What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that violence is the main concern in this latest addition to the Transformers franchise, which goes by the name Transformers Prime and Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters. Clashes between the Decepticons and the Autobots are explosive and include gunfire, crashes, and dismemberment (of robots, that is), and a few humans are involved enough that their lives are in danger. A main character dies early in the series, and the loss of their teammate motivates the Autobots even more. Expect kids’ interest in the show to encourage their desire for the multitude of products that also sport the Transformers name. That said, as action series go, there's a fair amount of positive content here related to the Autobots’ unselfish willingness to put themselves in harm’s way to protect humankind.
What's the story?
It’s been years since the evil Megatron (voiced by Frank Welker) has set foot on Earth, but a desperate quest for the energy source Dark Energon has brought him back to join his fellow Decepticons. Their presence spells disaster for humans, but fortunately Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), Ratchet (Jeffrey Combs), Bulkhead (Kevin Michael Richardson), and the rest of the Autobots are poised for battle and ready to protect the humans from the unwelcome guests. Together with Jack (Josh Keaton), Miko (Tania Gunadi), and Raf (Andy Pessoa) -- three kids who know about the Autobots’ existence -- the team must unravel the Decepticons’ plans before they secure the Energon and control the planet.
Is it any good?
TRANSFORMERS PRIME exists separately from the original 1980s series, as well as later incarnations and movies, but it does borrow characters and major plot points from them. The main storyline of good vs. evil remains intact, of course, but the story here centers on the Decepticons’ thirst for the Energon after they depleted their home planet of energy. Kids who are new to the Transformers characters will have no problem acclimating to the story and will likely enjoy the action-packed show.
Parents’ main issue will be the show’s violent content, which isn’t extensive but does involve guns and hand-to-hand combat. The good news is that humans aren’t a major part of the action, although the three kids who befriend the Autobots are usually bystanders to it. The show isn’t a good choice for kids who can’t identify it as fantasy, but older kids and tweens who can will like it. What’s more, if the commercial aspect of the heavily marketed characters doesn’t bother parents, they’ll be happy knowing that the show does attempt to show compassion in action through the selfless Autobots, who put themselves in danger for their human friends.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about friendship. How do the Autobots exemplify their compassion for their human neighbors? In what ways are their actions selfless? When has a friend shown selfless affection for you? Have you had the opportunity to do the same?
Kids: Does watching this show encourage your desire for Transformers products like toys and games? How do TV shows and movies affect our likes and dislikes? What other shows have you seen that have ties to a product line?
What did you think of the violence in this show? How did it compare to what you’ve seen in other cartoons? Did any of it seem realistic to you? Do you think the show would be more or less entertaining without the characters’ battles?