The Transformers (TV series)

The Transformers (TV series)

:"This page is about the original Transformers animated series. For information on other Transformers animated series, see Transformers series.

infobox Television
show_name = The Transformers

caption = Opening title screen
format = Animated Series
Science Fiction
runtime = 23 minutes
starring = See Cast
country = USA
network = first-run syndication|first_aired = September 17, 1984|last_aired = November 11, 1987
num_episodes = 98
list_episodes = List of The Transformers episodes
imdb_id = 0086817
tv_com_id = 1880|

"The Transformers" is an American animated television series depicting a war between giant robots who could transform into vehicles, animals, and other objects. Written and recorded in America, the series was animated in Japan and South Korea. The entire series was based upon the line of transforming toys originally created by Japanese toy manufacturer Takara, which were developed into the "Transformers" line by American company Hasbro.

In Japan, the series was called nihongo|"Tatakae! Cho Robot Seimeitai Transformer"|戦え! 超ロボット生命体トランスフォーマー|Tatakae! Chō Robotto Seimeitai Toransufōmā|lit. "Fight! Super Robot Life Form Transformer"" for Seasons 1 and 2, and nihongo|"Transformers 2010"|トランスフォーマー2010|Toransufōmā Tsūōwanō for Season 3. Following the conclusion of the series in 1987, several Japanese-originated sequel series were created.

In response to the 1993 relaunch of the toyline and its accompanying comic being called "", this series and its comic book parallel are frequently referred to by the retronym, "Transformers: Generation 1" - initially a fan-coined term that has since made its way into official use.

Production background

The Transformers toyline and cartoon/anime series all owed their existence to the Japanese toyline, "Microman" (an Eastern descendant of the 12" G.I. Joe action figure series). In 1980, the "Microman" spin-off, "Diaclone", was released, featuring inch-tall humanoid figures able to sit in the drivers' seats of scale model vehicles, which could transform into humanoid robot bodies the drivers piloted. Later still, in 1983, a "Microman" sub-line, "MicroChange" was introduced, featuring "actual size" items that transformed into robots, such as microcassettes, guns and toy cars. "Diaclone" and "MicroChange" toys were subsequently discovered on show at the 1983 Tokyo Toy Fair by Hasbro toy company product developer Henry Orenstein, who presented the concept to Hasbro's head of R&D, George Dunsay. Enthusiastic about the product, it was decided to release toys from both "Diaclone" and "MicroChange" as one toyline for their markets.

Once the Federal Communications Commission did away with regulations that prohibited toy companies from broadcasting cartoons based on their products in 1984, the way was cleared for the new product-based television program.

Hasbro had previously worked with Marvel Comics to develop "" for a three-pronged marketing scheme - the toyline, a tie-in comic book by Marvel, and an animated mini-series co-produced by Marvel's media arm, Marvel Productions, and the Griffin-Bacal Advertising Agency's Sunbow Productions animation studio. Given the success of that strategy, the process was repeated in 1984 when Hasbro marketing vice president Bob Prupis approached Marvel to develop their new robot series, which Jay Bacal dubbed "Transformers."

Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief at the time, Jim Shooter, produced a rough story concept for the series, creating the idea of the two warring factions of alien robots – the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons. To flesh out his concept, Shooter called upon veteran editor Dennis O'Neil to create character names and profiles for the cast, but O’Neill’s work – for whatever reason – did not meet with Hasbro’s expectations, and they requested heavy revisions. O’Neill declined to make said revisions, and the project was turned down by several writers and editors approached by Shooter until editor Bob Budiansky accepted the task. Hastily performing the revisions over a weekend, Budiansky’s new names and profiles were a hit with Hasbro, and production began on a bi-monthly four-issue comic book miniseries, and three-part television pilot.

Japanese designer Shōhei Kohara was responsible for creating the earliest character models for the Transformers cast, greatly humanising the toy designs to create more approachable robot characters for the comic and cartoon. His designs were subsequently simplified by Floro Dery, who went on to become the lead designer for the series, creating many more concepts and designs in the future.

how history

"More Than Meets the Eye" pilot/mini-series

The three-part mini-series was animated by Japan's famous Toei Animation studio.Fact|date=November 2007, and it first aired in the United States in September 1984, then in the United Kingdom in early 1985. The pilot introduced Optimus Prime's Autobots (Brawn, Bumblebee, Cliffjumper, Gears, Huffer, Windcharger, Bluestreak, Hound, Ironhide, Jazz, Mirage, Prowl, Ratchet, Sideswipe, Sunstreaker, Trailbreaker, Wheeljack, and Hauler who was seen only in vehicle mode and had no dialogue and made no more appearances afterwards) and Megatron's Decepticons (Starscream, Skywarp, Thundercracker, Reflector, Soundwave and his cassette spies Laserbeak, Buzzsaw, Ravage, Rumble and Frenzy, and Shockwave, who stayed behind to guard Cybertron under Megatron's orders), transplanting them from their metallic homeworld of Cybertron to present-day Earth, where they warred for the resources that would take them back home. The conclusion of the series has the Decepticons defeated and the Autobots poised to return to Cybertron, but this was blurred somewhat when the series was picked up for continuation, and the Autobots remained on the planet to protect it from renewed Decepticon threats. The Autobots obviously found out that the Decepticons survived and made their underwater base. The Autobots make friends with their first two human allies, Spike Witwicky and his father Sparkplug Witwicky.

eason 1

Thirteen further episodes were commissioned for the first season of the series, and the pilot was re-aired, now with the title "More Than Meets the Eye." Running from September to December 1984, the series established important new concepts that would persist through the rest of its run, such as the Decepticon Space Bridge, and featured the debuts of several new characters that would be available in the toyline the following year - the Dinobots (leader Grimlock, Slag and Sludge), Jetfire (known as Skyfire on the series), the Insecticons (Kickback, Bombshell and Shrapnel) and the Constructicons (leader Scrapper, Long Haul, Mixmaster, Bonecrusher, Scavenger and Hook), and their combined form, Devastator.

While most of the characters for this and the following seasons were "Diaclone" and "Microman" toys from Takara (or based on them), Hasbro also drew on other resources to bulk up the line, acquiring toys from ToyCo (Shockwave), ToyBox (Omega Supreme, Sky Lynx) and Takatoku Toys (Jetfire, Roadbuster, Whirl and the Deluxe Insecticons). The latter company's absorption by Bandai - the main competitor to Takara, which was releasing Transformers in Japan - caused some legal problems, however, and none of their toys featured in the cartoon, save for Jetfire, reimagined under the name "Skyfire."

eason 2

With the series having proved a great success, the second season was created with the intent of getting the series into syndication and thus consisted of 49 episodes (and a new version of the theme song), bringing the total number produced up to the 65 episodes needed to meet syndication requirements. Where the first season primarily functioned episodically but had a general continuity from episode to episode, which thus required they be viewed in a specific order, Season 2 and its syndication goals saw this method of storytelling dropped in favor of single-episode tales mostly without lasting repercussions which could hence be generally watched in any order that networks chose to air them in. These episodes often served to spotlight single characters and flesh them out more. Most of the new characters introduced in the 1985 toyline were further "Diaclone" and "Microman" toys, some of them modified in unique ways.

The first batch of new characters were introduced with no explanation whatsoever of where they had come from. The new Autobots in this group were Beachcomber, Cosmos, Powerglide, Seaspray, Warpath, Grapple, Hoist, Red Alert, Skids, Smokescreen, Inferno, Tracks, the scientist Perceptor, the defense base Omega Supreme and Soundwave's Autobot counterpart Blaster. An Autobot bounty hunter named Devcon appeared in an episode called "The Gambler", but he was never seen or heard from again. Two new Dinobots named Snarl and Swoop also made their debut. Another new human character was introduced: Spike's new girlfriend Carlee. The new Decepticons were Dirge, Ramjet, Thrust, and the Triple Changers Blitzwing and Astrotrain. A young street punk named Raoul appeared in a couple of episodes involving Tracks.

The tail end of the second season introduced four combining teams of Autobots and Decepticons - the Aerialbots (leader Silverbolt, Air Raid, Skydive, Fireflight and Slingshot who form Superion), the Stunticons (leader Motormaster, Dead End, Breakdown, Wildrider and Drag Strip who form Menasor), the Protectobots (leader Hot Spot, Streetwise, Groove, Blades and First Aid who form Defensor) and the Combaticons (leader Onslaught, Brawl, Swindle, Blast Off, and Vortex who form Bruticus), each team capable of merging their bodies and minds into one giant super-robot. Although debuting in this season, the toys - based on an unmade "Diaclone" line that was aborted in Japan in favor of importing the Transformers toyline itself - would not be available until 1986.

1986 would prove to be a big year for "Transformers", with the summer release of "". Although a critical and box-office flop, the movie was a turning point for the animated series universe, jumping the action forward twenty years to the then-future of 2005 and introducing a new cast of characters that were the first to be originally created for the Transformers line, and not derived from other toylines. Free of the restrictions of television, the movie featured many character deaths (Optimus Prime, Brawn, Ironhide, Ratchet, Wheeljack, Windcharger, Prowl, Huffer "and" Starscream), as the old guard were wiped out to make room for the next generation of toys. Megatron, Skywarp, Thundercracker, and the Insecticons were remodeled into Galvatron, Cyclonus, Scourge and the Sweeps by a planet-sized Transformer known as Unicron. Megatron and Thundercracker clearly became Galvatron and Scourge, but there is debate as to who actually became Cyclonus, Bombshell or Skywarp. Near the end of the movie, Hot Rod used the Matrix of Leadership to destroy Unicron, save Cybertron and become Rodimus Prime, the new leader of the Autobots, at least until Optimus made his surprise return at the end of the third season. The movie also introduced an adult Spike and his son Daniel.

eason 3

The future setting of the movie continued on into the third season of the series, which debuted in September 1986 and ran to November of that year, picking up right where the movie's events had left off. With the addition of Flint Dille as story editor, the series took on a strong sci-fi orientation, with grimmer storylines and stronger inter-episode continuity that revisited concepts more regularly than past seasons.

A slightly different version of the theme song was the new intro for the season, first heard in the Transformers commercials. The visual look of the series took a hit, however, when fifty percent of the season's episodes were produced by Korean animation studio AKOM, who delivered lackluster visuals and abundant animation errors.

The grim direction, different animation and new cast of characters (Kup, Hot Rod who as previously mentioned became Rodimus Prime, Blurr, female Autobot Arcee, second-in-command Ultra Magnus, Autobot Triple Changer Springer, Junkion leader Wreck-Gar, young Autobot Wheelie, the Autobot space shuttle Sky Lynx, the new Autobot cassette spies Steeljaw, Rewind, Ramhorn and Eject, Hubcap, Outback, Pipes, Swerve, Tailgate, two new Autobot Triple Changers Sandstorm and Broadside, Galvatron, Cyclonus, Scourge, the newest Decepticon Triple Changer Octane, the Autobot and Decepticon cities Metroplex and Trypticon, the Predacons (leader Razorclaw, Headstrong, Divebomb, Tantrum, and Rampage who form Predaking), the Sharkticons, the Technobots (leader Scattershot, Afterburner, Lightspeed, Nosecone and Strafe who form Computron), the Terrorcons (leader Hun-Grrr, Blot, Cutthroat, Rippersnapper and Sinnertwin who form Abominus), the Throttlebots (Chase, Freeway, Rollbar, Searchlight and Goldbug who was once Bumblebee), the Battlechargers Runamuck and Runabout, and the new Decepticon cassette spies Ratbat, Overkill and Slugfest) ultimately failed to sit well with the viewing audience, who desired to see Optimus Prime return to life after his big-screen demise. The production team ultimately gave in to these demands, and Prime was brought back in a two-part dénouement that aired in February 1987. Starscream would also return as a ghost. Unicron makes a few appearances as well as his head continues to orbit Cybertron. Carlee, who is now Spike's wife and Daniel's mother, also appears in the series (Sparkplug is gone from the series), along with two new human characters: Commander Marissa Fairborne of Earth Defense Command and the dictator Abdul Succari of the desert nation of Carbombya. The sadistic Quintessons also appear in the series and are revealed to be the creators of Cybertron and the Transformers themselves.

eason 4

Finally, Hasbro's attention from the series drifted, and it was not allocated the funds that would allow it to continue. The series was brought to a close in November 1987 with the airing of the fourth season, which consisted solely of a three-part story entitled "The Rebirth." Penned by regular series writer David Wise, who had previously scripted several mythology-building episodes, "The Rebirth" introduced the Headmasters (Autobots Cerebros, Brainstorm, Chromedome, Highbrow, and Hardhead and Decepticons Mindwipe, Skullcruncher and Weirdwolf, plus the triplechanger Horrorcons Apeface and Snapdragon) and the Targetmasters (Autobots Pointblank, Sureshot and Crosshairs and Decepticons Triggerhappy, Misfire and Slugslinger) including the Headmaster Autobot and Decepticon cities Fortress Maximus and Scorponok (plus the Autobot and Decepticon clones Fastlane, Cloudraker, Pounce and Wingspan, the autobot double spy Punch/Counterpunch, and the Decepticon six-changer Sixshot), and restored a new age of peace and prosperity to Cybertron. But the Decepticons stole the final scene of the episode, just to let viewers know that their evil was not yet crushed, and that the battles would go on. As Arcee becomes a Headmaster with Daniel and Spike pairs up with Cerebros who becomes the head of Fortress Maximus, then Kup, Hot Rod, Blurr, Cyclonus and Scourge all become Targetmasters. After both factions landed on the planet Nebulos, the Autobots sided with Gort and his freedom fighters Arcana, Stylor, Duros, Haywire, Pinpointer, Firebolt, Peacemaker, Spoilsport and Recoil, While the Decepticons team up with an evil organization called the Hive, made up of their leader Lord Zarak (who becomes the head of Scorponok) Vorath, Monzo, Spasma, Krunk, Grax, Nightstick, Aimless, Fracas, Caliburst, and Blowpipe.

The theme song was still the same as the one from season three, but the intro had scenes from season three as well as scenes from past Transformers commercials.

Although this was the end of the series in the West, in Japan, four additional animated series were produced - ', ', ' and '.

eason 5

"The Transformers" did not quite disappear from American airwaves either, however, as a fifth season aired in 1988, serving as "best of" collection of the series. It re-aired 15 episodes from the original series, along with "The Transformers: The Movie" edited into a further five episodes. To help promote the then-new Powermaster Optimus Prime figure, the first new Prime figure since 1984, Sunbow produced new material featuring a stop-motion (and machine prop) version of Powermaster Prime interacting with a boy named Tommy Kennedy. Each episode would be told as a story to Tommy by Optimus Prime, and together they would essentially introduce and close each episode. This time, the intro had clips from both the series and the movie.

"Generation 2" series

From 1993-1995, the original "Transformers" series was rebroadcast under the "Generation 2" label. The "Generation 2" series featured a new computer-generated main title sequence, computer-generated scene transitions, and other small changes.

The original stories were presented as though they were recordings of historical events by the Cybernetic Space Cube (sometimes referred to as the Cybercube). The cube had the various scenes on its faces, which it spun between for transitions, replacing the classic spinning Autobot/Decepticon logo.

A large percentage of the characters featured in the show did not feature in the toyline, and vice versa. The G1 toys rereleased for G2 which did feature in the show sometimes had their color-schemes radically altered and no longer matched their animated counterparts. One of the most notable discontinuities was the G2 Megatron; more stringent toy laws concerning gun replicas forced the re-imagining of Megatron as a M1 Abrams tank with a green camoflauge color scheme, completely at odds with his form on the series as a Walther P38 handgun.


:"For the purposes of plot, (1986) is considered part of the series. This plotline reflects only the events depicted in this cartoon series, and in the accompanying movie."

Four million years ago, on a distant planet called Cybertron, life existed in the form of sentient robots which could think and feel, called Transformers. The race of Transformers was divided into two main clans. Autobots (known as Cybertrons in the Japanese cartoon), led by Optimus Prime, wished for peaceful co-existence. Decepticons (known as Destrons in the Japanese version), under the command of Megatron, sought conflict and universal conquest. Both sides were embroiled in an ages old war for supremacy.

With both sides running low on energy, the Autobots, aboard the Ark, sought out a new source, but the Decepticons, aboard their space-cruiser (later given the name Nemesis in the Beast Wars animated series), ambushed them in hopes of gaining a decisive advantage. The Decepticons boarded the Ark and the ensuing space battle resulted in both the ships crash landing on a pre-historic Earth, the Ark crashing into the side of a dormant volcano. (The fate of the Nemesis is subject to retroactive continuity. For the full story, see the Nemesis article.)

Four million years passed while the Autobots and Decepticons lay dormant aboard the Ark. In the Earth year 1984, the volcano housing the Ark erupted, reawakening the ship's computer, Teletraan I, which then set out a probe to scan Earth life, and modified the Transformers so as to give them alternate modes that could blend in on Earth, but the probe did not recognize carbon-based life, and instead chose vehicles like a truck for Prime and F-15 Eagles for 3 Decepticons.

The Autobots and Decepticons, now stuck on Earth, continued their war more ferociously than ever. The Decepticons wished to drain Earth of all its resources, converting it into energon for their use, while the Autobots were committed to stopping them, and to protecting the human race. This era would later be referred to by Transformers as the "Great War." The war was almost ended as soon as it began, as the Decepticons gained an early lead, and were even able to build a space cruiser to leave Earth, however Autobot intervention prevented them from escaping orbit.

New allies were gained on both sides. Humans Sparkplug Witwicky, and his son Spike Witwicky, allied with the Autobots, while the human Doctor Arkeville sided with the Decepticons. Jetfire and the Insecticons were discovered already living on Earth. Both sides even built new allies to join their cause, the Autobots building the Dinobots and the Aerialbots, and the Decepticons building the Stunticons and the Combaticons. They were later joined by some allies who had been elsewhere in the universe including Omega Supreme and the Constructicons.

Despite wild gimmicks on both sides, including attempts to build better weapons, to undermine history through time travel, and even a temporarily successful attempt to warp Cybertron into Earth's orbit, neither side gained an overwhelming advantage, despite the Decepticons being defeated by the Autobots in nearly every episode. In the long run however, the Decepticons took the lead in the Great War, creating a Space Bridge that allowed them to warp individual Transformers to and from Cybertron at any time. This allowed them to claim rule of Cybertron, which gave them the winning edge for many years.

All of this changed in 2005, over 20 years after the start of the Great War. The Decepticons launched a surprise attack on Autobot City, on Earth. Countless Transformers lost their lives in the battle for Autobot City, but the Decepticons were repelled thanks to Optimus Prime's victory over Megatron, a victory that came at the cost of his own life.

Megatron and the other wounded Decepticons were abandoned by the stronger members of the team, in part due to Starscream's desire to usurp Megatron as leader. The god-like Unicron found them drifting in space. He rebuilt Megatron as Galvatron, and sent him on a quest to destroy the Matrix of Leadership. The Autobots' new leader, Rodimus Prime, was able to stop the Decepticons however. In his first battle as leader, he destroyed Unicron, reclaimed Cybertron for the Autobots, and expelled Galvatron into deep space.

The Decepticons, without focus and dangerously low on energon, retreated to the burnt out world Charr. It was there they waited, until Cyclonus discovered Galvatron was simply expelled and not killed. Upon rescuing Galvatron, the Decepticons renewed their efforts to vanquish the Autobots and to claim complete control of Cybertron.

Both the Autobots and Decepticons soon learned they had a common enemy. A secretive race known as the Quintessons plotted the destruction of both Autobots and Decepticons. Rodimus Prime learned that these "new" Quintessons were no strangers to the Transformers at all. Rather, the Quintessons were the original creators of the early Transformers. Cybertron was a Quintesson factory before it was ever the Transformers' "home." The Quintessons went so far as to destroy their own home world in an attempt to vanquish the Transformers. In the end, the Quintessons, who relied on thorough probability analyses, were outdone by a now adult Spike Witwicky whose actions, unlike those of the robotic Transformers, the Quintessons were not able to predict.

The Great War continued, this time with the Autobots controlling Cybertron, and enjoying the advantage. The war was no longer waged primarily on Earth. Now, the whole universe was their battlefield.

In 2006, a disease called the Hate Plague was released upon the universe. This disease, which infected human and Transformer alike, threatened to destroy everything. With their leader Rodimus Prime infected, the remaining Autobot Sky Lynx and a Quintesson finished rebuilding Optimus Prime, who was able to reclaim the Autobot Matrix of Leadership from Rodimus Prime and use it to eradicate the Hate Plague, draining the Matrix of all the power it had possessed.

Optimus Prime retains leadership of the Autobots. While the Decepticons continue to pose a threat to peace, Optimus Prime vows to resist Decepticon rule forever.

Other Transformers continuities

The cartoon was produced in tandem with a comic book series, produced by Marvel between 1984 and 1991, and also referred to now as "Generation One" (or more simply "G1"). The comics tell a substantially different version of the story. Both versions were equally authorized by Hasbro.

The name "The Ark," referring to the Autobots' ship, was not used in the original cartoon. In the cartoon series the ship's computer was called Teletraan I; in the comics, it was called "Auntie," though this name was not often used.

Cast and characters

* Charlie Adler - Silverbolt, Triggerhappy
* Jack Angel - Arcana, Astrotrain, Breakdown (1st Time), Cyclonus, Omega Supreme, Ramjet, Smokescreen, Sweep, Ultra Magnus
* Marlene Aragon - Elita One
* Arlene Banas - Carly Witwicky
* Jered Barclay - Cerebros, Sinnertwin (one of the heads)
* Roger Behr - Runabout, Runamuck
* Michael Bell - Bombshell, Brainstorm, First Aid, Prowl, Scrapper, Sideswipe, Swoop
* Gregg Berger - Grimlock, Jetfire, Long Haul, Outback
* Susan Blu - Arcee
* Steve Bulen - Strafe
* Arthur Burghardt - Devastator
* Wally Burr - Substitute voices of Jazz, Ratchet, Seaspray, and Thundercracker
* Corey Burton - Brawn, Shockwave, Spike Witwicky, Sunstreaker, Vector Sigma, Wideload
* Roger C. Carmel - Bruticus, Cyclonus (1st voice) Menasor (1st Voice), Motormaster, Unicron
* Victor Caroli - Narrator
* Michael Chain - Hoist, Powerglide, Red Alert, Skids
* Phillip Clarke - Dead End, Tantrum
* Christopher Collins (as Chris Latta) - Starscream, Defensor, Reflector, Slammer, Sparkplug Witwicky, Sweep, Wheeljack
* Regis Cordic - Menasor (2nd Voice)
* Scatman Crothers - Jazz
* Peter Cullen - Optimus Prime, Ironhide, Slugslinger, Wingspan
* Jim Cummings - Afterburner, Rippersnapper
* Bud Davis - Dirge, Metroplex, Predaking
* Walker Edmiston - Inferno
* Paul Eiding - Perceptor
* Marshall Efron - Hun-Grrr (2nd Head)
* Laurie Faso - Divebomb, Rampage, Skydive
* Ron Feinberg - Headstrong
* Ron Gans - Drag Strip
* Brad Garrett - Trypticon
* Linda Gary - Chromia
* Dick Gautier - Apeface, Firebolt, Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime, Sweep
* Ed Gilbert - Blitzwing, Superion (1st Voice), Thrust
* Dan Gilvezan - Bumblebee/Goldbug, Hot Spot, Rollbar, Scamper, Snapdragon
* Jim Gosa - Abominus
* Joy Grdnic - Jessica Morgan
* Johnny Haymer - Swindle, Vortex
* Michael Horton - Chip Chase
* John Hostetter - Ramhorn
* Jerry Houser - Sandstorm, Sweep
* Milt Jamin - Blast Off
* Buster Jones - Blaster
* Stan Jones - Misfire, Pounce, Scourge, Weirdwolf, Zarak
* Casey Kasem - Bluestreak, Cliffjumper, Teletraan I
* Stephen Keener - Fortress Maximus, Hardhead, Hun-Grrr (1st Head), Mindwipe, Scattershot, Scorponok
* Aron Kincaid - Sky Lynx, Sweep
* Bert Kramer - Computron
* Maurice LaMarche - Six-Gun
* Joe Leahy - Razorclaw
* Morgan Lofting - Firestar, Moonracer
* Jeff Mackay - Fireflight
* Bill Martin - Broadside
* Michael McConnohie - Cosmos, Tracks
* Terry McGovern - Wildrider
* Don Messick - Gears, Ratchet, Scavenger
* John Moschitta, Jr. - Blurr, Punch-Counterpunch
* Alan Oppenheimer - Beachcomber, Breakdown (2nd Time), Seaspray, Warpath
* Rob Paulsen - Air Raid, Chase, Fastlane, Slingshot
* Tony Pope - A-3, Wreck-Gar
* Hal Rayle - Shrapnel, Snarl, Sweep
* Peter Renaday - Grapple
* Clive Revill - Kickback
* Neil Ross - Bonecrusher, Crosshairs, Hook, Pointblank, Sixshot, Slag, Springer
* Ken Sansom - Hound
* Ted Schwartz - Tailgate
* John Stephenson - Thundercracker, Kup, Windcharger
* Beau Weaver - Octane
* Frank Welker - Megatron/Galvatron, Blades, Buzzsaw, Chromedome, Frenzy, Groove, Laserbeak, Mirage, Mixmaster, Ratbat, Ravage, Rumble, Sharkticons, Skywarp, Sludge, Soundwave, Superion (2nd Voice), Sweep, Teletraan II Trailbreaker
* David Workman - Nosecone, Sinnertwin (one of the heads)

upplemental sequences

Opening sequence

The opening sequences for each of the first three seasons were entirely unique, with no episode footage being reused, and each of the three had their own version of the famous "Transformers" theme tune. Additionally, the third season story "Five Faces of Darkness" had its own specialized opening sequence for all five parts, depicting events that occurred in the miniseries. The fourth season of the show, however, did not feature any new animation in its opening sequence, instead combining together footage from the third season opening and various clips of animation from 1987 toy commercials, alongside the third season opening theme.

Ending credits

Like the opening sequences, the ending credits sequences changed every season. However, these sequences were clip reels of scenes from episodes of that season. Instrumental versions of the theme music were used, although the third and fourth seasons utilized a male chorus.

Transition sequences

A brief sequence was used frequently to transition between scenes. The symbol for either the Autobots or Decepticons would be seen being replaced with the other symbol (or in some cases, the same symbol again). Which symbol was shown initially depended on which Transformers faction was being chiefly depicted just before the transition, and likewise, the latter symbol was for the faction that was to be depicted immediately after the transition.

This transition technique, reminiscent of the one used in the original Batman T.V. show, became a hallmark of the series. It was used throughout the entire four-year run.


Brief, original animations were used as bumpers to segue in and out of commercial breaks. These would depict individual characters transforming from one mode to another, often against a blank colored background, and would end with the Transformers logo. The bumpers were accompanied by a variation of the "Transformers" theme, and a voice-over by Victor Caroli.


Several mini-documentaries, narrated by Caroli, aired at the end of certain Season 3 episodes. Excepting one brief newly-animated shot of Slammer and Scamper in the Transformers cities segment, all of these simply used clips of the series. Mini-documentaries were made on each of the following subjects:
* A detailed history of the Autobots
* A detailed history of the Decepticons
* A detailed profile of Ultra Magnus
* The story of a Decepticon subclan, the Predacons
* The history of the Quintessons
* The history of cassette Transformers
* The stories of the Transformer cities: Metroplex and Trypticon.


Five proposed PSAs were created for the second season of the series, but never actually aired on television (they appear as bonus features in Rhino's "Transformers" Season 3 DVD set, Metrodome's Season 1 DVD set, the "Transformers: The Movie" 20th Anniversary DVD and the "Transformers" video game from Atari). These PSAs were based on the PSAs produced by the (which was also produced by Sunbow Productions and also based on toys made by Hasbro). They even reused the catchphrase "...and knowing is half the battle," which was popularized by the "G.I. Joe" PSAs. These PSAs included:
* Bumblebee advising children not to run away from home.
* Tracks catching kids in the act of stealing cars.
* Red Alert reminding us to wear reflective gear when riding our bicycles at night.
* Seaspray showing us why it's important to wear life jackets when boating (voiced here by Wally Burr, rather than by his regular actor, Alan Oppenheimer).
* Powerglide teaching us not to judge others without getting to know them first.

Animation mistakes

The original Transformers cartoon contains many continuity errors and contradictions, of varying notability. One of the most famous flubs of the series was the origin of the Constructicons, which has contradictory information presented regarding it in each of the first three seasons. In the Season 1 episode "Heavy Metal War", Megatron creates the Constructicons on Earth. In the Season 2 episode "The Secret of Omega Supreme", the Constructicons are shown to have existed on Cybertron, where they were good robots that were turned evil by Megatron's Robo-Smasher. In the Season 3 episode "Five Faces of Darkness (Part 4)", the Constructicons are clearly shown in a flashback paradoxically creating Megatron (although of the three, this one is more than likely to have simply been an animation error).

Another major discrepancy occurs in "The Return of Optimus Prime." During the episode "Dark Awakening", Optimus Prime loses an arm in battle with Rodimus Prime, and is clearly shown to be destroyed as he pilots a ship to its destruction. Later, in "The Return of Optimus Prime", two scientists find his body floating completely undamaged in an undamaged ship, and there is no evidence of any ambush or battle taking place (as occurred in "Dark Awakening").

Several similar continuity and animation errors occur throughout the run of the series such as Autobots with Decepticon logos, some misplaced Autobots in a Decepticon group shot, characters appearing twice in one shot, reversed transformation sequences, missing or incorrect colors (such as an all-blue Optimus Prime), missing glow effects for energon cubes, etc.

In episode three when bluestreak took off after Ironhide and they were talking in the air they showed Ironhide's gun out then when they did a close up it was gone when they zoomed out it was there again and when they zoomed in it was gone again and they then did a back view were his back opened up and his gun came out.

VHS and DVD releases

In the 1980s, various episodes were released on VHS by Family Home Entertainment.

Seasons 1-4 were released on DVD in the U.S. by Rhino Entertainment (a subsidiary of Time Warner) between April 23, 2002 and March 9, 2004. The Season 1 DVD was a best seller and it led to the release of more season DVDs, until the last season box set was released in 2004. Seasons 1-2 and the first part of Season 3 were also released in single volumes, but the rest of the series wasn't, as the volumes were not selling as good as the box sets were. Fact|date=June 2008 The first two seasons were also released on VHS with no bonus features, but because of the "DVD boom" Rhino decided to discontinue their production. Fact|date=June 2008

Metrodome Distribution released Seasons 1-4 in the U.K. (Region 2) between November 17, 2003 and October 11, 2004. The seasons were released in four box sets: Season 1, Season 2 Part 1, Season 2 Part 2 and Seasons 3 & 4. The distributor Sony Wonder had also released Season 1 of Tansformers previousily in the UK in 2001, before Metrodomome aquired the rights. 3 individual volumes were released (though the episodes are in the wrong order), a boxset of the 3 disks, which included a 4th disk containing bonus features, and 1 volume of Transformers: Generation 2 with 5 episodes that had the Cybernectic Space Cube graphics added. They also released a volume of Transformers: Takara which included the first 6 episodes of the Asian English dub of .

Madman Entertainment released the four seasons in 6 box sets in Australia (Region 4): Season 1, Season 2.1, Season 2.2, Season 3.1, Season 3.2 and Season 4.

A collector's tin box set was released in Asia by Guangdon Qianhe Audio & Video Communication Co. under license by Pexlan International (Picture) Limited. The set includes the entire series, "", a set of full color postcards, a rubber keychain, and a full color book (graphic novel style) which serves as an episode guide. Even though the book is almost entirely in Mandarin, the chapter Menus contain English translations for each episode. The set is coded as Region 1, but it's almost impossible to find in stores in North America, though it can be found on online auction sites.

In 2005, Rhino lost the rights to distribute more "Transformers" DVDs, and the license passed to Sony Wonder. Sony BMG had announced in October, 2006, that they were going to re-release the first season of the series in 2007, with the other seasons presumably following. [ Transformers G1 Season 1 to be Released by Sony BMG in 2007 ] ] These would most likely had been just a re-release of Rhino's DVDs.Fact|date=June 2008 Sony's version of "The Transformers: The Movie" sold at Costco came with an exclusive Bonus Disc that had the original 1984 pilot (episodes 1-3) with the added sound effects in them. This disc was used as a preview for the Transformers Season 1 boxed set coming out in 2007. Sony BMG, however, dissolved Sony Wonder in June, 2007, and moved the label to Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, [ [ Sony Wonder moves under Sony Pictures Home Entertainment - 6/21/2007 - Video Business ] ] without releasing any DVD sets.

In May, 2008, Hasbro bought the rights for $7 million [ [ Transformers DVD news: Hasbro reacquired rights to Sunbow Properties | ] ] , with the intention of using them for a future re-release.

DVD criticism

Rhino's DVD boxsets have been criticized by owners. Various reasons include that the episodes as seen on the Rhino DVDs are based on incomplete 35 mm film masters, as opposed to the original 1" broadcast master videotapes aired on television. Although the film masters are very detailed and colorful, some of the episodes contain alternate or incomplete/missing animation that was originally corrected/completed for the broadcast versions. As a result, the DVD versions on some of the episodes are less "finished" than the versions that aired on television. Rhino attempted to fix some of the "new" errors, with lackluster results. Most of the errors are in the Season 1 box set with "Heavy Metal War" being the worst episode in terms of incomplete animation and bad attempts by Rhino to fix the errors. [ [ Jon Talpur - Rhino episodes vs. Original episodes: The differences] ]

In addition, the telecine transfer of the film masters turned out to be sub-par, and did not provide any proper 3:2 pulldown system for transferring the 24 "frames"-per-second film to 60 "fields"-per-second video. As a result, aliasing (jaggies) appear frequently in most, if not all, of the episodes.

Further, the Rhino versions of the episodes have a plethora of newly-added sound effects from a stock sound effects library (which many fans have said are annoying and distracting), sound effects that did not appear in the episodes as originally produced and broadcast. These sound effects were intended to only appear on the episodes' 5.1 soundtrack, but for select episodes in the Season 1 and Season 2 Part 1 sets, the stereo soundtrack also exhibited the added sounds. For the Season 2 Part 2 set, every single episode's 2.0 stereo soundtrack had the added sounds from the 5.1 track. It wasn't until the "Transformers" Season 3, Part 1 boxset that Rhino bowed to the fanbase and added an "original broadcast audio" option. These new sound effects were also applied to several European releases of the "Transformers" series, as well as to "": Reconstructed DVD (although it should be noted that Rhino's own version of "TF:TM" does not have the added sound effects). Only serving to enhance the discontent, the sound studio responsible for this, Magno Sound, have untruthfully claimed that the sounds were always there. [ [ Archived discussion of added sound elements in Rhino DVDs] ]

Other complaints aimed at the Rhino sets including incorrect opening sequences of three of the episodes ("Five Faces Of Darkness Parts" 1,2, and 4), and ending credits of at least 13 episodes on the first box set. There are some bonus features that have little or nothing to do with the original series (such as Neil Kaplan's interview).


Death of Optimus Prime

The character Optimus Prime was killed off during ', sparking outrage from parents who felt the character's death adversely affected their children. The writers had already planned to bring Optimus partially back to life for one episode, "Dark Awakening", before killing him off again. As a result of the public outcry, however, they brought him back for good in the episode "The Return of Optimus Prime". It is worth noting that in Japan, despite the same revival occurring, Optimus (known there as "Convoy") was killed yet again in the 1987 Japanese-exclusive ' series, and was not brought back until four years later in the magazine-exclusive "Transformers Battlestars: Return of Convoy" story, in which he was reborn as Star Convoy.

Carbombya and Casey Kasem

In the episode "Five Faces of Darkness (Part 1)", the character Abdul Fakkadi was introduced as the "Supreme Military Dictator, King of Kings, and President for Life of the Socialist Democratic Federated Republic of Carbombya." This was an obvious play on tensions between the United States and Libya. Fakkadi's name is a near anagram of Libyan President Moammar Kadaffi's name. Casey Kasem, who voiced the character Cliffjumper and the Autobots' computer Teletraan I and who is of Lebanese descent, objected to the parody, and quit the show when it was not removed from the episode. Cliffjumper, despite having survived , was phased out as of that episode, and Teletraan I was destroyed with the Ark in the episode "Five Faces of Darkness (Part 5)."


External links

* [ Transformers cartoon trivia from IMDB]
* [] - German Toy gallery and News page
* [ Transformers @ The Moon] - Largest Transformers toy gallery on the web and a huge Transformers resource, founded in 1999
* [ A Tribute to Soundwave] - New site (2007) by Abraxas
* [ Transformers video's archive]

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