This podcast is a review of TRANSFORMERS CHAPTER ONE: SIEGE (episodes 1-6), which launches on Netflix on July 30, 2020.
The series is a substantial improvement over the Machinima Transformers series that preceded it, in virtually every respect. The voice direction, animation, and story are all greatly improved. Siege does an excellent job of working within the constraints of 3D animation and creates creative reuses of character models. Where the series falls short is a problem endemic to Transformers fiction as a whole. Hasbro no longer has a consistent vision of who Optimus Prime is. Optimus Prime is best when utilized as a fatherly force of nature, there to break you out of a jam with a laugh and a bit of wisdom. In Siege, Optimus is an impotent leader unsure of himself. Prime is a fundamentally uninteresting character, making him weak does him no service. Another challenge is that this period in Cybertronian history is inherently dull. The Generation One cartoon did it best by giving you hints of what happened in the past, without laying it all out. Siege is another retelling of a period in the Transformers’ history, a time that does not require much elaboration.
The creative team did an admirable job with the series, but ultimately we wonder who Siege is for and what the ultimate point of the series is. As entertainment, with its pacing, it falls a bit short. As marketing, it’s more than a year out of date. Siege could be served better as a 90-minute supercut leading into Earthrise, similar to Scramble City, which bridged the gap between Fight! Super Robot Lifeform Transformers and Fight! Super Robot Lifeform Transformers 2010. If you’re new to Transformers, this might be a fair starting point, but if you’re a veteran fan, it just doesn’t feel essential.
Things we liked
- Voice direction
- Starscream, Megatron, and Soundblaster
Things we didn’t like
- Optimus Prime
Thanks to Netflix for providing us early access to review the series.
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