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Friday, May 30, 2014

'Challenge of the GoBots' V1 DVD: Hanna-Barbera/Tonka Version of The Transformers

Challenge of the Gobots: The Series Volume 1 (30eps)
The Warner Archive three-disc DVD release of the first 30 episodes of the Hanna-Barbera '80s cartoon series "Challenge of the GoBots" is a real treat for fans of that animation factory and/or classic animated scifi shows.

Similar to the competing "The Transformers" franchise, this series has two warring alien races that can "transform" themselves into various vehicles bringing their conflict to earth. Both series additionally have the common element of a simple but catchy theme song.

The following scifitastic clip, courtesy of YouTube, of a scene from "GoBots" offers a savory taste of the entertainingly campy action in this awesome series; this glimpse also greatly enhances a desire to return to the '80s if time travel ever becomes widely available.


"GoBots" primarily focuses on the good aliens known as the Guardians, whom the aptly named Leader-1 commands. Protecting earth from having the evil Renegades, whom the aptly named Cy-Kill leads, is the primary mission of the Guardians. The Guardians additionally thwart lesser evil Renegade schemes, address terrestrial natural and man-made threats, and collaborate with studly Matt Hunter and his human crew with projects on which UNECOM works for the benefit of mankind. The latter includes the most advanced terraforming machine ever.

Although most episodes focus on some form of chaos on earth, some outings occur in and around the GoBot home world of Gobotron. One example is the Renegades tricking an alien with advanced technology into using his resources against the Guardians.

A typical earth-based episode revolves around the Renegades acting, such as going on a multi-target rampage as the prelude to constructing a mega-gobot,in furtherance of their plot to conquer our planet. Others bring in guest human villains, such as a mad scientist who is using his weather machine for evil and an organized crime leader, who ends up on the wrong side of both the Guardians and the Renegades.

At least two episodes wonderfully harken back to the effort in the mid-70s to make children's programming both educational and include a moral. The first has the highly annoying Guardian Scooter, who even slightly speaks like Jar Jar Binks, go power crazy when enhancements boost his weapons capability. The second revolves around the Aquaman of the Guardians learning that his special skills have value.

The final two episodes in the DVD set are entertaining variations on time-proven scifi themes. The penultimate episode has Leader-1 and Scooter transported to a parallel universe in which the Renegades are the good guys and the Guardians are evil. The next episode has a group of evil twin (sans goatee) Guardians both ruin the reputation of our heroes on earth and get them banished from the planet.

The best thing about all of the nostalgic fun in these episodes is that it whets our appetites for the inevitable Volume 2 of the "GoBots" adventures. The Renegades surely are to blame if this does not occur before the end of 2014.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Gobots" is encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.