The Transformers franchise has gone through several transformations, no pun intended, throughout its entire history. Of course, the show has always been seen more as a merchandising tool than anything else, but that doesn’t mean that the team behind each one of the shows has been able to give them their own personalities. This level of variation makes each show different in some way. Transformers: Earth Spark is just the newest installment in the long-running franchise, and it is now available on Nickelodeon and Paramount Plus.
Transformers: Earth Spark is a 3D-animated series produced by Entertainment One and Nickelodeon Animation in collaboration with Icon Creative Studio. The first 10 episodes of the show were just released this weekend, and we can expect more of them in the future. The series stars Alan Tudyk, Danny Pudi, Rory McCann, Sydney Mikayla, Zion Broadnax, Benni Latham, and Jon Jon Briones. The series is directed by Steven Caple Jr. who is most famous for having directed Creed II and who is also directing the next live-action installment in the Transformers franchise, Rise of the Beasts.
Unlike the shows that saw life in the 90s like Beasts Machines and Beasts Wars, Earth Spark feels very much aimed at younger kids, and it is also putting a lot of effort into creating an environment where diversity can thrive. This certainly seems like a good idea for a TV show aimed at kids. Watch some cool robots fighting while at the same time delivering a message of love and tolerance. What is most interesting about the premise is that the show is a direct sequel to the original series from the 80s.
This aspect of the show enhances the lore and the characters in ways that only veterans of the franchise will appreciate, but it also helps the show build characters and background stories beyond the confines of the series. The series has very short episodes, only ten in this first season. The show needs as much time as it can have to develop characters and plot. By leaning on being a direct sequel, there are already a lot of backstories already set up and for veterans, this might help make the show be more enjoyable.
For the youngest members of the audience, there is a nice story being built up here, involving a new variation of Transformers being born on planet Earth and named Terrans by Optimus Prime and the rest of the Autobots. The plot is interesting, but it falls shallow, at least for now. We will have to wait for further episodes in the series to see if these plotlines go anywhere. These new Terran Transformers are quite small, and they are not as impressive as the classic robots. Let’s hope the series can use them properly in the next batch of episodes.
Because the show is mainly aimed at kids, the battle sequences are all but violent. Yes, there is punching and shooting, but the impact is almost zero. There is really a lot of effort being put into making the show as kid-friendly as possible. It might be that you won’t be finding dark series here, and death seems to be a faraway concept so far. There is the threat of danger, but the menace never takes form in the story. It is just an idea.
In terms of animation, the show looks quite cool. There is a very good use of 2D effects in the battles and in other moments that really stand out against the 3D backgrounds. However, don’t expect to find high-quality animation here. This show does the bare minimum when it comes to textures and animations. It is all quite solid, but nothing that will really blow a kid’s mind, much less an adult’s.
If there are some things that really might hurt the show when it comes to veterans looking for more Transformers, it is the plot. At least in this first batch of episodes, the plot doesn’t really start happening but until the last couple of episodes of the season. The show really takes its time getting to the point and starts developing characters and answering questions. The characters themselves admit in one of the episodes that it seems weird that they are tackling those aspects of the show so late in the season. So, the pacing can be called slow, as nothing massive happens until the end.
Transformers: Earth Spark is a nice new effort in the franchise. It doesn’t really stand out against other shows when it comes to the writing, the quality of the animation, or the characters, but there is definitely love being put into it. Something that really bothered me was the inconsistency in the design of the characters of Robby and Mo. They are brothers, but Mo looks completely different from everyone in the show, her eyes, her head, and more seem to belong to another series. It is a minor thing, but it looks quite weird.
It might not be what veterans are looking for, but as an introduction to the series for kids, it does the job.