Pin It

Remote Possibilities 

by LUKE BAUMGARTEN & r & & r & Transformers Animated & r & & r & (Saturdays, 10:30a, Cartoon Network) & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & E & lt;/span & ven before you see the new Cartoon Network series, you get a sense of who the new Transformers is aimed at. Transformers Animated, as the show is called, suggests that its target demographic isn't people who grew up watching the original Saturday morning series, Transformers: Generation 2, Beast Wars: Transformers or Beast Machines: Transformers (which were all, you know, animated). No, the producers are clearly after kids whose first whiff of Autobot came in last summer's live-action feature.

That's bound to create a bittersweetness for people who grew up on the original series (me), especially if they have kids of Transformers age (definitely not me). There are some really annoying liberties taken with the characters. Optimus Prime is no longer the wizened old commander of all Autobots (the good guys). Here, he's a young hotshot who's been busted down in the military to the point that he's commanding a demolition crew. There's nothing Optimus or Prime about him. He's kind of a douche.

On the positive side, the new series is much more focused than the old, which strained under a glut of dozens of characters each representing a branch of the Hasbro toy line. Remember the Aerialbots, Stunticons, Constructicons and Protectobots? Me either. The old series was among the earliest and most ham-handed examples of cross-marketing, absolutely rife with references to and commercials for the toys. What's instantly notable -- and admirable -- about the new show is that there are no obvious product tie-ins. (There'll be toys, of course, but they aren't out yet.)

Transformers, it seems, has gone from being a lucrative Hasbro toy line to being a lucrative all-encompassing brand. A sign of our times. And -- oh God! -- what an occasionally funny and frequently cloying brand it is! "So ... this is what it feels like ... to be a hero?!" declares/asks an incredulous Optimus Prime at one point. Dreck.

In all, Transformers Animated is probably about as good as the thing we all grew up with, but for different reasons. The most endearing reason: The new series doesn't give me the urge to beg my mom for action figures, then whine and kick and scream when she says no, then get my ass sent to time out. Of course, back in the '80s, "get sent to time out" was code for "get whipped with the belt."


Miss America: Reality Check

When CMT decided to stop airing the Miss America pageant in 2006 people probably thought the humiliation, degradation and objectification of our nation's women would end. Then TLC picked it up, forced all 52 contestants into this reality show, and now all bets are off. (TLC, Fridays, 10 pm)

60 Minutes

The writer's strike has led to a profusion of crappy reality TV and exactly zero new news programs. One unforeseen effect: 60 Minutes is all of a sudden cracking the ratings top 10 again. Sure they're doing fluff like interviewing quarterback Tom Brady and adding ridiculous superlatives to things like the Discovery Channel (segment "THE AGE OF MEGA-FIRES"), but it's almost news. (CBS, Sundays, 7 pm)

American Gladiators

It was a dark day in our nation's history when American Gladiators left syndication. Now they're back with Hulk Hogan and Laila Ali as hosts. (NBC, Sundays, 9 pm)

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Odds And Ends
  • Odds And Ends

    Idaho lawmakers are pulled in lots of directions; plus, SPD weighs a "culture audit"
    • Mar 25, 2015
  • Four Days A Week
  • Four Days A Week

    Idaho schools that dropped one day a week from their schedule are saving a little money — but at what cost?
    • Mar 25, 2015
  • A County Ombudsman?
  • A County Ombudsman?

    Weighing the costs and benefits of oversight at the Spokane County Sheriff's Office
    • Mar 25, 2015
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue
OR7 — The Journey

OR7 — The Journey @ Bing Crosby Theater

April 3-4

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Why Idaho kids don't go to college

    And what that means for the Gem State
    • Mar 4, 2015
  • New Blood

    Candidates are launching bids for Spokane City Council and could bring big changes to city government
    • Mar 18, 2015
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment



Publisher's Note


long reads

© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation