Created by: Hasbro Studios
Starring: Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, Jeffrey Combs, Ernie Hudson and Steve Blum
The incredible latest entry into the Transformers franchise finally releases its second season, but does it measure up to the intense bot-on-bot action and quality storytelling of its first season?
Season two of Transformers: Prime picks up right after the climatic finish of season one, with the Autobots desperately trying to save their leader Optimus Prime from the clutches of the vile Megatron and his Decepticons. Megaton’s plot sparks the principle effort of this season – a race between the Autobots and the Decepticons to find ancient Transformer weapons hidden on Earth millennia ago.
This season also sees the return of M.E.C.H., the human technology terrorist group from season one that covets the Transformers’ advanced tech for their own purposes. Just as with season one, it’s good to see that this series expands beyond the usual Autobot-Decepticon warring, that humans play an active part as both the good guys and the bad outside of being simple sidekicks.
With most of the character introduction out of the way from season one, season two gets to hit the road from the start with further developing these characters in new scenarios. Starscream in particular is all over the map with his character journey. The power balance between the Autobots and the Decepticons is in constant flux with new weapons and team members joining the mix. Throwing in rogue humans and Transformers alike, the struggle between Autobots and Decepticons become all the more complex and intriguing.
The characters remain superb. Peter Cullen and Frank Welker are always treats as their respective Optimus Prime and Megatron. All of the returning crew of Transformers and humans continue to do solid jobs. There’s a middle point though where the series almost forgets about the human kid characters, with their absence from several episodes, which feels like a weird transition when they come back in. That could have been handled a bit better.
In season two, we do get to see some new bots. Some are great additions, such as the Decepticons Dreadwing and Shockwave. The sole Autobot addition Smokescreen, however, suffers from annoying, over-eager rookie syndrome, which takes a good few episodes to die down. To make up for that, we get more Wheeljack after his one-episode appearance in season one. All together, more bots is always a good thing.
This series continues to be a great culmination of all things Transformers, with compelling stories, well-developed characters, and great action. With an emotional start and finish, and fun adventures in between, this season is a must watch for any bot fan.
The Video and Audio
The video is presented in 1080p widescreen, and the audio comes in both 5.1 surround and 2.0 stereo English tracks. The CGI is still well detailed and fairly fluid in movement. The video is crisp and colorful. This is a good-looking series. I am surprised though to find that this set doesn’t have subtitles, and looking back, it seems neither did the first season release. It’s a silly oversight that pushes away those viewers hard of hearing.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The whole season comes on a four-disc set in a Blu-Ray case. Unfortunately, this season pales in comparison to season one’s extras. Season one included behind-the-scenes featurettes, commentary tracks on several episodes, and even a comic included in the box, while this season two only has two extra features found on the last disc: a retrospective of season two and a SDCC interview of Optimus Prime’s voice actor Peter Cullen.
The retrospective discusses the evolution of the overall Prime story and the changes going into the season. Producers, writers, designers, and directors all have their say about how they developed season two. The Peter Cullen interview, titled Optimus Prime: Up Close and Personal, is surprisingly conducted by interviewer extraordinaire Larry King. Cullen delves into his start in acting and the creation of the Optimus character before taking audience questions, including from some adorable children who will probably always remember the time Optimus Prime talked to them personally. All together, they’re both fun and informative, but they still fall short compared to what the first season offered.
The particular set I got for review also has a glaring error in some episode playback. The episode “Armada” constantly loops between the cold opening and credits, without ever getting on to the rest of the episode or even allowing the menu control to return. I had to restart my Blu-Ray player just to leave the endless loop and choose a different episode. I hope this isn’t a problem in the final releases, but it hurts this one.
Overall (Not an Average)
Season two of Transformers: Prime remains a strong entry in both the Transformers franchise and in all-ages sci-fi action television in general. Don’t let this set’s lower number and quality of extras keep you from continuing this great show.
The Series 9/10
The Video and Audio 9/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 6/10
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10