A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this kinder, gentler version of the classic Autobots story is geared toward young kids, reflected in both its simple animation style and its feel-good content. Notably absent is any violence aimed at people or machines, which has been replaced by a main cast of four Transformers who masquerade as rescue vehicles to help local heroes fight a series of natural and manmade disasters. Both human and robotic characters demonstrate a willingness to look past their own needs and work toward a common goal, and their actions remind kids that relationships take work but allow both parties to reap benefits in the end. Parents' only issue with this show may be the fact that, like the rest of its franchise siblings, it boasts a line of toys and accessories sure to catch kids' eyes in the store.
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What's the story?
After the destruction of the Autobots' home of Cybertron, Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen) sends out a plea to any remaining Autobots to join him on Earth. The message reaches Boulder (Imari Williams), Heatwave (Steve Blum), Chase (D.C. Douglas), and Blades (Parvesh Cheena), who rush to the aid of their leader, who tasks them with posing as rescue vehicles in a technologically advanced town called Griffin Rock to help local officials ensure the safety of their citizens. There the Rescue Bots join forces with Chief Charlie Burns (Maurice LaMarche) and his team of specialists, including his young son, Cody (Elan Garfias), who makes it his duty to help the new arrivals master their new roles to protect their true identities.
Is it any good?
The Transformers franchise has saturated the entertainment market with animated TV shows and live-action movies that appeal to grade-schoolers, adults, and nearly every age group in between. TRANSFORMERS RESCUE BOTS marks an attempt to tap into those younger kids who aren't quite ready for the violence in the classic cartoons but who still want to get in on the action. The good news is that what could have become a mere marketing ploy actually has a lot of standalone merit for youngsters, who will recognize the characters' efforts to look past their differences to find similarities that can help them become a stronger team.
Everything from the vibrant animation to the young human hero, Cody, reflects this show's determination to draw in a young crowd, and although there's still some peril involved in the team's rescues, none of it will frighten these youngsters. Instead they'll notice a spirit of cooperation, the dynamics of a team, and the positive rewards of bridging gaps to create positive relationships in unlikely places.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about friendships. Have you ever started a relationship with someone who is very different from you? How did you identify something in common? What were some of the surprising benefits of this friendship?
Kids: Who are some of your heroes? What heroes exist in your community? Do role models always make good choices? How would it feel if one of your heroes made a mistake?
Have you seen any other Transformers shows or movies? Do you like the Autobot characters? Which are your favorites? How does liking a TV character affect your desires for toys or games that bear their image?
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