Aug 8, 2013

[TV] Transformers Prime Beast Hunters: Season 3

The Transformers Prime series of cartoons has certainly grown on me over the course of its first two seasons and this third one remained quite fun. While there's that hardcore "GEEWUN" troll inside of me that wanted to reject this show outright because of a lot of the character changes, logic and genuine enjoyment ruled out in the end. Daytime Emmy Awards aside, this has been a pretty good show thus far.

This third season was a little weird in how they added the "Beast Hunters" subtitle to the show and yet this is still considered the third season for the overall story. The accompanying toyline certainly tickled by Beast Wars sensibilities quite significantly (I only purchased the dragon-related toys in this line plus Shockwave) and I was definitely curious how they were going to work in cybernetic dragons into the story.

On a somber note though, it was also announced that this was going to be the last season of the show and a short 13-episode run at that. All we have left to us is the prospects of the forthcoming TV movie with the even longer title of Transformers Prime Beast Hunters: Predacons Rising.

Synopsis: Transformers Prime Beast Hunters is the third season of the Transformers Prime CGI-animated TV series with Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman as primary showrunners. This third season spans 13 episodes and aired on Hasbro's The Hub channel - this being a joint venture with Discovery Communications.

At the end of the second season, things certainly didn't look too good for our heroes. The Omega Lock, the last tool to rebuilding Cybertron, has been destroyed. The Autobot base has been destroyed and Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) himself is presumed dead by many. In the chaos, the Autobot scattered to different parts of the country in order to evade capture, thus there is no single united front to face the Decepticon incursion on Earth.

The Decepticon forces are further bolstered by the arrival of Shockwave (David Sobolov) and his research on ancient cybernetic lifeforms known as Predacons. Shockwave has actually managed to "clone" one of these dragon-like creatures in the form of Predaking (Peter Mensah).

For a much shorter season compared to the prior ones, I felt this season really did a pretty stellar job of setting out to tell a pretty great story. The characters had already been quite well developed over the past few years and this final arc made full use of that prior development to really push characters to their limits. And yes, the season still introduced new characters, but it felt like their presence was more about giving existing characters something to react to.

I know I have my biases, but you have to admit that Soundwave and Shockwave really stepped up to the plate in this season. Yes, Shockwave was already expected to be pretty cool given, well, he is pretty cool in general (as ironically illogical that argument is). But still, Shockwave was a nicely complex character to introduce into the mix given his dedication to logic being used as a foil against his maneuverings into Megatron's good graces. And despite having very little to say, Soundwave certainly got his message across with his unique ability to manipulate the Decepticon ground bridge in a manner that the Autobots never had.

The show also did a lot to demonstrate just how much the young human characters had grown as well. Let's face it - the episode "Chain of Command" really did a number on all of us in terms of what they did with Miko (Tania Gunadai). That was really quite awesome. And they made sure to build on that in the season finale, "Deadlock".

We also saw a heck of a lot of political maneuvering on the Decepticon side given the return of Shockwave to their ranks along with his pet Predacon Predaking totally getting in the way of Starscream's (Steve Blum) still somewhat tenuous place at Megatron's side. And the various plots and schemes were enough to make any drama series (or soap opera!) writer proud.

My main complaint was how short this season ended up being, as silly a complaint that is. And while we will get further closure with the TV movie (or will it be a direct to video thing?) I still felt there was a heck of a lot more story to tell. On the flip side, at least the folks behind the show gave us a fairly decent ending, regardless of whether or not we get to watch the TV movie later on.

Transformers Prime Beast Hunters did a great job of pushing the story narrative and giving the show some real direction. This season had a very interesting cast of characters and a pretty complex story to boot! Thus the third season gets 4 Predacon fossils scattered around the world out of a possible 5.

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