I may be a tea-stinking dirty colonialist Brit, but thankfully the paucity of UK cartooning meant my childhood was Americanized (with a z) enough to at least include the first generation of the Transformers cartoons. However, worry not if it were never a part of yours, as Hasbro has added the entire first season of the 1984 cartoon to their YouTube channel.
As Xfire reports, the original Transformers cartoon (now known by robot-in-disguise fans as “G1") was a co-creation between Hasbro and Marvel, the former having brought over Japanese toys Diaclone and MicroChange to America, the latter hired to write a backstory for the robots to build a universe around the figures (well, a second universe, alongside the comics).
And so it came to be that Autobots and Decepticons crash-landed on a prehistoric Earth, only to lie very still for four million years, before being awoken by a volcano for some reason. (The “FOUR MILLION YEARS LATER” screen caption is a thing of joy.) They picked up right where they left off, firing lasers while shouting pithy bon mots at one another, but now fixed up to transform into Earth vehicles.
It was still better than Michael Bay’s storytelling.
The first 16 episodes of their antics are now available to watch for free on Hasbro Pulse, the toymaker’s YouTube channel. I found myself doing exactly that at 6.50am this morning, on my phone, immediately on learning the news that they were there. They remain extremely watchable, and wow the art in the opening scenes set on Cybertron.
Even better news, Hasbro intends to release another season every weekend for the next four weeks. Although if you’re planning to keep up, that’s going to make for some pretty varied viewing habits. Season 2 has 49 episodes, season 3 has 30, and season 4 has, er, three.
Of course, The Transformers: The Movie bridged the gap between seasons 2 and 3, although it seems unlikely that’ll be appearing on their YouTube. A film that is of note for being, trivia fans, Orson Welles’ last ever role. Glad he went out on a high.
I fully intend to subject my six year old to these, because it’s important that he experience my childhood instead of his own. That’s parenting. Also, anything to stop him watching The Thundermans for the third time.