Halloween Transformers Episode Appreciation 1: Along Came a Spider (Transformers Animated)

Part of AddAltMode's Creepy Countdown series

Part of AddAltMode’s Creepy Countdown series

It was inevitable that we’d find a way to shoehorn in some Transformers-related content somewhere along the wooded, winding and deliberately badly-lit path of our Creepy Countdown series, so here we go…

Across the vast corpus of Transformers TV show content there have to have been some episodes that would make for sufficiently spooky viewing, and indeed there are. It doesn’t happen too often but when Transformers cartoons do decide to engage with scary tropes they pretty much go all in: from All Hallow’s Eve-set episodes that see the Cybertronian immigrants struggle with the night’s candy grabbing traditions, via reanimated zombie showdowns to that classic horror staple, spiders, oh so many spiders – here with a robot twist of course. So grab your pumpkin-flavoured popcorn and sit back for the first of two posts in which I recommend and appreciate a double bill of the finest Hallowe’en episodes the franchise has to offer…

When Transformers do Hallowe'en, things get weird fast

When Transformers do Hallowe’en, things get weird fast. Screenshot from Transformers Animated Ep.9.

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Top 10 Vehicon Deaths in Transformers Prime

The Transformers Prime cartoon has brought some great additions to the franchise. If I had to list my personal favourites I would probably include: Knock Out (don’t even ask me how much I love Knock out); Arcee as a blue motorcycle, and Vehicons. Now AddAltModeB would probably headdesk himself into unconsciousness if I devoted a whole Top Ten article just to Knock Out (although I totally could do it), and Prime Arcee gets plenty of love on this blog already, so today I’m going to talk Vehicons.

The term ”Vehicon” isn’t unique to Prime, but that show is responsible for introducing them as the Stormtroopers of the TF universe: that is, as Deception henchbots, mostly identical and always nameless (Starscream usually refers to them as “You there,” the TF fandom typically calls them all “Steve”). Usually turning in to sleek cars or jets, Steves have a fantastic design – and the Deluxe Vehicon toy is truly one of the nicest figures in the Prime toy range –  but their looks don’t negate the fact that they cannot aim a blaster if their lives depended on it (which often they do) and that they exist largely as cannon fodder. The Vehicons are actually threatening for about, ooh three quarters of the duration of the first episode. After that it’s pretty clear they’re just going to be mooks, who exist to provide scale and some kick-ass fight scenes in a show that otherwise has a very small cast of characters.

"The Stormtroopers of the TF Universe"

“The Stormtroopers of the TF Universe”

We may not know their names, but Vehicons are responsible for some really memorable scenes in the Transformers Prime TV show, both in terms of action and humour, and many many Vehicons gave their lives to make that series what it was. This post will honour the fallen ones. Although honour doesn’t always bring respect.

WARNING: Contains spoilers for all 3 seasons of TF Prime.

Many Vehicons were harmed in the making of this blog post….

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Numenera vs. Transformers Prime

Numenera is a tabletop RPG developed by Monte Cook Games. It’s also the setting of the upcoming video game Torment: Tides of Numenera… which was the thing that took my Kickstarter virginity.

These guys are awesome. The glaive is my fave!

Three example player characters (Source: Numenera Corebook p2, © Monte Cook Games, LLC)

Anyway, there’s a lot of thematic similarities beftween Numenera and Transformers: Prime – despite them actually being not that similar. One is a tabletop RPG set in the very distant future, and sitting loosley in the Dying Earth genre of science fantasy, and the other is a science-fiction adventure cartoon created to sell toy robots.  A little while ago, AddAltModeR and I talked about this at 2am whilst unable to sleep. The more I thought about it, the more I thought this connection is worth nerding over looking at in detail, so here we go. Continue reading

Transformers Robots in Disguise 2015: His and Hers Further Thoughts

So, we’ve now seen the first 10 episodes of the new Transformers Cartoon, Robots in Disguise. Our shared thoughts after viewing the pilot can be found here. Time for a follow up discussion on how things are shaping up for Bumblebee and the new crew.

Screenshot from the trailer. The new gang: Sideswipe, Bumblee, Grimlock, Strongarm, Fixit

Screenshot from the trailer. The new gang: Sideswipe, Bumblee, Grimlock, Strongarm, Fixit


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Let’s talk about: Annoying Robots!

So, you don’t need to have read many of the posts we publish here on AddAltMode to get the impression that in this little corner of the internet robots are generally regarded a pretty favourably. But although robots are frequently awesome, it is a truth universally acknowledged that when robots aren’t awesome they’re often incredibly, infuriatingly, even offensively annoying!

So what makes for an annoying robot? Well, there are tons of listicles already out there along the lines of “The Top Ten most annoying robots in popular culture” so I’m not going to churn out another of those. But if there’s one thing I’ve noticed about the various lists on this topic, it’s that there’s surprisingly little overlap between them. Annoyingness, it seems, can be quite a subjective quality. So today I’m going to look at a few robots who are often accused of being annoying. I’ll be asking what they’ve done to deserve that label and whether they really deserve it.

Bring forward the accused! These bots are on trial accused of being too annoying. Let the jury consider the evidence and decide their verdict.

Stock photo by  creationc from http://www.freeimages.com/photo/1409592

Health warning! If you’re easily wound up you may wish to stop reading now. While there are a few bots out there I may defend from over-harsh judgments, this post contains at least two characters for whom the label “annoying” doesn’t begin to cover it – although I could do with a label of some sort to stick over their robot mouths!

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Robots in Disguise 2015: First Impressions Discussion

It’s here! Hasbro’s hotly anticipated new Transformers show, the somewhat unoriginally titled Robots in Disguise, is now on air in the UK. Here at AddAltMode we’ve watched the first three episodes so far: the somewhat unoriginally titled  “Pilot (parts 1 and 2)” and “Trust Exercises.” In this – our first jointly written post on this blog – we share our initial thoughts and reactions. rid logo CONTAINS SPOILERS! Continue reading

The Many Faces of Starscream: Top 15 Expressive Moments in Transformers Prime

You there! Read this highly informative article.

You there! Read this highly informative article.

Ah, Starscream. Likeable? No. Loveable? Absolutely. I’m fond of pretty much all the incarnations of the Decepticons’ reluctant Number Two. Indeed, in terms of personality he’s a remarkably consistent character: the precise mix of ambition Vs cowardice and genuine Machiavellian scheming Vs overblown melodrama varies between incarnations but the mix itself is always there. I’d have a hard time choosing my favourite Starscream overall, but if I were forced to at null-ray point I would probably go with Transfomers Prime Screamer (brilliantly voiced by Steve Blum). Why? Mostly because Eyebrows! Uh, I mean, mostly because, as I’ve already noted, the detailed style of this show’s animation really allows the creators to have fun with the robots’ facial expressions. Starscream is surely the most emotional and dramatic of all Prime‘s cast and the show brings him memorably to life.

Let’s revisit this show. Here’s a list of his finest faces that I spent waaaay too much time compiling. Enjoy! WARNING: contains spoilers for all 3 seasons of TF Prime.

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Cosplay 2015: The Plan

Meet Slipstream.

You’ll be seeing a lot more of her this year.

Screencap from Transformers Animated episode 41 'Endgame, Part I'

Screencap from Transformers Animated epsode 41 ‘Endgame, Part I’

As TFWiki neatly put it, she’s “the Starscream clone that raises the most questions.”

  • Just how did an alleged clone of a male character end up female?
  • Precisely which aspect of Starscream’s personality does she embody?
  • Why does she hate her creator quite so much?

But my biggest question is

  • Where do I start with building a Slipstream cosplay?

Yes, my TF project for 2015 is going to be project Slipstream, based on her appearances in Transformers Animated (which are brief but, in my opinion, show-stealing.)

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Transformers Prime: Top Facial Expressions

I’m quite a fan of the Transformers Prime TV show (you might have noticed). One of the things I really like about the TF franchise in general is how the same characters and character archetypes appear and reappear in different but still recognisable guises over time. Prime in particularly has a very small cast and  – though it loses its way in places – I love just how character-driven a show it is. Part of that success is due to the fantastic voice acting, but I also like just how expressively animated the Bots are – especially their faces.

So, with no further ado, I bring you 6 of my favourite TF Prime expressions….

CONTAINS SPOILERS but honestly, Prime is a few years old now and if you haven’t watched it already I’m surprised you’re still reading.

6. Bumblebee: unwelcome ad break 

Screencap from Transfomers Prime

Screencap from Transfomers Prime Episode 30 ”Operation Bumblebee, Part 1′

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