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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
A lot of us grew up on the Generation One or G1 Transformer's long before a live action film about giant transforming robots could have been thought possible. Now to tie in with this summer's live action sequel, Transformer's 2: Revenge Of The Fallen, comes this 3-Disc DVD set containing all sixteen episodes of the first season of this beloved eighties classic. Those sixteen episodes, originally airing September 17th to December 29th 1984, are:

1: More Than Meets the Eye (1)
2: More Than Meets the Eye (2)
3: More Than Meets the Eye (3)
4: Transport to Oblivion
5: Roll for It
6: Divide and Conquer
7: S.O.S. Dinobots
8: The Ultimate Doom: Brainwash (1)
9: The Ultimate Doom: Search (2)
10: The Ultimate Doom: Revival (3)
11: War of the Dinobots
12: Countdown to Extinction
13: Fire in the Sky
14: Heavy Metal War
15: Fire on the Mountain
16: A Plague of Insecticons

Special Features Are So Far Said To Include:

Original Concept Artwork
Archival Hasbro Toy Commercials
Rare Public Service Announcements
"Triplechanger: From Toy To Comic To Screen: The Origins Of The Transformers" Featurette
A Printable Script For The Episode "Transport To Oblivion"
& A Limited Edition Autobot Magnet

The animation may not have been the best on this series but in the eighties it's all we needed and our active imaginations filled in the rest. Despite the older less impressive animation these episodes are still classics to those who remember them and will be more enjoyable for most of us than the many spinoffs that followed the G1 series. There was something innocent about the series here, maybe because it was so early before the fact that each episode was really just a half hour commercial became common knowledge, maybe because here they actually looked like robots in disguise, but maybe just because they are the ones most of us grew up on and where the whole lasting franchise found it's niche.

Fans should be very excited to own these episodes in a new more affordable set. The set is being put out by Shout! Factory and they have always done an excellent job of providing fans with a lot of well done special features on long awaited sets. This set was originally announced as having a few special features included with more possibly in the works but I'm very glad to see the amount that they have now announced for it and have updated this review to include them. Alot of people who didn't buy the more expensive original sets are going to be excited at the chance to get this one and I know that I can't wait. I originally gave this set 5 stars just for the opportunity to own these classic episodes in a proper DVD set, but after hearing that they will in fact be restored to original broadcast versions with a new stereo soundtrack created from the original audio I'm more excited than ever.

Some may say that this series was just the next step in a great advertising campaign for children's toys but those of us who grew up being entertained by it know that there truly is more to this series than meets the eye. Thanks For Your Time.

*Rather than clutter up the review page I have posted a list of episode descriptions in my comments section for those who are curious.

*It now appears that Shout! will also be releasing Transformer's G1 in a complete series set this summer. While I think this first season set is still great for some I personally am more excited for the complete series.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1984, "THE TRANSFORMERS" was a merchandise success as every child wanted to own the latest Transformers toys from Hasbro and act out their own personal battles between the Autobots and the Decepticons and own their favorite robots that came from the popular television and comic book series (despite the TV show and comics having different storylines).

The first season which was written and recorded in the US featured animation by Japan's Toei Animation, aired on television in the US between September through December 1984. The series is based on the popular Japanese toys from Takara and various other toy companies (ie. Shockwave came from ToyCo., the Insecticons and Skyfire came from Takatoku Toys, etc.) and developed into a line called "Transformers" by Hasbro in the United States. The TV series which featured the first season characters (known as Generation 1 or "G1') would spawn about 98 episodes in a total of five seasons.

The first season was originally released on DVD back in 2002 from Rhino but was criticized for its high price but most importantly for its problems. Rhino used the original 35mm film masters which gave the series a much more vibrant look but the problem was that the masters did not include the corrections that were shown on the final cut that aired on television and thus the episodes had incomplete animation. Picture quality also had problems with "jaggies" and featured new sound effects that fans of the original series were not entirely very happy with.

This time around, for the 25th Anniversary release of the first season on DVD, SHOUT FACTORY was not determined to make the same mistake. In the special note segment of "THE TRANSFORMERS - THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON" booklet, the following was mentioned:

Transformers DVDs released prior to our 25th Anniversary Edition were missing animation seen in the original broadcast. We did extensive research, found the discrepancies between the original broadcast masters and the restored masters used for the last DVD release, reinserted the correct animation and color corrected it as best as we could to match the shots before and after. But because a one-inch mater tape simply can't hold up to the quality of the restored masters, you may notice occasional shots - or even scenes - in some episodes that seem slightly softer than others. Just take comfort in knowing that laser blasts have been reinserted, backgrounds have been corrected and Starscream is Starscream once again.

So, I was absolute happy to see a re-release of the first season on DVD.

Of course, back then, as a child who collected the "Transformers" toys, the series was just the ultimate cartoon that pitted two robot groups against each other, the good Autobots and the evil Decepticons.

The series is about the two factions who have been at war for a long time in their planet of Cybertron. Two groups would eventually crash land on the Planet Earth and the evil Decepticons attempts to take energy from the planet and being a constant threat to humanity, while the Autobots do what it can to help protect the humans and stop the Decepticons. The sixteen episodes are featured on two DVD's, while the third disc contains the special features.

"THE TRANSFORMERS - THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON" comes with the three-part "More than Meets the Eye" mini-series and the 13 episodes of Season 1. Here is a spoiler-less, brief summary of each episode:

DISC 1

* EPISODE 1 - More than Meets the Eye, Part 1 - The civil war in Cybertron between the Autobots and Decepticons continues but with Cybertron's resources nearly depleted, Optimus Prime and a group of Autobots leave the planet to scout for the resources but are found by Megatron and the Decepticons. The two end up crashing on the Planet Earth and are awakened 4 million years later. Their battle begins once again but in a new planet!
* EPISODE 2 - More than Meets the Eye, Part 2 - Both groups use their robotic powers to disguise themselves as vehicles from the planet Earth. Megatron and the Decepticons now go after the Earth's energy and bring it back to Cybertron.
* EPISODE 3 - More than Meets the Eye, Part 3 - Megatron has to worry about one of his own men who wants the power for himself and lead the Decepticons.
* EPISODE 4 - Transport to Oblivion - Megatron orders the construction of a "space bridge" between Planet Cybertron and Planet Earth. Meanwhile, Bumblebee and Spike are captured by the Decepticons.
* EPISODE 5 - Roll for It - Megatron wants the antimatter formula on Earth that would give him and the Decepticons ultimate power.
* EPISODE 6 - Divide and Conquer - Optimus Prime is wounded and the Autobots must find a way to get a Cosmotron unit to save him.
* EPISODE 7 - Fire in the Sky - While the Decepticons continue to syphon Earth's energy, they meet a robot and powerful jet fighter named Skyfire. Is he friend or foe to the Autobots?
* EPISODE 8 - S.O. S. Dinobots - With Ratchet's interest in the Earth's dinosaur fossils, he ends up creating dinosaur robots Grimlock, Slag and Sludge aka the Dinobots.

DISC 2

* EPISODE 9 - Fire on the Mountain - The Autobots hope for Skyfire to join the fight against the Decepticons.
* EPISODE 10 - War of the Dinobots - Megatron tries to convince the Dinobots to betray the Autobots.
* EPISODE 11 - The Ultimate Doom, Part 1: Brainwash - The Decepticons team up with an evil human scientist who wants to use mind control on the humans in order to fight against the Autobots.
* EPISODE 12 - The Ultimate Doom, Part 2: Search - Planet Cybertron is in Earth's orbit and now the Earth is being torn apart. Can the Autobots prevent the planet's destruction?
* EPISODE 13 - The Ultimate Doom, Part 3: Revival - Spike and a few Autobots try to sabotage the Decepticon hypno-chip.
* EPISODE 14 - Countdown to Extinction - A new leader of the Decepticons emerges.
* EPISODE 15 - A Plague of Insecticons - In the Island of Bali, a group of robot insects are terrorizing the people of the island. Who are they?
* EPISODE 16 - Heavy Metal War - The introduction of the evil Constructicons and Devastator.

The release comes with three DVD's and are collected as thing packs with a deluxe foil board sleeve with embossed accents.

Coming out in July is "THE TRANSFORMERS: 25th Anniversary "Matrix of Leadership" Edition Collector's set which has 38 hours of content, the entire original animated "G1' series, many extras and a 16-DVD box set.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

"THE TRANSFORMERS - THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON" looks very good on DVD. I've seen a lot of 90's animation make it on DVD and many suffer from a softness that really brings out its age. Granted, you can tell the picture quality is of an 80's animation but it doesn't look soft. The animation does have a good number of dust particles throughout the video but it's not very distracting (although, I hope if the series does get a High-Definition transfer, if it is possible, I do hope they do clean the video up of the dust particles). But otherwise, for an 80's animation to look this good and better than many 90's animation on DVD, is a major plus.

As for audio, audio is presented in Stereo. Dialogue is clean and easy to understand. For those with a home theater setup, I found it more pleasing to have my receiver set to output at stereo on all channels.

Overall, each episode is restored to the original broadcast versions with a new stereo soundtrack created from the original audio.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

"THE TRANSFORMERS - THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON" comes with the following special features (note: some were featured on the "Transformers: The Movie" 20th Anniversary DVD):

* TRIPLE CHANGER: From Toy to Comic to Screen - (19:53) Interviews with the people involved with the series, involved with the toys and how the US created a backstory for the toys. Where the name "Transformers", "Autobots" and "Decepticons" came from. How character names were made, how Hasbro started working with Takara in terms of the design of the toys and more. Also, thoughts of those individuals on their favorite characters and toys.
* ORIGINAL COMMERCIALS - (1:31) Three toy commercials are featured: Optimus Prime and Megatron, Insecticons and Dinobots and G2 Optimus Prime.
* PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT - (:31) A PSA for "Bumblebee: Running Away from Home".
* Printable "Transport to Oblivion" Script - The script is a 62-page PDF that can be viewed by inserting the DVD to a computer and accessing the file.
* Booklet - An episode guide booklet plus production credits.
* Autobot Magnet - Also, included in the box set is a 4-inch tall Autobot magnet.

JUDGMENT CALL:

Growing up with "The Transformers", my brother and I were like most kids in the 80's who were literally in love with the toys, the cartoon and comic books.

But moreso, being impressed with the technology that went into having a robot transforming into a car, an airplane, a gun, a dinosaur and an insect. It may seem commonplace now but back then, it was an amazing time to have these die-cast metal/plastic robots that transform, using the television series as a basis of what robots we wanted to get (and hoped our parents would buy) and have these all out battles.

The first season of "THE TRANSFORMERS" was just an amazing cartoon series at the time and I'm still impressed by it 25-years-later. Watching it now, especially comparing it to a lot of Transformers animated series that have come out in the last two decades, the series continues to remain quite strong compared to the newer incarnations of Transformer-related series (especially with the toys that had die-cast metal, which were really awesome back then compared to some of the plastic Transformers toys that are sold today).

Personally, there is nothing bad I could say about this release. SHOUT FACTORY learned from Rhino's mistakes of how to issue the series on DVD for the Transformers 25th Anniversary and how to please fans but also admit the challenges they had in restoring the original broadcast versions with a new stereo soundtrack created from the original audio. Especially, releasing the first season for such a low price.

I also enjoyed the addition of the "Triple Changer: From Toy to Comic to Screen - The Origins of the Transformers" which really gave us a behind-the-scenes look on how the series created and the process of coming up with the names of the characters and more.

Again, there's nothing bad I can say about this release. If I had to really nitpick, sure I can wish for cleaned up video in the hope that thousands of instances of dirt, debris and scratches were removed (which I do hope they do if they intend to release the series again via High Definition) and I would love to have more Hasbro toy commercials but overall, I'm quite content with the release as is.

If you are a fan of "The Transformers" and like many fans who have wanted to own the first season on DVD without breaking the bank, now you can own it for a low price with a much superior release compared to the last. The series has been restored to the original broadcast versions and no more missing animation or any audio problems. This release is quite solid and is simply the definitive DVD version of "THE TRANSFORMERS - THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON" to own.

Highly recommended!
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2009
Most of the reviews on here give a rather lenghy description of all the great stuff and histroy etc. I will simply point out a few bad points as this set is not perfect (so don't expect it to be).

First off Shout! Factory was formed from Rhino, so the same people are behind this...you can read about it from their website. However they did attempt to fix many of the errors that were present on the original disc.

1. A lot of the ending credits text is actually misalined, though you can't notice unless you compare it to the broadcast versions. The first few eopisodes have the wrong (more then meets the eye) ending credits.

2.The last 4 epoisodes sound effects are turned down much to low. The remix was doing well up until Ultimate Doom 3 and the rest have loud dialog and low sound effects.

-The Ultimate Doom: Part 3
-Countdown to Extinction
-A Plague of Insecticons
-Heavy Metal War

3. Some scenes they fixed like with Ironhide transformering in reverse were done w/ cheap digital software and look out of place. But it's rather minor issues.

For $20 it's well worth it, just don't expect it to be perfect like I did.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2009
For the last few years it's been a wonderful time for fans of 80s cartoons. Between the lovely Filmation sets released by the now sadly defunct BCI Eclipse, Warner Bros. stepping up to the plate and offering action cartoons like Thundercats and the Silverhawks, WEP/Anime Works/Media Blasters releasing the complete series of Voltron, Time Life releasing the complete Real Ghostbusters, and Shout! Factory picking up dropped licenses for a ton of DiC and now Sunbow cartoons, releasing 30-odd episode sets instead of the paltry 4 episode discs for shows like C.O.P.S. and Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors, it's just been great.

With the recently released Transformers season one 25th anniversary edition, Shout! Factory has stepped up its game and taken on a tent-pole series, looking to correct the mistakes in the show's past DVD releases (both in terms of price point, attractive packaging and actual animation and sound snafus from the 2002 Rhino releases.) Taking a nod from Time Life and their release of the Real Ghostbusters, Shout! is putting together multiple DVD sets that'll hopefully appease both casual and hardcore fans. This set is the first of 4 individual releases that will comprise the complete Transformers cartoon. They're also prepping a all-in-one complete series package set ,the Matrix of Leadership edition set for release on July 13th through their website.

This first set includes all 16 episodes from season one, a 20 minute documentary featurette featuring a lot of the creative team responsible for the original toy line, the Marvel comics series, and the cartoon, a G.I. Joe-style "Knowing is half the battle..." PSA featuring Bumblebee, three archival Hasbro toy commercials, a printable script for the episode "Transport to Oblivion", and a large b&w Autobot magnet. For the most part, these episodes are from the same masters that Rhino used in the 2002 releases, but Brian Ward and his team painstakingly researched the discrepancies between the original masters and the broadcast versions, and replaced most of the incorrect footage (and sound) with the correct sections from the 1" broadcast tapes. For most casual fans these changes will be transparent, but for longtime viewers, these new DVDs are the closest we've gotten to how the show was originally shown on TV. Unfortunately, the 1" tapes segments tend to stick out a bit, and can be a bit jarring as the animation flows between the crisp sequences of the original masters and the softer, slightly duller 1"broadcast tape. On the whole though, knowing that the original broadcast versions are preserved far outweighs the visual bumpiness.

The episodes included on disc 1:
-More Than Meets the Eye: Part 1
-More Than Meets the Eye: Part 2
-More Than Meets the Eye: Part 3
-Transport to Oblivion
-Roll for It
-Divide and Conquer
-Fire in the Sky
-S.O.S. Dinobots

The episodes included on disc 2:
-Fire on the Mountain
-War of the Dinobots
-The Ultimate Doom: Part 1
-The Ultimate Doom: Part 2
-The Ultimate Doom: Part 3
-Countdown to Extinction
-A Plague of Insecticons
-Heavy Metal War

As far as the packaging, presentation and bonus materials go, I was very impressed by the attention to detail and that Shout! had and eye on the style of the original toy packaging when designing the slipcase, sleeve inserts, disc art and the episode guide. The foil embossed slipcase is brilliant and just plain beautiful (especially compared to the rather dull silver digipaks of the original 2002 Rhino release.) This is the best work I've seen from Shout! when it comes to their 80s cartoon releases. The menu navigation is light years better than the old Rhino DVDs as well, with an included feature to play multi-part episodes together without interrupting the flow of the cartoon by cutting out the opening and closing credits on the in-between episodes. The 20 minute "From Toy to Comic to Screen" featurette takes its cue from the docs that Andy Mangels did for the BCI Eclipse He-Man, She-Ra, and Dungeons and Dragons sets, and is well produced. The main focus of the doc centers around Hasbro acquiring the toy license from Takara, the development of the Marvel comic series, and eventually how the storylines for the three platforms differed, and features creative talent that worked for Marvel, Hasbro and Sunbow past and present. It's not quite as in-depth as I was hoping, skirting talk of the production of the series for the most part, but according to the specs of the Complete series set, we can expect two more docs in these individual sets, as well as two additional and exclusive docs on the complete set (including a voice actor reunion), so there's room for more down the road. As for the toy commercials, two of them pertain to G1 toys, while a third is for the G2 Optimus Prime re-release. It's really interesting seeing these, though it can be distracting while watching them because the child actor's faces were blurred.

All in all, for a set retailing between $20-30, fans couldn't really ask for anything better. This is the first time the Transformers series has been released with this much loving detail at such an affordable price in the US, and hopefully it's just the icing on the cake as there are three more sets, a complete series set, 4 individual G.I. Joe sets (G.I. Joe A Real American Hero: Season 1.1) and the complete G.I. Joe series to look forward to.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2009
My main reason for this not being as good as the Rhino release is that there are no audio options. What if I wanted to hear the original broadcast audio like in the Rhino release? Also, what if I wanted to hear it in 5.1 audio like the Rhino release. With this, you only get one audio option and that's 2.0 stereo. On the Rhino release, you get all three. Also, originally I thought the picture was better, but it's actually not as good. It's darker and doesn't have as much contrast. Also, it doesn't have that many bonus features. Anyway, I will give you the good things about this release. It's cheaper and has different special features. Also, it's more compact so it doesn't take as much room on your shelf. If you don't have the out-of-print Rhino release then, by all means, purchase this set.

P.S. Season 1 of the original Rhino release didn't have the original broadcast audio as an audio option but the rest of the seasons on Rhino did.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2011
This review is for those of us that bought the Rhino sets the first time around. I have been debating, for awhile now, if it is worth replacing the Rhino sets with Shout! Factory's re-release. So far I have purchased this one and the first part of season 2. Comparing the two I like the cover, case, and dvd better on the Shout! re-release with more of the character art. Rhino did have the cool art on the inside panorama but the rest were just the symbols of the factions and the merging autobot symbol throughout the sets on the cover.

As for the episodes I might be a big fan but I might not be hardcore enough to notice some of the subtle differences mentioned. Other than it being a little bit darker there are some fixes, somethings the same, somethings that didn't work like they might of wanted it to. Like the sound mix being low in some episodes as compared to the Rhino release. To me as long as the episodes are still fun and still very watchable it is a good set.

Besides the art, the one other main thing that finally sold me on getting these sets is the compactness of the newer re-release. The set is packed very good for the price and not stacked on top of each other on one spindal or in stacked baggy like sleeves or laying on sandwiched cardboard sleeves like some other cheaper dvd releases are. I do like that Shout! did their re-release in four sets instead of Rhino's five. The best thing, once I have all four sets, is that it will take up no more space than two of Rhino's sets. So if anyone reading this is looking to have the series and wants it to take up less space than the Rhino sets this is a very good buy for the $19-$20 dollar price tag individually or even the price of the complete set they are going to release.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2009
At a cheaper price than the original dvd set this is a good buy (especially if you don't have season one like I do). I'm happy with my original set but I'm a bit of a completist.

I haven't really sat down and compared the original against this, but I don't see much difference in the two besides the 3rd disc which has extras. I still see (& hear) lots of mistakes, so I don't know where they really fixed anything here (which they claim they did). At times I can tell the DVDs are superior to the original set, but I think they wanted to go for more of how the cartoon was originally broadcast on TV.

I still give this a 5 star rating because if you have the original set you can use that as a collectible and play this version which is cheaper. If you don't have it at all this is an even better buy for you.

Don't go thinking this is Michael Bay here. There is actually story, characterization and you can follow all the action without getting motion sickness from shaky camerawork. Transformers was always tops for me because the cartoon had a diverse cast of characters, a story with depth and morality. This was still when good was good and evil was evil. This cartoon will entertain you if you aren't into mindless entertainment. If you enjoy mindless entertainment watch Michael Bay's first or 2nd Transformers (or Bayformers as I like to call them because they tarnish the name of Transformers IMO) movie
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2011
This is the version that started the mythology of the show. If you like sci fi, Star Trek or even super heroes,this will appeal to you. I never could understand a lot of the characters until I purchased this first volume. You'll discover:

Where the Transformers came from
Why the Dino-Bots were created
Why the Transformers came to earth
Why Cyberton was critical to their existance

All in all it's a great cartoon that you don't have to be concerned about sharing with other family members. It's family friendly entertainment in a world where reality TV has taken over the airwaves. We need more cartoons like this with values and life lessons that entertain. I prefer this over the feature films because it's more streamlined and colorful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2009
This is the first season of Transformers: Generation 1(1984-1987)! I like this cartoon very much. Peter Cullen ,the voice of Optimus Prime,started his Transformers fan base here. Frank Welker is also the original voice of Megatron, not Hugo Weaving. These are the 16 episodes released in 1984-1985 on American TV. I highly Recommend this series. This G1 cartoon series is very special to me because I grew-up with The original Transformers from the 1980s.A+++
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2009
This is the complete real deal. It has all of the original music and sound effects, the video quality is great, and even has the pre- and post- commercial segments. The packaging is high-quality, and fans will not be disappointed.
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