Sometimes a TV show can surprise you. Either it’s better than the promos led you to believe…or worse. And sometimes one element can make up for a lack of other aspects of the show.
Case in point: Right now, I’m working my way through the first season of Transformers: Prime . I’ve been a longtime fan of TFs in general, and the general badness of the live-action films haven’t tainted my love.
But the thing about Prime is it essentially functions as an extension of the live-action franchise. Screenwriting team Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (who also created Fringe) wrote the first two films and helped develop the series with long-time animation writers Jeff Kline and Duane Capizzi. While Capizzi heads the writing stuff, all 4 men serve as show runners (i.e.. head writers who make sure individual episode scripts are consistent with the tone of the show).
Capizzi has been around a long time, but I only know him for writing the very disappointing direct-to-DVD film Superman: Doomsday as well as the widely-bashed Superman: Brainiac Attacks! I haven’t seen the latter film, but Doomsday (an adaptation of the famous Superman death storyline from the ’90s) annoyed me in a lot of ways.
Similarily, I was disappointed by Orci and Kurtzman after the first Transformers film, though Revenge of the Fallen, I liked a little more. When I saw their work on the new Star Trek, I was blown away at how carefully they set things up to ensure that none of the 40+ years of Trek history would be tainted by their new parallel universe.
The work the men have done to this show is truly inspiring; it feels like I’m watching a very well-done cartoon for kids and teenagers, but is specifically geared towards adults and it knows that.
The writing, coupled with the stellar work of the voice cast (Peter Cullen is Optimus Prime and Steve Blum is the best Starscream I’ve ever seen), makes up in my mind for what many of my friends and non-TF fans have pointed out is less-than-stellar animation.
I’m really enjoying the way this show is establishing itself and balancing all of its different targets. This may change, but for now, I’m content to ignore whatever flaws it has and see it for what it’s got. And it’s got a lot.
Don’t judge a show by its cover, I guess.