Jack saying he cares about Arcee because she was "his first" can be taken several ways he hopefully did not intend. This isn't helped when Jack's mother comments that Arcee "isn't the kind of girl I imagined him ditching me for".
D.N.G.S., specifically, how it's pronounced ("din-gus"), prompting the Youtube comment "Silas really wants Fowler's Dingus".
Is Starscream's horror and outrage over Megatron's death genuine, or a ploy to gain support from the remaining Decepticon forces?
Likewise, when Starscream helped Megatron while his leader was battling Predaking, was it out of any genuine loyalty, or was he afraid of being Predaking's next victim?
Was Knock Out's Heel–Face Turn genuine or him just being pragmatic? There's evidence for both, though it ultimately appears to be genuine.
There's some debate about how much agency CYLAS had. Considering that Silas's agenda was to disassemble both Autobots and Decepticons and learn their secrets in addition to possessing an idea of human superiority. After "The Human Factor" he makes the decision to join the Decepticons, which even the episode preview called uncharacteristic. Either his speech to his soldiers before executing them was genuine, or there was some Decepticon influence left in Breakdown's body.
In Exodus, Megatron at one point states his belief that one day, Shockwave will turn on him. Though there are many discrepancies, if this particular bit is taken as canon, it would cast his leaving of a just-killed Megatron in the Season 3 finale in a different light.
Ass Pull: Several, most of them regarding plots that were quickly resolved.
After spending an entire season and a half screaming for Airachind's blood, Arcee suddenly goes back to Thou Shalt Not Kill and simply gets Airachnid locked in a stasis pod. Furthermore, Airachnid's Insecticon army is quickly integrated into the Decepticon ranks in the same episode they became a threat.
Despite Ratchet dramatically stating that he may never be fully functional again and an episode that was part Clip Show revolving around him (seemingly as a farewell to him), Bulkhead quickly recovers from his Game-Breaking Injury a few episodes later. Similarly, his resentment of newbie Smokescreen is introduced in one episode and gone the next.
After a season and a half of build-up, MECH's Project Chimera is taken out of the picture the same episode it's introduced.
In the season premiere, Smokescreen returns to the Autobot base shortly after evacuating via Groundbridge, and finds the base destroyed. It shouldn't work this way at all: Smokescreen uses the same Groundbridge he had just used, meaning he should've returned before the blast hit, and ignores the fact that Ratchet had closed and opened the Groundbridge for his own use already. It's the mechanics of the show bending over backwards so that Smokescreen can go save Optimus.
Bumblebee and Megatron both being brought back to life despite the famous statement early on that All Deaths Are Final.
How was Raf always able to hack into government computers anyway?
Author's Saving Throw: A lot of fans were upset when Breakdown was killed off. The Japanese-exclusive comic series Unite Warriors takes strides to fix this. In the comic it's revealed that Breakdown's empty husk still continued to wander the Earth as an Energon-hungry zombie. This drew the attention of Unicron from another dimension, who resurrected Breakdown in a new body. After the events of the comic Breakdown returns to his own dimension and shares a joyful reunion with Knock Out.
Badass Decay: Starscream's badassness is at its apex (no pun intended) in the first season, possibly even the first episode which introduces him as a Hero Killer. It downplays greatly in later seasons, where his opportunistic tendencies are given more attention instead of any skill and cunning that he does actually possess.
Bumblebee gets a bit of this from time to time, as some fans feel (not entirely without reason) that he's more of a transplant of Movieverse 'Bee than a nuanced character in his own right for the sake of kid appeal, and the ungodly amount of merchandise revolving around him doesn't help this perception in the least. He did, however, lose a lot of detractors in Season 3 when he Took a Level in Badass, and was more or less Rescued from the Scrappy Heap entirely in "Deadlock" and Predacons Rising, where his awesomeness is taken Up to Eleven.
Airachnid. While there is a consensus that she is scary and that Gina Torres' performance is good, fans are split as to whether or not she's too much of an expy of Blackarachnia/Lockdown/Tarantulas, particularly when she charms an Insecticon, or controls it. To say nothing of her killing Breakdown or other potential Moral Event Horizon moments.
Wheeljack has a lot of fans, but there are some fans of the traditional crackpot engineer portrayal who are disappointed by this series' version of him.
Smokescreen is an extremely divisive character. Fans either love him or loathe him.
Going off of that, Miko's behavior in "Out of the Past." Either she's acting out of a desperate, understandable fear for Bulkhead, or she's blown her last big chance for character development and once again learned nothing.
The opening theme. A strong, awesome beginning, or boring?
The new season 3 opening has caught some flak from above opening's fans.
Breakdown's death seems to have caused a significant deal of controversy among the fanbase, with some considering it a strong moment where the show took real risks and showed that Anyone Can Die while others felt that it just wasted one of their best characters for nothing.
After "Toxicity", you either wanted Bulkhead to die after so many near deaths or you didn't. Then summaries for "Hurt" leaked and the writers were either accused of following Status Quo Is God or praised for not killing Bulk off, though admittedly more wanted the former after feeling that it was a Writer Copout.
The second season. Depending on who you ask, it either wasted too many characters and plot threads, or successfully continued Growing the Beard from the first.
In that same vein, the Orion Pax arc is, to some, a massive heap of wasted potential. To others, though, it's considered one of the high points of the series.
Optimus's revival in "Rebellion" has divided the fanbase as to whether or not this is a good decision.
The finale is a source of huge division amongst the fanbase.
The series in general. Is it a worthy addition to the franchise and at least as good as or even better than Transformers Animated, or a huge let down that looks pretty but fails to build strong story arcs and let its characters develop with any kind of weight or believability. Like most entries in the TF canon, fans seem divided on whether to Love It or Hate It which was pretty much exactly what was expected by this point.
Rik Alvarez, former Hasbro Intellectual Property Development Manager and one of the writer's of the series's Production Bible, made some comments in regards to this show and the Aligned Continuity in general, which proved controversial to say the least. He alleged that Prime had a horrendous production with too many demands coming from executives, a budget that got out of control, difficult toy sales, and not enough communication within the different people writing for the Aligned Continuity. Beast Hunters especially had a ton of rewrites, and the studio made them scrap their original plans. Some fans agree with him, as he did highlight a lot of the issues within Prime and how the Troubled Production drove the show into the ground. Others are more skeptical of his claims, especially since no one else has come forward. They see it as Alvarez having sour grapes and trying to start drama since his departure from Hasbro.
Colonel Leland "Silas" Bishop is leader of MECH, a terrorist group researching cybertronian technology. In "Operation: Breakdown", he captures Breakdown, tortures him, tries to have him vivisected, and removes one of his eyes. In "Crisscross" he allies MECH with Airachnid to get his hands on another Cybertronian, Arcee and was perfectly willing to let Airachnid kill Jack Darby, a sixteen-year old teenager, and his mother to do it; he even states a few human lives are worth it for Arcee's tech. In "The Human Factor", after his men upload him into the now-dead Breakdown's empty shell, saving his life in the process, he thanks them for that and their years of loyal service by thanking them personally and then slaughtering them. He then, taking the name CYLAS ("CYbernetic Lifeform Augmented by Symbiosis"), betrays the human race to Megatron, seeing himself as a superior being, razing a military base just to get Megatron's attention, then attempting to blow up everybody inside Raf's house (the human trio, Agent Fowler and Raf's mother).
The aforementioned Airachnid is a self-styled "ex-Decepticon" who spent her time in the Great War capturing, torturing, and slowly killing any Autobots she could find for fun. For certain victims, like Arcee, she'd go out of her way to find people they cared for and murder them before their eyes as part of her fun. After the war left Cybertron, she struck out solo to pursue a new hobby: hunting endangered and soon-to-be extinct species—or species she will make extinct—for sport and collecting grisly "trophies" of her kills. Should she find an attractive species that isn't endangered, she'll ensure that they are by the time she's done, deciding to make humans her new toys, starting with the teenage Jack Darby. Forced back into serving Megatron, Airachnid barely hides her dissatisfaction, trying to usurp control from Megatron at times. She finally breaks free when she finds an Insecticon hive, murders fellow Decepticon Breakdown along the way, and plans to use her new servants to destroy Megatron. Sadistic, merciless and terrifying while enjoying her atrocities, Airachnid is one of the worst to wear the Decepticon logo.
The wiki, of course, lampshades this in its "Thirst" article, which is a big example of it: The events of "Armada", "The Human Factor", and "Stronger, Faster" receive payoff, the third particularly after the second season seemed to quietly ignore it.
"Yowza, this would be a tough episode to start watching the series."
Just to give you an idea, there are 65 episodes in the series proper. Of those episodes, every episode in some way builds upon the last, and contributes something for future episodes (even if the contributions are absurdly small).
Crazy Awesome: Vogel. Firmly believes in the existence of mole men and other subterranean monsters, and uses his sweeper train to run over Decepticons.
Creator's Pet: Miko is loved by Polygon Pictures, the people who animate the show, and hated by a significant portion of the fandom.
Creepy Awesome: Soundwave, Megatron, Starscream, Airachnid and Predaking.
Ensemble Darkhorse: Almost any of the non-leader 'bots and 'cons seem to have their fair share of popularity. Exceptions appear to be Airachnid, Darksteel and Sky Lynx. The latter two aren't unpopular per say, they just didn't have much time for characterization.
Ratchet quickly became popular thanks to the popularity of his voice actor, hilarity of his Running Gag, and characterization as a loyal, but very flawed old veteran.
Wheeljack got some popularity for being one of the most badass characters in the series and eventually got fleshed out as a roguish, but loyal cavalier. He ended up joining the main cast in the final season.
Knock Out almost immediately became a fan favorite for his entertaining, slightly camp behavior, slick and sexy design, and quirks. It's likely why he gets a Heel–Face Turn in the Grand Finale.
Breakdown also became popular for his imposing design, respectful rivalry with Bulkhead, and several shades of Hidden Depths ranging from Benevolent Boss to the Vehicons to genuine Bash Brothers with Knock Out. His anticlimactic death early into Season 2 didn't sit well with many people.
Dreadwing due to his cool design, loving relationship with his twin brother Skyquake, his code of honor that ultimately leads him to have a Redemption Equals Death, and being the only Decepticon aside from Megatron to pose a genuine threat to Optimus. Like Breakdown, his sudden death and getting immediately forgotten was highly unpopular when it happened.
Cliffjumper, in spite of being killed off after having very little screen time. Points go to him not being a recolor of Bumblebee.
In a rather surprising twist considering the franchise'sprevious issueson the subject, the human characters are generally well-received by fans, mostly due to being well-written and having relatable/likable personalities. Jack, Raf and Agent Fowler are particularly loved by the fanbase. Jack is a down-to-Earth, sarcastic teen who many younger viewers can easily relate to. He isn't obnoxious, has a brain which he uses quite often, and has had his own fair share of crowning moments. Raf is the cute one, as well as a brainiac and partial Otaku Surrogate for more tech-minded viewers. His more child-like behavior coupled with some shades of maturity and brotherly relationship with Bumblebee has made for him being a rather enamoring character for fans. And last but not least, there's Agent Fowler, a no-nonsense, rough-and-tumble, nitty-gritty Badass Normal who can easily hold his own in a fight against a 'con, even going so far to taunt one to their face, despite the fact that he could die at the enemy's smallest whim. He doesn't take scrap from anybody and knows when people are messing with him. While he does indeed have his own humorous moments, most of the time he's a force to be reckoned with on the human's side.
Vogel, who, despite only appearing in one episode, has proven himself to be one of the show's more memorable characters.
Some small parts of the fandom from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic tried because they were angryPrime was nominated for the Emmies while their show wasn't. This backfired spectacularly as a majority of the Transfans and Brony communities get along very well, and ganged up on the transgressors.
Some fans of Transformers Animated are not very fond of Prime. Even some fans of both shows have taken sides.
Fan-Preferred Couple: By far the most popular slash pairing on the show is Knock Out/Breakdown, despite Breakdown having shown interest in Airachnid.
Oddly enough, on 4chan, the most popular pairing seems to be... Jack/Arcee.
When Starscream isn't paired up with Megatron (one of most popular pairings in the franchise) he is either paired up with Knockout or, for some fans, Steve the Vehicon.
The first season was pretty experimental in what kind of stories they were going to tell. Some felt the 5 part mini-series opener was fantastic, others disliked it for being derivative of past Transformers stories. Nearly every episode will switch back and forth from horror undertones ("Scrapheap," "Predatory") to human-centric drama ("Convoy," "Speed Metal," "Crisscross") to MacGuffin chases ("Deus Ex Machina," "Metal Attraction"). Fans would pick and choose which style or which episode they liked the most, with no real consensus. The first episode that everyone agreed on that was fantastic was "One Shall Fall" and the following "One Shall Rise" three-parter, which delves into the overall mythology and doesn't pull any punches with some shocking plot developments.
Some fans think that the second season, with its darker tone, much larger amount of twists and turns, increased focus on Optimus's past, and the story's propensity for killing off likable characters left and right make it an improvement over Season 1. Other fans... disagree. See Seasonal Rot.
The Transformers Animated version of Ratchet had a spotlight episode on his past, which involved a friend called Arcee and their little debacle involving Lockdown, a bounty hunter who essentially murders Transformers and steals their body parts as trophies. In this series, it's Arcee's time to have war flashbacks, with a villain that largely has the same kinks, except while Ratchet had the mercy of having his friend survive, albeit with no memory, Arcee's lost two of her friends, her best friend Tailgate being murdered right in front of her.
"Out of the Past" gives us two nasty knocks at already sobering events.
In "Sick Mind", Arcee is hesitant to use the psychic patch due to it being an out of body experience, but we later learn that it might stem from when Shockwave used the patch on her to strip information from her mind.
Remember how much the death of Cliffjumper scarred Arcee at the beginning of the series? Well, it turns out that he's the one who helped Arcee come out of her shell after Tailgate's death, making his death an even bigger slap in the face for Arcee. Thank Primus she found Jack soon afterward. That poor Transformer might have truly sealed herself off after that.
Ratchet becomes much more friendly to Wheeljack after the events of "Triage"... until he learns about him taking Miko along with him to enact revenge in "Hurt". "New Recruit" has him incredibly pissed off when the crew suggests getting Wheeljack's help. Fortunately, by "Darkest Hour", Ratchet seems to have put that behind him, especially given the events leading up to the Season 2 finale.
In "Operation Bumblebee Part 1", after Bumblebee gets his T-Cog stolen by MECH, the Autobots state that it can't be Megatron because even he "wouldn't be such a ghoul". Come "Alpha; Omega", he proves that he is, by grave-robbing the right arm of a deceased Prime in order to use a device that only a Prime can wield. He's had that arm ever since, at least until Optimus lopped it off.
The Japanese toyline comes with Mini-Cons called Arms Microns, and the dub of the series has "Arms Micron Theater" segments where the heroes' weapons secretly take on their Mini-Con forms and have wacky adventures while the big bots aren't looking. In the one for "Metal Attraction," three Autobot Mini-Cons formed the Star Saber, and took on the three Decepticon Mini-Cons who formed the Star Saber's Evil Counterpart, the Dark Matter Calibur, but they cockily underestimated their opponents and were knocked apart into their component Min-Cons when the two swords clashed. A whole season later, in the actual show, an Infinity +1 Sword called the Star Saber was used by Optimus. Megatron forged its evil counterpart, the Dark Star Saber, from Dark Energon. It shattered the real Star Saber in their first fight with the swords.
In the episode "Crisscross", MECH and Airachnid find (and later kidnap) June through the internet, utilizing a method that one security consultant from the firm HB Gary, and then later the NSA, would be revealed to utilize themselves.
One of Ratchet's lines from the episode "Sick Mind" got this hard when Predacons Rising rolled around.
Ratchet:I will not allow Optimus to pass knowing that Megatron will outlive him!
Heartwarming in Hindsight: Knock Out was hinted at being gay during the show's run, but given the Unfortunate Implications of a comment made at Botcon 2011, the show runners appeared hesitant to confirm him as gay. Several years later in The Transformers: Windblade, Knock Out is not only confirmed to be gay in the IDW-verse, but he's also got a Conjunx Endura in the form of a Prime-based Breakdown, who was always shipped with Knock Out during the show and was widely suspected to be more than friends with him. Now the two are an openly Official Couple, which is especially heartwarming given Breakdown's untimely death in season two.
In The Fairly OddParents!, Timmy's dad was obsessed with a cool red car in "Engine Blocked". Now, he's voicing a Transformer who becomes one.
Don't forget that he wanted to beat his neighbor up with "Mighty Fighting Robot Action!", after modifying his car no less.
In "Darkness Rising Part 1", Bulkhead smashes something which Ratchet later identifies as a tool for analysis. He laments its damage, as he is unable to examine the Dark Energon that weakened Arcee. It being broken did more for him than it would have done intact: Optimus instantly identifies its animation as being down to Dark Energon, while Ratchet had earlier not known anything about it other than it being "highly concentrated to have affected Arcee so badly".
In "Out of the Past", Arcee mentions to Cliffjumper their objective requires stealth, not chatter, which is amusing given in Transformers: Fall of Cybertron Cliffjumper was the test subject for experimental cloaking technology.
In "Metal Attraction", Arcee uses a device that strongly resembles an Omni-Tool from Mass Effect. Cue the Omega DLC in Mass Effect 3, and Arcee's voice actress Sumalee Montano now voices Nyreen Kandros, a character who uses an actual Omni-Tool.
Many in the fandom would make jokes about Megatron being part shark due to his razor sharp teeth and aggressive demeanor. His new beast hunters toy design takes this to the extreme.
In one of the Ask Megatron commercials, the big guy answers the question who is his favorite Autobot by saying his favorite is Bumblebee; the Autubot who gets to stab him dead in the last episode before Predacons Rising.
With one line, Arcee added a new layer to Bulkhead and Wheeljack's relationship.
"So, who's the boyfriend?"
Shippers had a field day when Knock Out mentioned that Breakdown helped him out with buffing his body.
A villainous one for Knock Out. He’s surprised to see Breakdown’s vital signs come back online and investigates, but is promptly treated to the sight of his former comrade being used as a puppet. It’s quite clear that he’s upset when he finds out it’s not actually Breakdown.
Thirst has a moment of this for Knock Out and Starscream. When holed up in Orion Pax's old lab aboard the Nemesis while hiding from Terrorcon Cylas, Starscream remarks to Knock Out that if this is indeed the end, he's proud to have served Lord Megatron with him. Knock Out replies that he's always admired Starscream's finish. Then there's an awkward, embarrassed pause.
Starscream: ...Well then.
Knock Out: Should be going.
HSQ: The "One Shall Fall/Rise" season 1 finale practically embodies this.Then the last few episodes of season 2 promptly upstaged it. The series finale manages to top both by not only killing a fan favourite character, but also have it turn out that Prime wasn't the hero of this story.
I Knew It!: Granted it was only a few episodes later, but fans caught on to the big gap in Smokescreen's admitted backstory and knew that some big revelation was being saved for down the line.
They've hinted that Bulkhead may die so many times (only for him to recover) that parts of the fandom have this reaction, even citing it as something of a Running Gag. There's nothing to say that he won't die later in the series, however, and "Toxicity" was perhaps the exception, given how the three month cliffhanger had everyone on the edge of their seats.
Raf's encounter with Dark Energon. TF Prime is dark, but it would never break Infant Immortality. Raf wouldn't have died, especially on screen.
Every time Prime himself was in a life-threatening situation. Given the legacy of almost every single Optimus dying and being ressurected in some form going against the promise that any character that died would stay dead (or at least not ressurected in a form that would be themselves, such as a zombie), many people wondered exactly how Optimus would survive these to continue the legacy. They eventually ended up playing with this three times; first by having Optimus lose his memory, thus effectively "dying" as a character but not actually dying, making his "ressurection" easy. The second time they actually did kill Optimus, when he was caught in the base's explosion at the end of season 2. However he stayed dead for all of about 3 seconds before the MacGuffin revived him. Then they inverted the whole thing and actually kept their promise by having Optimus merging his own spark with the Allspark, and then jumping into Primus, meaning he's about as dead as you can get at that point. Given that was the end of the series, he's not likely coming back.
Many fans had this reaction when there were rumors that Megatron would be Killed Off for Real... which just made it even more shocking when they actually went through with it. The finale film, however, ended up resurrecting him, and his existence continues.
Soundwave, a badass who manages to become The DreadedIn-Universe and out. When you keep Megatron's subordinates in line, some credit needs to go to you.
Season 1's Silas.
Starscream and Megatron both give this trope their best shot, but both sometimes fall short for different reasons.
Both, however, deserve mention for their actions in the second half of Season 3. The former managed to manipulate Predaking into almost killing Wheeljack and Ultra Magnus by getting them to wipe out the Predacon embryos, meaning that the Autobots got the blame instead of them. In any case, had the plan not worked, the Autobots would have been defeated, taking out some of their enemies and also screwing Shockwave over by not letting him know of his plan. The latter manipulates Ratchet into a temporary Enemy Mine with the prospect of reviving Cybertron, while making no effort to hide the fact that he ''will'' kill him when it is done. It works too.
Even before that, Starscream managed to ambush Smokescreen and take the third Omega Key, giving him a bargaining chip with the Autobots, then screw the Autobots over when they have the other three and use it as a way to buy his way back into the Decepticons. This was an action so cunning it made Optimus of all people flip out.
Megatron crossed the the line prior to this series and just keeps on going. Aside from instigating the very war itself back on Cybertron, he developed a cybonic plague and a bioweapon out of toxic Energon, both of which wiped out most of the Autobots (and lord knows how many innocent Cybertronians) gradually turning the entire planet into what is essentially a graveyard. On present day Earth, he shoots Bumblebee with Dark Energon, nearly killing Raf in the process. While Megatron was unaware of Raf's presence at the time, his reaction later on establishes he has no problem inflicting off-world casualties. Finally, during the climax of the final battle in "Deadlock", he fires THREE shots at Bumblebee, completely burning through the poor scout's spark chamber. The absolute glee on his face is what seals the deal for Optimus, who you can tell has decided, Megatron must die!
"Predatory" reveals that Airachnid crossed it millennia ago when she tortured Arcee and murdered Tailgate. Beyond that, we learn she's spent Primus-knows-how-many years hunting species and committing genocide. For fun. Whether this started before or after Tailgate's murder is unclear.
Silas crosses it when he works with Airachnid to kidnap June Darby and then shows he's willing to let Airachnid kill her and Jack, dismissing them as collateral damage.
In "Evolution", upon discovering Predaking's transformation, Megatron and his command staff plan the eradication of the newborn Predacon clones, before said clones are given the chance to turn on the depleted Decepticons. Starscream suggests they set it up so the Autobots would look entirely responsible and turn Predaking's anger towards them instead of his creators. Even Shockwave, the creator of the clones, is coldly in favor of the idea, though that's perfectly in keeping with his own nature: If an idea is logically sound (which Starscream's claim was), it's alright with him, be damned the morality of it.
Any time the show tries to present the Vehicons as a threat, when their aim is so poor. Fight scenes become so much less dramatic when the bad guys' shots aren't even going anywhere near the biggest team member when he's standing still.
A serious offender is a series 3 episode where Wheeljack and Arcee are surrounded... and the Vehicons just stand there while the two come up with a way out.
At the end of "Alpha; Omega", Arcee has a hammy little speech about the balance of power shifting again which comes off as trying way too hard.
The promos for upcoming episodes, particularly towards the end of the series, tended to reuse the same Little "No" and Big "NO!" from Optimus and Arcee respectively for virtually every promo. Arcee's Big "NO!" in particular got pretty annoying since it was used so often.
Near the end of Predacons Rising, Bumblebee holds off Megatron with the Polarity Gauntlet long enough for Optimus to escape with the Allspark. What would have been a tense and suspenseful scene is rendered inept when the high-pitched, whirling sound of the Polarity Gauntlet and the lack of background music make the scene unintentionally hilarious. Knock Out and Smokescreen using the tense moment to quip doesn't help.
Unicron's voice in Predacons Rising makes him sound far less threatening than the menacing growl of Megatron who he is supposed to control.
Unicron: (in Megatron's voice) Now, let us see those "mighty legions" of which you speak... (in Unicron's own voice) ... by peering directly into your mind.
Megatron declaring he learned the "true meaning of oppression" after a few hours of being possessed by Unicron. Now, Unicron may be Transformer Satan, but dude, you spent your youth being an oppressed lowly worker and this was what inspired you to become an evil warlord in the first place!
Megatron's tendency towards Fish Eyes make many of his scenes much funnier than intened. Even more so after being upgraded by Unicron where his face looks outright goofy.
Ratchet's overly dramatic way of saying "Aaahptimus"'s name can come off this way.
Even worse is Raf's attempt to emulate Ratchet late in season 3. Whereas in Animated it was endearing when Sari took a page out of Ratchet's book in loving jest, Raf is just grating.
Starscream's constant boasting about how he killed Cliffjumper falls a little flat after the dozenth time. Especially when the Autobots mow down dozens of generic goons an episode.
No Problem with Licensed Games: In a rather nice change of pace for Transformers games on Nintendo systems (which has been an issue since as early as 1986 with Transformers: Convoy no Nazo' on the Famicom), the Wii, Wii U and 3DS spinoff game for Prime is regarded as a solid beat-em-up platformer with shooter elements, being generally intuitive and emulating the style of the show perfectly (though it helps that the writers, actors and composer for the show all worked on it).
Paranoia Fuel: Soundwave. In this series, he's a voiceless, faceless character, which is creepy enough, but Starscream and the other Decepticons are terrified of him, due to the fact that he always has the ship under subtle surveillance...and it's not always the ship he's on, as he's a Scout, meaning he spies on much more than his own subordinates. The smackdown Soundwave delivers to Airachnid in the first season finale all but justifies that paranoia.
A one off instance with MECH, who use Jack's social networking page to track him down and kidnap his mother. People from both government organisations and civilian life, normally stalkers, have been doing this for years.
Starscream rejoining Megatron at the end of Season Two and replacing Dreadwing, who was killed and immediately forgotten, as The Dragon was highly polarizing. While some were interested to see Megatron and Starscream's dynamic going forward, others were bewildered that Megatron would spare Starscream over Dreadwing, a far more loyal and overall competent soldier.
Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Not a specific character, but a type of character: the humans. In fact, Silas, in "Convoy", proves that humans in this series can be as formidable and dangerous as any Cybertronian.
Smokescreen gained a lot of fans after some excellent Character development in Season 3.
A lot of people feel Bumblebee finally managed to escape his "Obligatory Movieverse Cash-In Expy" status in "Deadlock" and "Predacons Rising". Some fans insist he even manages to eclipse Movie!'Bee.
Miko, at least early on in the series, mostly due to her lack of survival instinct. After the pilot, they toned down her obnoxious behaviour and to some viewers that has redeemed her to a certain extent. Of course they haven't completely changed her character, making her more of a Base-Breaking Character.
Ironically, Miko is something of an inversion of the typical Damsel Scrappy; she's annoying because she's too much of an action freak and constantly getting into trouble out of her desire to partake in fights, whereas Raf and Jack are both far more sensible that they do not belong mixing it up amongst giant robots.
Seasonal Rot: The second season is considered the weakest of the three by a fair portion of the fanbase, with some outright hating it. Most of the seems to stem from killing off complex and/or interesting characters e.g. Breakdown and Dreadwing as well as wasted plot potentials like Bulkhead's injuries and various other plots that could have lasted longer. It also doesn't help that the second season made use of the tired treasure-hunting trope which plagued the Unicron Trilogy, where the heroes had to go hunting for the Omega Keys and generally go back-and-forth with the bad guys over a gimmick which had more than worn out its welcome from Transformers Armada to Transformers Cybertron.
Stoic Woobie: Optimus Prime. He doesn't show much emotion, and he's had a lot of bad stuff happen to him. According to Ratchet, every prime shoulders the burdens of those before him, and that Optimus was previously very much like Jack when he was Orion Pax. Poor Prime.
Suspiciously Similar Song: The score isn't done by the films' Steve Jablonsky, but is clearly meant to emulate it (as well as some elements of Hans Zimmer's and James Newton Howards' scores for the new Batman films).
It also sound quite a bit like the main theme of 2009's Star Trek.
Arcee: "Oh, well, if Miko thinks it's a good idea..."
Also in "Legacy" and "Chain of Command", wherein the latter episode she becomes a literal chew toy.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: One of the key problems with this show's level of realism is that - as in real life - War Is Hell and soldiers can go down anti-climactically. The following characters can be considered to have unused potential.
Breakdown, Hardshell, and Dreadwing are the biggest examples.
There are those who think Cliffjumper, Skyquake, and Makeshift got royally screwed, as well. The deaths of the former two, at least, play into the development of some of the characters. Also, Makeshift was killed off because his Story-Breaker Power couldn't be utilized in this manner of show without Badass Decay.
Seaspray, a Wrecker acknowledged by Bulkhead and Wheeljack, had the potential to be a cool Adaptational Badass. Yet we only see ten seconds of his ship before Dreadwing blows it up — in a flashback. At least Tailgate showed up onscreen.
MECH had a bridge dropped on it before they could have a proper climax to their storyline. Usually the toy company is responsible for such things, but they did produce the potentially toyetic Nemesis Prime and CYLAS.
Raf, partly as a result of him becoming out of being Demoted to Extra. While Jack got to become an honorary Prime, assist Smokescreen in assimilating to Earth, and grow as a leader and Miko got to become a Wrecker and master the Apex Armor, Raf was relegated to only being called on to solve computer problems. This despite the tantalizing mystery of how he understood Bumblebee, his rivalry with Soundwave, and that he was one of the few people Ratchet was willing to open up to. Admittedly, the writers said they didn't know what to do with him.
The 'Orion Pax' arc to some. The show was hyped up as revolving around the theme of what it means to be a Prime, and when Optimus lost his memories, fans predicted that the rest of the show would deal with Orion re-learning to be a strong leader and Prime. However, at the end of the arc, Orion regains his memories, and the arc has absolutely no ramifications on Optimus' character.
The arc surrounding Bulkhead and his near fatal injuries in Toxicity, mainly to those who expected him to die after the second mid-season climax.
By the end of "Thirst", Airachnid is transported to one of Cybertron's moons and is revealed to have been infected with vampirism. Nothing becomes of this.
The whole premise of the third season, Beast Hunters, where both Autobots and Decepticons worked on finding Predacon fossils and possibly bringing them back to life, led the viewer to believe that both Autobots and Decepticons would add more animal-based Transformers to their ranks, quite possibly including the Dinobots themselves. Mid-to-late season, Megatron decides to destroy all the Predacons in Shockwave's lab out of fear of Predaking seizing power one day, pretty much assuring the viewer will never see another animal-based Transformer on the show besides Predaking and making the third season's title "Beast Hunters" completely meaningless. While it is true that the movie Predacons Rising added Darksteel and Skylynx, in addition to focusing on a revived undead Predacon army, the series was practically over by then and the third season still didn't really live up to the "Beast" aspect of its name.
One of the reasons Breakdown's death is widely cited as one of, if not THE, low points of the show is that it resulted in multiple cases of this; his history/rivalry with Bulkhead went unexplained, his owing a favor to Starscream was never followed up on, and his attraction to Airachnid was sunk in the most brutal way possible.
Cliffjumper. Incredibly badass? More one-liners in a five-minute appearance than most of the other cast? Voiced by the biggest (non-voice actor) star on the show? Yeah, not going to make it. Sorry, CJ.
Skyquake and Makeshift don't make it out of theirs introductory episodes alive, bringing the total number of these to three in the first eight episodes.
Word of God even cites this trope as the reason Makeshift dies, explaining that he was going to be a recurring character but was deemed overpowered for a villain appearing so early in the series.
Unfortunate Implications: At 2011's Botcon, one of the speakers fielded a question as to whether or not Knock Out was gay. Their answer started out playful, noting Knock Out is a knockout, that the Nemesis has a strict "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Then they said that on the day Knock Out was born, there was a "glitch" in the Allspark. Yikes.
Viewer Gender Confusion: Several people thought that Soundwave was a she due to having a slender frame and high-heels like Starscream but never spoke, though the characters in-universe refer to him by masculine pronouns, and whenhetalks...
Visual Effects of Awesome: Face it, this series may have stylized character designs, and it might not be Industrial Light and Magic, but is it gorgeous to look at and thankfully averts most of the faults that most CG TV shows have (helped by the fact that the company hired for the series also did the CGI in The Sky Crawlers). Season 2 has been getting even better in terms of its backgrounds. While the backgrounds in Season 1 were still good, the Nemesis is given even more detail and there are new settings such as dockyards, prairies and even Manhattan at one point.
What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Even if it is strictly robot violence, most of the stuff they have here would have gotten a TV-14 rating if it were live-action. This is on top of all the Getting Crap Past the Radar and covering of some themes- most notably drug abuse (by virtue of Synthetic Energon) and even suicide in Predacons Rising.
Cliffjumper, all the way. Being introduced as a fun, cool and thrill-loving figther, he suddenly gets slaughtered in the most brutal and gut-wrenching way you've ever seen an Autobot die before.
Raf. This is first showcased in "Darkness Rising, Part 4", after encountering a rather harrowing battle between the Autobots and Decepticons. While similar cartoons would have kids act like Miko, Raf acts very much like how a normal kid would have in that situation: scared, confused, and withdrawn. That's not even getting into what happens to him later in the season.
Bumblebee has his Woobie moments as well, particularly during the "Operation: Bumblebee" two-parter. Fans were calling for Silas's blood after viewing the teasers.
Miko becomes this during the arc surrounding Bulkhead's injuries in the second season.
During the second season, Smokescreen makes some pretty rash decisions and is only just grasping the fact that War Is Hell. That said, the way he is chewed out, particularly by Arcee, can come across as harsh considering he is a newcomer and is genuinely apologetic for his mistakes.
Optimus had a brief moment during "Operation Bumblebee, Part 1" where Megatron taunts him for helping the Decepticon cause when Megatron had earlier taken advantage of Optimus's amnesia to find the locations of potential weapons scattered around Earth. His guilty expression as Megatron thanks him is enough to tug at the heartstrings.
Despite his extremeDraco in Leather Pants status in the fandom, Starscream of all people is this to a certain extent. Megatron is fairly abusive to the Seeker and much of his fears are actually pretty justified. For instance, when Megatron is trapped in a collapsed mine, he rightly realizes that Megatron would simply blame him for the matter, no matter what would happen. It may very well be that a lot of his behavior is simply based off a combination of "What would Megatron do?" and survival.
While Knock Out had also been the subject of Draco in Leather Pants for some time, he truly earns this status in "The Human Factor" when he imagines he'll see Breakdown again, only to find Silas gloating while merged with his best friend's corpse.
In Predacons Rising, freaking Megatron of all people becomes this owing to his torture.
Dreadwing falls into this when he finds his brother's corpse has been desecrated through his resurrection as a Dark Energon zombie, but can't do anything about it because Megatron just tells Starscream to keep quiet about it.
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Predaking. In "Evolution"; the newborn Predacon clones are eradicated due to a setup planned by the Decepticons. Predaking already felt alone in the universe, and this event all but enhances it. The fact that he's betrayed by his own creators whom he serves for the next few episodes, just compounds the tragedy of it. "Predacons Rising" throws him a bone when two new Predacons join him to defend Cybertron against Unicron. All three survive in the end.