Directed by David Hartman of a story written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, the same duo behind the Michael Bay trilogy, this first season is based on three years after the last Decepticon attack on Earth and the Autobots await their return as vigilantes, they become friends with three young humans. Then it all changes when one Autobot is killed and Megatron who has been missing for three Earth years, returns to Earth carrying samples of Unicron’s blood, better known as Dark Energon, a powerful source of energy capable to resurrect his undead army to conquer the planet, which Optimus Prime and the Autobots will try to avoid at any price.
There was major concern among the die-hard transformers fans regarding this TV show, set in the same universe as, lets say “controversial” Michael Bay films, especially with Orci and Kurtzman behind the script. However, despite having similar elements and character designs borrowed from the Michael Bay films, the show keeps the classic elements which made the original cartoon famous, including Peter Cullen and Frank Weller reprising their roles as the voices of Optimus Prime and Megatron, getting rid of the annoying human and robot characters entirely and leaving out the terrible humor from the Bay films. Moreover, we can tell you that Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson also voices one of the characters.
The story is well-developed and we wish the live action films were like this TV show as the robots are the main stars and epic battles are not interrupted by jokes or Victoria Secret models running around. The 3D animation is excellent for a TV format, far from being as basic as on Beast Wars, introducing better motion graphics, designs, textures and lighting, giving fans another chance to get into this modern generation of transformers, redesigning Megatron to make him look more like the classic G1 design, moving away from the alien-style concept by Team Bay.
The human characters are average as they don`t distract you much from the main plot. Still, as a tradition in every modern cartoon we have an anti-hero, a very annoying girl (perhaps the worst character) and a young computer genius (G1 fans…this sounds familiar right?)
The DVD doesn`t include much on the actual series and the audio is in both stereo 2.0 and 5.1 Dolby Digital. The disc also includes trailers for Beast Wars, Transformers G1 and Transformers the movie (the animated one) so the let down of the DVD is the absence of extra features and subtitles.
Overall, Transformers Prime: Darkness Rising is a good surprise with a simple and solid story on the transformers mythology, great 3D animation and a solid and iconic voice cast