My younger cousin recently got me into Transformers: Prime, which brought me back into the Transformers franchise after the Michael Bay movies disappointed me out of it. Transformers: Prime awoke my inner child in a way that I haven't felt since the days of Beast Wars. (Favorite overall Transformer remains Dinobot from the Beast Wars continuity with some warmth towards Hotshot of the G1 generation.) I do recall coming across Transformers: Prime when it originally aired on The Hub alongside the My Little Pony reboot (which I also enjoyed until Lauren Faust left the studio), but the live-action movies made me skeptical of its quality. After seeing how My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is into its 7th season by now, I figured maybe Transformers: Prime may have received similar care in its rebooting.
Boy, was I surprised.
Transformers: Prime was amazingly good. Even with its tight budget forcing the team to use stills for some scenes (which were mostly flashback scenes, so I'm not too particular about them not animating those) Transformers: Prime was a very well-done series despite being written by the same people who did the story for the first two live-action movies. Maybe Michael Bay did his own meddling in that regard, because the writers made an excellent narrative for Prime compared to the movies.
However, five episodes into the 3rd season, I did some reading and discovered that the writers had already planned out 3 seasons before they started production, but after Season 2, executive meddling and team changes caused the original Season 3 plans to be thrown out in favor of the hastily put-together Beast Hunters narrative. And if not to make things worse, the 3rd season was cut short to 13 episodes with the rest of the story covered in a single movie. How very disappointing. I also read that the writers wanted to expand more on the Wreckers, but couldn't fit them in due to time constraints. This is so upsetting, since I really want to see what ideas they had to expand Bulkhead and Wheeljack's Wreckers backstory.
Why is it that My Little Pony cartoon got more care and attention than the equally popular Transformers cartoon? Hasbro supposedly wanted to finally create a cohesive continuity for the Transformers franchise to be based on, yet once again, their need to sell toys overshadows what could've been a great story. They focused on selling toys for 26 years, why can't they put that focus aside for once so Transformers fans can get a decent lore platform to go with? If they can just get a good story going, the toys will sell themselves just fine. You'd think after 26 years of quantity over quality, they would've seen what happened when they flipped that for My Little Pony and do that for Transformers.
I really wanted to get into the Transformers franchise more, I really do. But all the inconsistent continuities just discourages me from really getting involved with it. And that's a real shame. Transformers has the potential to be just as big and involved as the Gundam franchise, but the idiots at Hasbro just insist on knowing better than the creative minds they have working for them. When it comes to entertainment, sometimes you just need to take a chance and let the writers do their thing. If they just did that for Transformers: Prime, the show would've been just as successful as My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. This isn't the 80s or 90s where kids would instantly want to get a character because they saw it for a few seconds in the TV show. The Harry Potter/Wizarding World franchise proves that if you have well-developed characters, the merchandise will fly off the shelves much better than if you just push out what amounts to glorified toy commercials.
I hope someday they'll revisit Transformers: Prime and produce the originally planned 3rd season. Maybe give them a bigger budget for a couple more seasons to see what they could do with the disjointed franchise. Because something tells me the show would be a much larger success than Hasbro takes it for with their executive meddling.