I recently became a member of an online auction community called eBay, and for my first purchase, I bought the Transformers Movie – the Canadian Version in the clamshell case which includes the infamous swear word. I just got around to watching it the other day, and as I was watching Megatronm and the decepticons board the autobot’s ship and begin a killing spree, something happened. I winced in pain – not at the sight of Megatron blowing Ironhide to pieces (I actually liked that part.) At that moment I came to the realization that The Transformers Movie was not really created for our entertainment. Although the movie is classic and somewhat entertaining, it was created because hasbro needed to find a way to sell more toys.
Anyone who was a fan of the Transformers remembers that the third season spelled its doom. One of the more notable things that caused the downturn of the series was that the focal point was no longer earth. Few episodes in the 3rd season were set on earth. The problem with this is that, all along, the goal of the decepticons was to steal earth’s energy and revitalize Cyberton with it. In the third season, this premise was lost when the Decepticons seemed to wander about space endlessly, with no apparent goal in mind. Bad storywriting could also have played a factor in the show’s demise. However, the thing that undoubtedly ended the transformers is that they killed off just about all of the original Transformers – the ones that we liked, and wanted to see more of. A naive 13 year-old, I had no idea why they would do this – I just assumed they were taking the storyline in a new direction. But I now realize that it was all about selling toys and making money. I make the following case to support this claim:
1) Any character who was introduced in the first season was killed in the movie. That means basically all of the autobot cars and decepticon planes. There were two exceptions: Bumblebee made it through the movie alive because they had planned to turn him into “Goldbug” and recapitalize on the character. Soundwave survived because SOMEBODY had to hold all of those fucking cassettes! I don’t think they could get away with killing him and making a new cassette dude. Notice also that they stopped selling all of the dead characters as well – no manufacturing of the character, no need to have them in the cartoon.
Most of the characters introduced in season 2 were still around, even though they may not have been in many of the season 3 cartoons: Blaster, Omega Supreme, all of the combiners, Dirge, Blitzwing, and Astrotrain were still available for purchase and therefore still written into the cartoon
“The Rebirth” which represents the fourth season, is devoid of season 2 characters. Since they stopped making them, there was no reason to write any of them into the cartoon. Find me one pre-movie character besides Optimus that appears in the rebirth. You can’t do it! Hence, to promote the sale of new toys, they created them in Season 4, rather than put in any new toys that they weren’t making.
I am sure there were logical business strategies behind the decision not to sell the older toys, and that’s fine. But I can see no good reason for killing them off so that they could never reappear. What it all boils down to is that money was behind the death of our beloved characters. You see, somewhere in my 13-year old mind, I thought that the action figures were created in response to the popularity of the cartoon. What I am starting to realize now, is that the cartoon is created so they can sell action figures. That’s why the business decisions are made for the toys first and the cartoon second. But instead of killing off our favorite characters, which I am sure was the move most damaging to the series, couldn’t they have made it so that they could come back in a future episode? Maybe have them go to a new planet or a parallel universe? (G.I. Joe got rid of three characters – Grunt, Clutch, and Steeler this way.) At least this way there’s a chance they could reappear. No, they had to kill everyone off. The cartoon was never the same again, people lost interest, and the transformers would soon end. All so some dipshits could sell some toys. For those who don’t understand the reference, the title of this article is taken from the song that is playing at the point in the original 1985 movie where the Autobots are getting the shit kicked out of them. Only the soundtrack-owning transformer geeks would know that. That’s how much I loved the transformers. Little did I know is what they were doing is kicking the shit out of the entire cartoon’s watchability. When everything changed, even I stopped watching. There could have been so many great new episodes if only they realized that changing the show’s premise was going to make everyone stop watching (and therefore stop buying toys!) Killing the autobots killed the show. Nice going, shitheads.