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The 'Transformers' franchise reaches low-point quality with 'Robots in Disguise'
The 'Transformers' animated shows have been very mixed overall. While there are some great shows such as 'Transformers' (1984), 'Beast Wars' and 'Prime' there are also some poor ones such as 'Victory' and "The Unicron Trilogy" ('Armada' especially, with 'Cybertron' the least bad but not saying a lot).
'Robots in Disguise' is among the franchise's worst and the worst 'Transformers' show since 'Armada'. It is redeemed by the character of Steeljaw, the most impressively designed, one of few of the characters to register positively or have intrigue value and the best voiced, deserving of being in the show more. As well as some vibrant colours and a few interesting characters, again particularly with Steeljaw.
However, some of the animation in terms of movement is static and slow, meaning that as well as dumbed down the action sequences feel lazy and lack urgency or momentum. While a few of the characters have intriguing designs, some do look weird, especially Bumblebee, Strongarm and Grimlock. The music is not awful as such, but it doesn't have the memorability factor and is not as dynamic as it should be.
Where 'Robots in Disguise' particularly fails is in the writing and characterisation. The writing is incredibly lazy and while certainly too juvenile for adults even children will find that it is too simplistic and dumbed down for them. Any attempts at humour fall flat and some of the more repetitive ones wear well thin very quickly, especially with Fixit, Strongarm and Grimlock.
A vast majority of the characters are obnoxiously out of character or simplified to dumbness (i.e. Grimlock), lack personality (Megatronus, true of most of the Decepticons who act more stupid than threatening is far too under-utilised and lacks any kind of menace) or are irritating (as well as being that Sideswipe serves as a terrible role model and Drift is an annoying jerk). Someone please also decide what personality and such to give Russell, because the frequently indecisive characterisation and writing is really grating. Steeljaw and Jazz are two of few exceptions.
'Robots in Disguise' is lacking when it comes to its storytelling too. Some episodes are paper-thin and static, while others cram in too much, so parts either feel hectic or incredibly pedestrian. The severe lack of tension and conflict and that it does very little with quite old ideas.
Not much good to say about the voice work either. There are a few talented names here (with some prolific names), but almost all either have little to do, have annoying and ill-fitting voices (Megatronus and Bisk are notably jarring) or are over-parted. Steeljaw fares the least badly by far in this regard.
Overall, despite giving it a fair and honest chance, 'Robots in Disguise' is one of the worst 'Transformers' shows with not much good to say about it. 2/10 Bethany Cox
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