Netflix Pick of the Week: Geeky Double Feature

A lot has been added to Netflix in the past couple of days. My list has been flooded with new titles that I am excited to watch. The two shows I was most looking forward to watching are Umbrella Academy Season 2 and Transformers: War for Cybertron. It was easy to binge all six episodes of Transformers when it was released on Thursday, and then Mark and I spent the next four days watching Umbrella Academy every chance we got. It’s been a good weekend.

Transformers: War for Cybertron Chapter 1 Created by James Barbatano and Drew Hopper – Action, Animation, Sci-fi: Set as a prequel to the original series, this show looks at what happened on Cybertron during the war between the Autobots and the Decepticons. Both sides race to find the AllSpark, a powerful Cybertronian artifact, as the Decepticons want to weaponize it and the Autobots want to keep this from happening.

Pros: Much like the original show, War for Cybertron seems to try to cram in as many characters as possible. Many of these Cybertronians appear for only one episode, but it is still great to see so many Transformers in this show (compared to other Transformers adaptations that feature only a handful of characters). I especially liked how there was a bit more focus on female characters in this show. There are far more male Cybertronians than there are female ones, but at least this particular adaptation makes an effort to show case as many of the female Transformers as possible.

img_0669(Decepti)Cons: Although Mark is a die-hard fan and the one who got me into Transformers, he had a hard time watching this one. He wasn’t a fan of the characterization of some of the main characters as their new personalities and traits just seem really off base. Although I had a few issues with this, it didn’t bother me too much. My biggest annoyance was the visual representation of some of these characters. For the most part, the animation and visual style of the show is pretty good, but there were still a few small details that bugged me. The biggest annoyance? Megatron and Bumblebee’s lips! I’m sure that by now, many Transformers fans have already come across memes roasting the look of Megatron’s disturbingly luscious lips.

Final Thoughts: Although the story wasn’t what I was expecting in some areas, and the characterization wasn’t always what I was hoping for, it wasn’t that bad. This is far from being my favourite Transformers adaptation/spin-off, but it’s not my least favourite either. I’ll absolutely watch the rest of the trilogy when it comes to Netflix.

Bonus: Season 2 of Transformers: Rescue Bots Academy also came to Netflix this weekend! It’s definitely nowhere near as good as the original Rescue Bots series, but this spin-off series is still pretty cute. And Season 2 is even better than Season 1. As a kids show, it’s a little heavy handed with the morals/lessons, but it’s a fun watch. Plus, there are more cameos by other Cybertronians in this season compared to the previous one. My top three favourite Autobots – Ratchet, Grimlock, and Perceptor – even become regular guests!

img_0672Umbrella Academy, Season 2 Created by Steve Blackman and Jeremy Slater – Action, Adventure, Comedy: Following the events of Season 1, and loosely based on the comic Dallas, the Hargreeves siblings are once again trying to prevent the apocalypse. This time, however, they are lost in the timeline and living in Dallas, Texas in the 1960s. To complicate matters even further, the events leading up to the apocalypse seemed to be intertwined with the assassination of President Kennedy.

Pros: Once again, the music is on point. The songs and soundtracks have been impeccably selected to highlight and emphasize the actions on screen.  Overall, I think Season 1 was the stronger of the two, but Season 2 still has a funny and well-crafted story. Plus, I really liked how the historical moments of that time period were integrated into the plot; it made for some intense and interesting episodes. And I really appreciated that Ben got a little more screen time and appeared to be more useful than he was in Season 1, even if he did become a bit of a deus ex machina. But I think my favourite thing from Season 2 would have to be the costumes. Era appropriate attire aside, there were some phenomenal outfits in this show.

Cons: Although I was thrilled to see A.J. was finally a character in the show, I was a little disappointed with how little he appeared. I really liked him in the comic books, so when I saw him in the trailer I was hoping for more. And even though the Swedes were still formidable assassins, I prefer Hazel and Cha-Cha. In terms of the story, it makes sense not to have the same Commission thugs for both seasons, but I really did miss Hazel and Cha-Cha’s antics.

Final Thoughts: With all of the little details that come together, and the potential for paradoxes along the way, I love how this show makes you think and theorize. Mark and I kept having to pause some episodes so we could discuss our theories of how everything was going to play out. And based on what little new information we learned about Sir Hargreeves, in addition to the way Season 2 ended, I have so many unanswered questions to mull over while I wait for Season 3. Seriously, I need Season 3 now.

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