Nothing screams a genesis point for The Transformers like the first season of the original G1 TV series. Before the live action movies, the AllSpark, all the reinvented, or updated animated series and even before the Matrix of Leadership, the Quentessons, Vector Sigma and Alpha Trion was a blank slate of a mythology for the population of the planet Cybertron. Transforming sentient robots divided into two factions in a never ending war, that’s all we knew in the mid 1980s when we first exposed ourselves to this 16 episode beginning of what was named The Transformers. Hasbro, Sunbow Production and Marvel Comic’s reimagining of imported toys from Japan would turn into one of the most popular icons of animation for the 1980s… and as for me, perhaps my favorite, or most influential show as a kid.
1984 would be the year of this first season for The Transformers, though in all honesty I was not exposed to our robot heroes and villains until the next year when season one was combined with season two to fill the 65 episodes count for syndicated release. The first season is like a nice tidy package… basic and compact. Autobots versus Decepticons… Optimus Prime versus Megatron… Cybertron and Earth… all the basic elements for a show about an eternal war that now has come to a stalemate. Energy is needed on both sides to strengthen their reserves as Cybertron is now depleted. A search mission is initiated which leads to The Transformers crashing onto Earth. Four million years later our robotic friends awaken to the then modern world of the mid-1980s, which means that giant transforming robots now exist among us. Exciting!
What I love most about season one is the simplicity. We get a basic grouping of Autobots and Decepticons at the beginning adding in a few more as the season progresses. Everyone has a moment to shine in some fashion and for the most part reveal their character. That is a strength which was lacking somewhat in later seasons. While yes, many new faces down the line got to be seen and enjoyed as the show progressed, some others just got brief cameos. We get to know everyone here like a family, despite faction, which makes you ending up having certain preferences to favorite characters, including those of the human faction as well. Now what makes our characters so great as well? They are drawn mostly well in this first season, everything was sent to Toei for animation purposes. No I see, or perhaps hear, another factor. I proclaim this honor belongs to the voice acting talent. We got to know many of Los Angeles’ talent pool at the time who voiced a lot of other shows as well, but came together like a fine recipe with The Transformers.
Imagine if this would have been the only episodes of The Transformers. Does the original 16 still stand up on their own as a stand alone? Absolutely. Fortunately, The Transformers would continue on for a long time… four seasons and 98 episodes, plus an animated feature film. Very impressive for what some might see as basic half hour toy presentation material for marketing purposes. In terms of mythologies, The Transformers was one of the creations during the 1980s that left an impact for many of us and showcased another storyline to enjoy. After all how many times has The Transformers been reinvented? Too many? Yet the fact it has shows the longevity of the basic mythology… but from this and stalwart, nothing and I am mean NOTHING(!) ever replaces this original series. …and it all started way back in 1984… who knew?