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  1. #1

    GI Joe: Renegades and Transformers: Prime

    Both of these shows premiered tonight. I watched them both. And they were like night and day.

    GI Joe: Renegades has some minor issues with the character designs. They're abstract, but in a way that's a bit jarring at first. But you get used to it quickly, and the animation is top notch.

    Overall, the show was excellent. It's a worthy update to the original, with plenty of homages thrown in. (I caught the line "got to get tough" briefly in the theme music, two background characters looked remarkably like Junkyard and General "GI Joe" Colton, a nod to Flint and Lady Jaye's relationship in earlier incarnations, and, of course, the "Now you know" line in Cobra's TV ad.) But it's definitely something new, and unlike GI Joe as we've seen it before. And Hawk's eyepatch is the tip of the iceberg. Mindbender is a nerdy young fellow, the Joes are on the run from Flint (and I can't tell you how odd it feels to root for Duke over Flint), and Cobra is a seemingly benevolent super-corporation. I'd seen stuff on the Bio-Vipers in some promotional material and was worried about that angle, but it's handled really well. I especially love the origins of the code names.

    Some bits that could have been blown, like Cobra Commander's reveal or the twist with Tunnel Rat smelling bad were handled pretty masterfully. This shouldn't be a great shock, given that the writers have Batman: The Animated Series, Gargoyles, and several other classic series on the resumes (and, yes, even The Clone Wars). I think it's safe to say that reports of Ripcord's demise have been greatly exaggerated, however.

    Transformers: Prime was almost the opposite. It almost seemed like casting Cullen and Welker as Prime and Megatron was the only thing they got right. I wish Hasbro would get over the sudden weird fetish with making Bumblebee be this silent, deadly warrior. It's too fundamental a change to the character, not to mention it seems like a major knockoff of Snake Eyes when the show airs right after a superior Joe cartoon that features Snake Eyes prominently. (And don't say that I'm being hypocritical because I don't mind Renegades Ripcord being black. That's just a cosmetic change.)

    Animation was downright bad throughout Prime, and the color palettes so monochromatic, it got hard to watch. I almost dosed off; if the show wasn't boring my daughter so much she got up and was loudly playing something else, I would've slept. The writing was just bad (and, really, what should we expect from the writers of the movies?), and it seemed to culminate in the human kids. A stereotypical loser guy, an insanely bizarre Japanese exchange student, and a nerdy little kid who looks like he just stepped out of the Disney flop Meet the Robinsons and can understand Bumblebee's weird chirping for reasons that make no sense and the script doesn't even try to explain. I don't know which of them was worst.

    Strangely, as bad as the show was overall, I actually liked the parts that were solely focused on Decepticons. Aside from everyone but the main three being what appeared to be generic Battlechargers or Stunticons (and mindless, mute, and identical) and Soundwave's being essentially a Decepticon Bumblebee (mute and talking in recorded clips from other characters), the Con parts were quite good. The dark palette and abstract designs worked on them, and there had clearly been a lot more work done on their dialogue and voice acting.

    There was a lot of potential, and it was blown. It's a concept that should have worked, and never clicks except the relatively short bits with Megatron and Starscream. It would take a full-on G1 Grimlock takeover to save this mess. By contrast, GI Joe: Renegades was so insane a premise, it should not have worked by any stretch of the imagination, and it's, so far, second only to Resolute as the best Joe series yet.
    That's my jacket!

  2. #2
    GI Joe Renegades looks awful (visually), it is basically a rehash of the art style used from Men in Black: The Series (which is no surprise because Jeff Kline is a driving force with both). It looks cheap and has a pastel palette that I found offputting. The character designs are also pretty awful, Scarlett's face is downright bizarre. But I really enjoyed MIB:TS despite its cheap art, and GIJR here was ok too, despite being completely un-Joe-like in its feel. From a Joe-perspective, I didn't care for how the GI Joe team came together, who they were before, and who they were becoming. But once I was able to put that aside, I was compelled to watch the second episode to see what happened. The writing staff includes Marty Isenberg, which clearly has a positive effect. I really didn't buy Mindbender or his Bio-Viper though. But I could see being a kid watching this, I just can't see buying any toys from it.

    Oh, you know what really drew me out of this show though? "Cobra Industries" being seen as SUCH a good-guy company, the name alone just isn't believable. "My mom worked at a Cobra bakery for 10 years" was funny but c'mon, that name says you're baking poison into bread.

    As for TF:Prime, I totally agree that the palettes were dingy and dull and depressing, and the use of Bumblebee as a mute is completely stupid - though I disagree as to the comparison to Snake Eyes. Bumblebee being mute makes no sense when all the bots can understand his weird musical language and so can 1 of the 3 human kids despite no explanation - if nearly everybody can understand him, then so should the audience.

    TF Prime was just terrible in every way though, ugly CGI that looks way out of date, flappy mouths with nothing behind them, creepy eyes on the heroes, following the movie in tone and design, it was just a flat, pointless exercise in firing red and blue lasers to sell (not-yet-existent) toys. The robot designs looked bad, the transformations looked cheap, the battles looked hollow. Arcee calling everything "'con" and "cliff'" was offputting and felt like a newcomer's take on TF, not a warrior who had been doing battle with these forces for thousands of years. The idea that Starscream and his drones could snatch up Cliffjumper and do what they did makes it curious as to why they haven't done it with more of the VERY SMALL team on Earth - another movie conceit that I feel makes no sense. I hated the voice on Starscream, didn't even understand what Soundwave was saying or how, and of course the kids were entirely junk - the short kid looked like it was ripped off straight from Disney's Up, minus the texture levels and quality. And what's the point of recycling the look of Bulkhead from TF:Animated when the character is so different?!? Drones are exactly what I feared, generic nobodies meant to be cannon-fodder for our heroes.

    The voice acting was ok, I think they made Optimus too bombastic though, and Welker's still finding his legs as this Megatron, and ironically the former is over-processed and the latter under-processed. Arcee was ok I guess, not bad, not stand-out great but not bad. The Rock as Cliffjumper was quite decent really, too bad they killed the character, and in such a disturbing manner. The best work though was Jeffery Combs as Ratchet, that was the one true bright spot in TF:P, they gave the character a little extra writing and he put his touch on the material, and despite the fact that Ratchet does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in these first 2 eps, he was the aspect that got me watching the second ep when I wasn't inclined to.

    But as for the show, it looked horrible, was terribly written, and I doubt I'd want toys from it despite loving TF:A toys.
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    Kylo Ren - came from Space Brooklyn, although he moved to Space Williamsburg before it was trendy.

    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  3. #3
    Given that Hasbro invested so much work into a network and this original programming, I'm saddened at the product. On Friday, I recorded 4 programs: GI Joe, TF, Young Justice, and Avengers. I watched Young Justice first and it was utterly satisfying. Avengers was not as good, I still have major trouble with the voices, but I like where the series seems to be going. TF, I watched just the "Cliffjumper/Rock" opening and haven't been compelled to finish yet. I really liked the TF:Animated show from a few years ago and I see this as a major step backwards. Renegades I began, but haven't finished either. Much of it is bothering me. I'm not sold on the character designs, but the animation is very fluid. The look isn't what I would imagine it could be for a show about warfare. I suppose that in the time to come, the shows might evolve into something more well-rounded. Hasbro has no intention of calling either show off anytime soon, I'm sure.

  4. #4
    I DVR'ed Young Justice, GIJR, and TFP, and watched them together-ish. In order, I watched the first TFP ep and struggled to complete it. I watched the first ep of GIJR and at first wasn't into it, but by the end was compelled. Then I watched Young Justice and enjoyed it thoroughly. Then I watched the second GIJR ep right away because I wanted to see how it continued that storyline (it was ok, not brilliant or as expansive, but ok). Later, I suffered through the decision to watch the 2nd TFP episode, and I think I put it off until I was super bored with my day, and it was the least-watchable of everything.

    BTW, how weird is it that GIJR is basically going to be The A-Team?
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    Kylo Ren - came from Space Brooklyn, although he moved to Space Williamsburg before it was trendy.

    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  5. #5
    Not entirely the A-Team. They're going to be going after Cobra, not working as soldiers of fortune.

    Maradona, it's more a spy show than a war show, at least so far. And I have a feeling quite a few more classic characters will show up soon. Destro has been pretty much confirmed, Storm Shadow and Jinx are confirmed, and Wikipedia lists several others (Zartan, Major Bludd, and the Crimson Twins), though I have no clue what their source is. (This does seem to fit in with the way the show is done so far--the supply of Cobras could be limitless, but I see the Joe team staying small for now.)
    That's my jacket!

  6. #6
    I hated Sigma Six and well, I smell it.

    My god, the world was so much better when we had the Soviets

  7. #7
    Destro is confirmed, being voiced by the legendary Clancy Brown.

    I suspect we'll get some A-Team type stories, side mission stuff.

    This does remind me of Sigma Six a little, although I didn't "hate" it (I liked the toys, the show wasn't that great).
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    Kylo Ren - came from Space Brooklyn, although he moved to Space Williamsburg before it was trendy.

    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.


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