Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters Season 3 Blu-rayA tv review article by: Paul Brian McCoy
Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters Season Three wraps up a 65 episode run that started back in November 2010 and was capped with a TV movie, Transformers Prime Beast Hunters: Predacons Rising that we reviewed back in October here. While I understand Hasbro wanting to get the movie into viewers hands as soon as possible after it aired on The HUB Network on October 4, I kind of wish they'd held off until Season Three was available.
But now that it is, I highly recommend getting your mitts on both.
Season Three starts off just moments from the finale of Season Two and things look extremely bleak for our heroes. Their base has just been demolished; Megatron's fortress, Darkmount, stands untouchable by any earth forces; the Autobots are scattered to the four winds, unable to contact one another without alerting the Decepticons of their whereabouts; and Optimus Prime was fatally wounded after staying behind to destroy the Ground Bridge controls and being caught in the blast that destroyed the Autobot base. His only hope of survival is the fact that Smokescreen disobeyed orders and hauled his unconscious body to safety.
The first four episodes effectively serve as a movie-length single adventure that sees everyone come together and Darkmount destroyed. How it happens, I'll leave for you to find out.
The rest of the season is packed with action and adventure, with nearly every character having their own story arc -- even the mysterious Predacon that comes to be known as Predaking! There's even a virtually stand-alone zombie story tucked away in the middle of the season that proved once again that these days, zombies are everywhere in every corner of pop culture.
The grand finale is another set of four episodes that tell one huge story, as Megatron's forces discover a way to create enough Cybermatter to cyberform Earth (in a finale that is strangely reminiscent of Man of Steel's, but with more heroism, less innocent bloodshed, and a death that is earned rather than forced in to make things edgy and cool). It all comes down the final moments, and a surprising hero rises up to save the day.
Well, surprising to me, since I hadn't been watching all along, but it was a natural and very emotionally satisfying conclusion not only for the series, but for that particular character's series-long development.
As usual with Shout! Factory releases, this one looks and sounds pristine. The extras are a little bare bones, with commentary tracks for about half the 13-episode run, one extended scene from the season finale, and the Transformers Prime Panel from the San Diego Comic-Con International 2013. Of these the Panel is pretty entertaining, but all-in-all there aren't a lot of surprises to be had there.
Despite that shortcoming, this is an excellent series that plays a little darker than one might expect from a Transformers cartoon. And with the excellent voice talents of Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, Jeffrey Combs, Ernie Hudson, Gina Torres, Michael Ironside, and the all-too brief return of Clancy Brown, this thing has more star power than any animated series deserves.
Paul Brian McCoy is the writer of Mondo Marvel and a regular contributor/editor for Comics Bulletin. His first novel, The Unraveling: Damaged Inc. Book One is available at Amazon US & UK, along with his collection of short stories, Coffee, Sex, & Creation (US & UK). He recently contributed the 1989 chapter to The American Comic Book Chronicles: The 1980s (US & UK) and has kicked off Comics Bulletin Books with Mondo Marvel Volumes One (US & UK) and Two (US & UK). Paul is unnaturally preoccupied with zombie films, Asian cult cinema, and sci-fi television. He can also be found babbling on Twitter at @PBMcCoy.