COUNTDOWN: Transformers Earthspark – 10 things to enjoy!

A new Transformers cartoon always causes intrigue, particularly when the franchise’s recent animated efforts have become quite diverse in terms of style. So colour me excited when the first episode of Transformers Earthspark dropped early for UK viewers, three days before it’s due to be released everywhere else!

There’s already been tons of discourse about the show, but the first episode whets the appetite for more! Let’s look at some of what this new show has to offer.

SPOILERS ahead in case you haven’t watched it yet, obvs…


#10: The setting

It’s not unusual for Transformers fiction to be set on Earth – it’s been the case since the franchise’s earliest days! Yet there’s a welcome feeling of returning to our roots here, with the small town setting a fitting locale for the large-scale action sure to be caused by the robots in disguise. After the previous Transformers cartoon series took the adventures on a galactic adventure from Cybertron and beyond, I’m here for the paired-down scale presented by Earthspark so far. That said, establishing a timeline where the Autobot/ Decepticon wars have already taken place and Transformers are already known to the people of Earth is something we have not seen much of in cartoons before. It’s a fun spin and allows us to get much of the adventure moving without tons of exposition and set-up. By the same token, the newly-created born Twitch & Thrash provide a fresh take on the well-trodden tropes we’ve come to expect.

#9: The tone

Of all the aspects I enjoyed about this new cartoon, the positive, upbeat tone was chief among them. When I was younger, I yearned for ‘darker’, more ‘serious’ Transformers storytelling, in many ways akin to what we saw during the recent War for Cybertron trilogy. However, these days, I can’t help but find the results overly grim and pompous, magnified by the desire to enjoy these cartoons with my son, too. Having already had a blast watching the likes of 2015’s Robots in DisguiseRescue Bots Academy and Cyberverse with him, I’m thrilled to find a new show that, again, doesn’t take itself too seriously. There’s plenty to enjoy here as adults, but ultimately, let’s remember that this series is made for children, after all!

#8: The action

Still, if you thought Earthpsark would pull its punches, have no fear! The action may have been used sparingly in this opening episode, but what we saw was excellent, with some really thrilling moments. The notable standout here was Elita-1’s single-handed (OK, Optimus was there too) takedown of Decepticons Swindle and Hardtop, as she showed just how it’s done! I can’t wait to see more. 

#7: The character designs

We only saw seven Transformers on-screen in the first episode, and only five of them were your more traditional fare, but I’m already loving the look and feel of the character designs! They’re bright, vibrant, distinctive and chock full of personality, and they manage to feel modern whilst retaining that distinct blocky feel synonymous with the franchise’s roots. I know that not everyone has been convinced by the look of Optimus Prime so far but for my money, seeing him in action more than made it work, and it left me curious to see more of what this show has to offer in the future. Oh, and props for the definite IDW vibes on Megatron!

#6: The transformations

First, it’s worth celebrating that we had no shortage of actual transformations in this episode, with every bot bar the newbies taking the time to convert between modes for our optic pleasure. That’s already a far cry from WFC, where one of my main grumbles was how often the process would take place off-screen, but the fact that the transformations also looked really good is even better! That sequence of Megatron standing up to form his robot mode towards the end is particularly stellar.

#5: The creativity

When the first promos for Earthspark came out, a brief clip of Optimus Prime using his wipers to clean his chest windows caught many fans’ attention. As it turns out, it’s just one such moment of fun creativity peppered through the show, with plenty of thought about how the robot characters would move or use their various assets in combat. Again, it’s impossible not to mention Elita-1 at this stage, as watching her give the Decepticons the absolute runaround was a sheer delight!

#4: The voice acting

WFC came in for a mixed reception regarding the voice acting, so there was already a fair amount of chatter about how well Earthspark would handle this particular aspect. With big names like Alan Tudyk on board, it’s no surprise that it sticks the landing, as all of the characters sounded distinct and brimming with personality. The biggest test here was always Optimus Prime, as anyone other than Peter Cullen in the role will naturally sound strange to some. Yet Tudyk wins points specifically because he’s not trying to do a Cullen impersonation of any kind, allowing this Optimus to feel suitably large and in charge whilst avoiding any unfavourable comparisons. The rest of the cast was also a treat to listen to!

#3: The humour

Not everyone loves Transformers to be played up for laughs, but I loved the humour in Earthspark. The franchise is often at its best when it can acknowledge some of its inherent silliness, which we certainly got in scenes such as Twitch trying to turn into a car! Beyond the big guffaw moments, there was a light touch applied throughout, and it helped this story to feel like a natural breeze compared to some of the more serious offerings we’ve had recently. Oh, and I think we all felt for Optimus trying to pick up those traffic cones, no?

#2: The franchise nods

Another aspect of Earthspark that’s caused some intrigue is the use of ‘flashback’ sequences styled after the original 1980s Transformers cartoon, complete with the appearances of the various characters looking just as they did back in the day. This was a genuine buzz for a franchise stalwart such as myself, although I was also pleased that they weren’t taken too seriously at the same time! We’re used to hearing lines like “one shall stand, one shall feel” repeated ad nauseam in Transformers fiction, so the humorous slant on it all was a breath of fresh air in this case. Beyond that, seeing the original Cybertron design on-screen again in 2022 was a definite moment, alongside nods such as the presence of Transformers comics and the town being named after the franchise’s most famous human face.

#1: Elita-1!

At the end of the day, there was tons to enjoy about the first episode of Earthspark, but I suspect one bot, in particular, will be earning a lot of fans throughout this series. Yes, Elita-1 was given more than one moment to shine, and she absolutely made the most of it, showing just what the character is made of when she’s allowed to have a bit of fun for a change. Top drawer.

So that’s our list! What did you make of the first episode of Earthspark?

TTFN

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About Sixo

Transformers collector from the UK, collecting vintage G1/G2, CR/RID, UT & Masterpiece/3P. Find me at twitter.com/SixoTF or on YouTube at youtube.com/SixoTF

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