, he feels like a fresh addition to the story.

    I predict more derivative story telling and the eventual Death of Optimus Prime. Megatron may or may not get reformatted into Galvatron as this doesn’t always happen. I don’t think this series will show us anything all that original and it will be a retelling of various series and events which we’ve all seen before. At present, I have no reason to think anything else based on Season 1 of this show.

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