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Transformers Prime: Season Two(TV) (2012)
The TRANSFORMERS saga starts a new chapter as old foes return, legendary heroes rise, and new ones are found in unlikely places. The new EMMY Award winning series TRANSFORMERS PRIME, A Hasbro Studios production, currently airs on The HUB television network in the U.S. and Teletoons in Canada, deepens the epic mythology of both the AUTOBOTS and DECEPTICONS, while starting a new chapter for a new generation of fans.
For more about Transformers Prime: Season Two and the Transformers Prime: Season Two Blu-ray release, see Transformers Prime: Season Two Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on November 17, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, Steve Blum, Jeffrey Combs, Sumalee Montano, Kevin Michael Richardson
» See full cast & crew
Transformers Prime: Season Two Blu-ray Review
Is 'Prime' Optimized for Blu-ray?
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, November 17, 2012
It has truly been our darkest hour.
It's not exactly the Transformers that dominated the Saturday morning airwaves and toy store shelves in the 1980s, but Transformers Prime retains the core essence of the original toy line and 'toon, namely the battle of good versus evil embodied in Autobots and Decepticons and, more specifically, Optimus Prime and Megatron. Transformers Prime's second season rounds off the first's cliffhanger ending and delves into many new adventures, some largely standalone but most following a carefully constructed arc that furthers the tale of shapeshifting robots battling light years away from their home world -- where else -- here on Earth. To be sure, however, the characters have undergone a rather radical physical makeover since the 1980s. Some basic elements remain -- Prime's a big rig, Peter Cullen voices him, Bumblebee's yellow, Starscream craves power, and, um, yeah -- but much more has changed than it has stayed the same, thanks in large part to an adherence to the Michael Bay films and bit less reliance on the classic, original line design. Like or loathe the way the show looks and what it's done with the characters, there's no denying its strengths as a strongly scripted series that offers a whole lot more to discerning viewers than meets the eye that sees only a weird looking Saturday morning cartoon that's all at once boxy and plastic and sleek and streamlined organic.
*Spoilers for season one appear below*
Unicron has been destroyed, but at great cost. Optimus Prime's release of the Matrix of Leadership has left him without an identity beyond his days as Orion Pax, an effective but lowly Cybertronian records keeper and researcher. Megatron has taken advantage of the situation, rekindling their old relationship and mixing Prime into the Decepticon fold. Of course, it's not merely brotherly love at work; Megatron is using Prime to unearth the whereabouts of several critical artifacts that will bring their holder great power. As the season progresses, the battles to unearth said artifacts rage amidst a greater scope of turmoil that's always front-and-center on the minds of both sides. The human breakaway faction MECH is close to implementing Transformer technology for its own ends. Battles between rogue Transformers threaten to blow the robots' cover on Earth. The Autobots gain a new ally in Smokescreen, while Megatron wards off advances from a power-hungry rogue Starscream and a vengeful Airachnid. With both sides reaching critical junctures, it's only a matter of time before they face off in a battle for the ages with unimaginable consequences.
Transformers Prime's second season delivers much more of the same, in essence, as the first season. That's hardly a bad thing, but in a way it's not great, either. There's a slight -- slight -- sense of stagnation to it, even as new characters and arcs are introduced and explored. There's sort of a "two steps forward, one step backwards" vibe through the season in that there's new material but new material that doesn't greatly advance much of anything or accomplish much more than widening the portal that leads to more robot-on-robot action. Characters don't feel drastically evolved -- at the end of the day it's still hero vs. villain at its core -- and while the story lines prove rather intriguing at worst and dramatically impressive best, the series still feels a little more reliant on action than it does the heart and soul drama that gives the run-and-gun fun purpose. Indeed, even when the dramatic arcs prove intoxicating, the series ultimately slips into the comfort zone of mostly mindless conflict. It's the same robots fighting similar superficial battles through most of the episodes. The series does combat the looming staleness by introducing some new faces, notably Somkescreen on the Autobot side of the ledger, but even the series' new toy can't keep it feeling as fresh as season one. Season two works as basic entertainment combined with some admittedly gripping dramatic story arcs, but that slippage into rather repetitive combat grows a bit old as the season wears onward towards a rather big finale.
To season two's credit, there's an often successful effort at elevating the show above mere child's play, a difficult chore considering the animation style seems definitely aimed at younger audiences. There are some deliciously dark twists and turns and plot lines through the season. As noted, though, no matter how complex or involved the stories may become, Prime whittles down to a clash of generalized good vs. evil, which is at the entire line's core and certainly a worthwhile endeavor that promotes the hero arc and shines a negative light on wrongdoing. Nevertheless, The steady beat of involved drama to which the show marches, even when it's at its most black-and-white, good-versus-evil simplest, aides it considerably, expands its audience, and usually makes the repetitive action worth sitting through. However, it could have been better; the show should have widened the scope of some of its superior arcs. The Orion Pax resolution comes too quickly towards the beginning, for instance, leaving a wonderful idea explored but not to its fullest extent. It's the sort of thing primed for a season-long arc, and its core of confused identity and allegiance is certainly more interesting than the flowing story that dominates the season in later episodes. While the series focuses on the robots, it doesn't leave behind its human characters. They're called upon to greater capacity in several major turning point and mission-critical moves. They never dominate the show, but they do make for a fine compliment and enjoy a bit more growth than do some of their oversized robot counterparts. Mostly, all of this drama and characterization plays well with the action and makes Transformers Prime more than a mere children's show, but the season does suffer from a bit too much in the way of repetitive action and unnecessary length than seems necessary to tell the season's core stories.
Transformers Prime: Season Two Blu-ray, Video Quality
Transformers Prime: Season Two rolls out onto Blu-ray with a solid but problematic high definition transfer. Generally the image fares well. Viewers will enjoy the clear realization of all of the digital artists' fine details, such as wear and tear in the form of dents and scratches and stray elements on metallic Transformer bodies. Human characters are a bit more inorganic, "pristine" perhaps and without much more than the most basic details to their appearance. Colors are quite strong, whether in many of the lower-light areas on board the Nemesis or in brighter exteriors that allow Prime's red, Bee's yellow, and Bulkhead's green to shine through with exacting precision. The image does take on a fairly flat appearance, though, but not to the detriment of vibrancy or detail. On the flip side, moderately heavy banding is a regular guest throughout the season, as are jagged lines and bouts of shimmering. None of these make the series unwatchable by any stretch of the imagination, but they do stand out against an otherwise good-looking animated transfer.
Transformers Prime: Season Two Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Transformers Prime: Season Two features a robust, power-packed DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack. It offers a wide sound field, presenting action scenes with a robust presence that nicely immerses the listener in the various combat scenes. Surrounds are put to good use in the pursuit of satisfying envelopment. Bass is strong, doing well to round the heaviest effects into natural shape; the Nemesis rumbles through the sky with striking power, gun blasts and explosions pack a nice punch, and more generalized sound effects emit just the right amount of low end force. Music, likewise, enjoys fine clarity and front-end spacing. Atmospherics are rather minimal, but the excellence of action and music more than make up for the lack of natural immersion in the calmer moments. Dialogue is even and accurate, playing smoothly and intelligibly through the center. This is a fine sound presentation that elevates the action greatly and effortlessly places the listener in the midst of the action.
Transformers Prime: Season Two Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Transformers Prime: Season Two contains only the following two supplements, both located on disc four:
Transformers Prime: Season Two Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Transformers Prime: Season Two works very well, even around some pacing issues. There are smart plots and strong character moments, an admirable effort at high-impact drama to shape the series beyond a bland action-only cartoon. Themes of loss, trust, loyalty, and the bonds of friendship shape much of the season, all of which work well around action that's sometimes repetitive and sometimes as big in scope as the Saturday morning canvas allows. This is far from a perfect season, however. It's a little bit less than its predecessor, but Prime remains a quality show that might frustrate purists with its ultramodern animation style, character evolution, and closer adherence to the Michael Bay vision even while retaining the core of what makes Transformers great. Shout! Factory's Blu-ray release of Transformers Prime: Season Two features good video and high quality audio. Supplements are few. Recommended to fans.
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Transformers Prime: Season Two Blu-ray, News and Updates
• This Week on Blu-ray: November 27-December 4 - November 24, 2012
In terms of volume alone, the week of November 27th doesn't offer that many new Blu-ray releases, but there are definitely some gems within this limited selection. Case in point: Anchor Bay's version Lawless disc. An adaptation of Matt Bondurant's historical ...
• Transformers Prime: Season Two Blu-ray - October 17, 2012
Shout Factory, in collaboration with Hasbro Studios, will release Transformers Prime: Season Two on Blu-ray this November. Containing all 26 episodes, the 4-disc blu-ray animated series stars Optimus Prime himself, Peter Cullen, returning to his lead role along ...
• Transformers Prime: Season Two Blu-ray - August 23, 2012
Independent distributors Shout Factory have officially announced and detailed their upcoming four-disc Blu-ray release of Transformers Prime: Season Two. Featuring all 26 episodes and exclussive new interviews with the creative team, Transformers Prime: Season ...
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Transformers Prime: Season Two Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
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