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TransFormers Season 3 Part 1 2003

Title
Publisher
Released
Director
Runtime
MSRP
TransFormers S. 3 part 1
Rhino Home Video
October 2003
Various
7:10:00
$49.99
Galvatron. That's really all you need to know. Season 3 of TransFormers Generation 1 introduced everybody that missed the movie to all the new characters, including the much more crazy and violent upgrade to Megatron known to friends and lovers as Galvy. A whole episode is devoted to him being taken in for psychological observation-- at which he keeps breaking free and shooting people. Now, I ask you, is that a villain to admire or is that a villain to admire?

While the likes of Optimus Prime, Jazz, and Soundwave are reduced to virtual cameos in this set, many of the older characters are present and really don't do much of anything. The new characters like Kup, Blurr, and Wheelie get a lot of screen time along with Grimlock, plus villains like Scourge and Cyclonus actually get some dialogue, which in the movie they really didn't have.

The episodes range from typical 80's fare-- a couple of kid-oriented characters trying to set up a birthday party for another-- to some fairly nifty adventures in sci-fi. For example, Rodimus Prime keeps short-circuiting himself to see mystical visions from leaders past, Starscream's ghost haunts the TransFormers, and the Quintessons reanimate Optimus Prime's corpse. There's a whole sequence inside the Autobot Crypt which more or less shows the remains of the characters that died in the film, which is pretty creepy stuff for a kid's show. Even if it is just a room of deactivated robots.

As stated before, Galvatron is a villain that really entertains, because he's completely confident in his abilities and has no problems shooting his own men in the face. It's really quite amazing that shows like He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were singled out for violence when the likes of Galvatron probably did more to his allies in just a few episodes of this show than I think I've ever seen on another kid's show in the USA. The show also got significantly better at this stage, despite using a lot of the same stock music and random appearances of characters that were destroyed in the movie.

There's also a sequence in which Soundwave, the cassette player, speaks and his voice is unmodulated. This is particularly amusing because it turns out that the unmodulated soundwave voice is none other than Klaw from Inspector Gadget.

Episodes
Disc 1
1.Five Faces of Darkness Part 1
2.Five Faces of Darkness Part 2
3.Five Faces of Darkness Part 3
4.Five Faces of Darkness Part 4
5.Five Faces of Darkness Part 5
6.The Killing Jar
7.Chaos
Disc 2
8.Dark Awakening
9.Surprise Party
10.Madman's Paradise
11.Surprise Party
10.Madman's Paradise
11.Webworld
12.Carnage in C-Minor
13.Forever is a Long Time Coming
14.Fight or Flee
Disc 3
15.Thief in the Night
16.Starscream's Ghost
The set has a number of Special Features that, frankly, aren't too special. A bunch of "Knowing is Half the Battle" shorts, which were made for G.I. Joe and much more famous from that series. The Public Service Announcements here, which tackle topics like stealing cars and running away from home, feature mostly second-tier characters from the first two seasons of the show. They're amusing, though, and it's nice that they were included.

There's also a number of TransFormers Historical Trailers which basically exist to explain the show a little more. These are on Disc 3 and tacked onto the end of episodes throughout the collections, so their inclusion as extras seem a bit like an empty gesture. The three Trailers explain the Autobots, Decepticons, and the then-new Predacon team.

The giant feature on the set is a tour of last year's BotCon, or Official TransFormers Collector's Convention. Previous sets included these as well, but this one seemed a little weaker-- several shots of crowds and the same girls repeatedly seem to make it seem like there isn't much to see there, and that someone is trying to prove that girls do, in fact, go to these shows. A section of it is devoted to the girl who, on a previous set, inquired as to the availability of new female characters. So that's essentially a feature on a DVD about a feature on a DVD, as they ask her what it's like to have been on a DVD and so forth. Kinda lame, really. Previous BotCon docs on these sets had interviews with writers, voice actors, and so much more, while this one had a few artists and a brief word with one of the promoters. It's neat to see what the show is like, and it's better than no features at all, but it's hardly exciting stuff.

For what you get, and the cost (ours was $29.99 at a Fry's Electronics), this is a great little diversion. It's essentially an old toy commercial with numerous continuity errors, but it's surprisingly endearing if you're already a fan of the property. It can be had online cheaply, and since you're looking at less than $2 an episode, it's really hard to not find this entertaining, even if it's just to point at and laugh at times. You could do far worse.

--Adam Pawlus
April 26, 2004

DVD Archive
C
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Season 1

E
Ed Wood
J
Jeff Ross Roasts America
L
Let America Laugh
M
Mystery Science Theater 3000:
The Movie

P
Polysics - PippikkippippiP in USA
T
TransFormers Season 3 Part 1
U
Upright Citizens Brigade Season 1
W
Wrong Guy, The

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