OH right in the nostalgia. Talk about my childhood, I remember watching the original Generation 1 Transformers as a kid and just being absolutely enamored in the world. I had the toys, I had some of the episodes on VHS, and as I got older I even was able to grab the entire collection on DVD from China before the Live Action movies revived the series. I still watch them every now and again just for the sake of some nostalgia and after watching it as an adult I can say with the up most certainty… That the series is actually rather bad. It is episodic, there is a plethora of animation, voice acting, and continuity errors, and the laws of common sense make you sit there and scratch your head wondering why nobody has died in this universe until the Transformers Movie. All that being said, I still love the shit out of them! I love the series and watch it whenever I get the chance and they are not all bad. Some of the episodes are pretty good and today’s list is made to showcase some of the best, the Top 5 Transformers Generation 1 Episodes.
Now as always I preface my list by saying that this list is my own personal opinion. If you have a different opinion, then please let me know, I love a good debate. Next up I base this list on a number of things. First off, what was the feel of the episode. Did it feel like something was at stake or was it simply filler. Second was their character development of any kind or any type of indication that there was continuity in the story. Finally, was the show memorable? Each fan of the series has those episodes that stick out in their mind so memorability counts. Also keep in mind that episodes that have multiple parts will be lumped into one choice. Also since I already reviewed the Tranformers Movie, it isn’t counted. With that being said, allow me to list some honorable mentions.
The Ultimate Doom
The Key to Vector Sigma:
What can I say, I dig the past as much as I dig the future and this one was just none stop fun and one of the most memorable of the Transformers G1 Series. During a battle in some rather strange ruins, Hoist, Warpath, Spike, Ravage, Rumble, Ramjet, and Starscream are sent back to medieval times where they are caught up in a dispute between two neighboring factions. Of course each of the two take sides and the battle becomes more of everyone vs. The Decepticons.
One of the biggest draws of this episode to me is the fact that Optimus Prime and Megatron have little to no appearance in it. It allows some of the little guys to get some of the glory for once, not to mention the story between the feuding Wigund du Blackthorne and Atheling the Red is surpisingly well told and quite enjoyable. If you are going to watch the original series, this is a must watch for you.
The Gold Lagoon may be one of the more forgotten episodes of the original G1 series, but it is to this day one of the best made and I will be damned if I allow it to be forgotten. In the episode one of the new editions to the toy line, a laid back beach bum type named Beachcomber finds a beautiful oasis just off of a shoreline with a lagoon of a substance known as ‘electrum’. The golden shined liquid, after being doused over a Transformers body, makes them invincible to laser attacks. This of course comes to the knowledge of the Decepticons who wish to use it to eliminate the Autobots.
What makes the Gold Lagoon a magnificent episode is the ending. Usually in the series with few exceptions we do not see the true carnage that these gigantic robots fighting each other create and if it is shown, it shows the Autobots fixing all of the problems, because good guys. This was one of the few episodes that actually showed the carnage that a battle between the two left behind. The once beautiful oasis filled with cute wildlife and adorable creatures has been obliterated by the battle, the animals either fleeing or surely dead after the altercation and the trees and grass smoldering piles of ash on the ground. The final scene of Beachcomber somberly looking over the after math and uttering the simple disheartening phrase ‘We Won’ is absolutely haunting. For the first time in the series, we truly saw the destruction of a horrid battle and one Autobots lament in knowing if he had not wandered into the paradise then the animals and the oasis would never have come to harm. Sometimes the sweetest ending is the one that tastes the most bitter.
The entire sub plot of season two that features Alpha Trion is more than likely the best episodes in the entire series. Not only does it span across the season instead of in quick secession like the other episodes that string together. They give a good back story of the Autobots and the Decepticons, helps grow the Optimus Prime character and even gives him a father and a significant other. Each of the episodes have found their way onto this list in some degree, one in the honorable mention and one still to come. But the episode that started it off finds its way onto this list, The Search for Alpha Trion. On Cybertron, Shockwave finds himself in trouble when a gang of thought to be dead ‘female’ Autobots attacks and steals energon cubes from the Decepticons. The leader of the Female Autobots is Elita One, Optimus Prime’s old girlfriend who in turn is under the watchful eye of the elderly Autobot Alpha Trion. When word of the female Autobots reaches their male counterparts on Earth, The Autobots fly to Cybertron in order to rescue them from Decepticon clutches.
This is the first episode where we really learn about Optimus Prime as more of just some defacto leader of the Autobots. We don’t learn his whole back story just yet but we learn that Prime does have a significant other, he does have a ‘father figure’, and it leaves us wanting to know more about Prime and his former self. Not to mention the addition of female Autobots is always cool and would later bring a fan favorite in Arcee. It is well done and a good way to start the Alpha Trion/Optimus Prime series really well.
What can be better than the original three episode pilot? The introduction to the characters and the setting is phenomenal. It shows where the Transformers are from, who they are, and how they got to Earth. There isn’t much more to say about the over all plot of the three episodes that hasn’t already been said.
Unlike a lot of the other episodes that feel light and campy, you genuinely feel like a lot is at stake when it comes to the plot. The world feels at stake, the characters are more fleshed out, and one of my favorite parts of the original run is the fact that it isn’t Optimus Prime or an Autobot assault… It is one Autobot, Mirage who is the one to save the day. The original three episode run is just an average joe Autobot that many people would more than likely forget about. Hands down, the original is a classic.
What can beat the original pilot? The origin story of Optimus Prime, that is what! Considering the implications of the episode, the emotion that it brings, and the story it tells as it bridges the gap between well seasoned veterans and new and brash rookies, this show is the ultimate package of what’s at stake in the original Generation 1 series. After the creation of the Arielbots and the Stunticons in the Key to Vector Sigma, the Arielbots find themselves in awe of the Decepticon jets, much to the annoyance of their Autobot comrades. After a Decepticon plot brings the Autobots to Cybertron, the Arielbots are sent into the far past, during the Golden Age of Cybertron. There they meet a young robot named Orion Pax and later meets the recently created Megatron. Megatron does what he does best and begins to wreak havoc, causing the Arielbots to attempt to save the day and Orion who was nearly killed by Megatron. It turns out that Orion Pax is in fact an earlier version of Optimus Prime who was reconstructed by Alpha Trion.
Not only do you get to see the origin of Optimus Prime and the start of the eternal struggle between he and Megatron, but you also get to see the Arielbots truly learn a valuable lesson of the danger the Decepticons possess. It bridges the link between the old and the new. It makes the Arielbots more sympathetic to their elder Autobots and the older ones begin to connect more to the new young brass. It is ripe with backstory, character development, and one of the best written stories in the entire series. It definitely deserves the number one spot.
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