THE CARTOON DOSSIER
INTRODUCTION

Scene from MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE - PART 1

Autobot and Decepticon spaceships lose control and fall to Earth in the first part of the series pilot, MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE. (Prod. 4023)

THE CARTOON DOSSIER aspires to be the most extensive on-line reference guide to a television show that not only captured the hearts of the young in the 1980s, but has continued to appeal to people all the world over more than 20 years after its debut on American television. The fact that this series continues to attract new fans long after its demise speaks volumes for its sophistication, and there is no doubt that it had a special and undefinable quality that other successful animated shows of its day, such as G.I. JOE, VOLTRON: DEFENDER OF THE UNIVERSE, and MASK, seemed to lack. THE TRANSFORMERS was, of course, never intended for detailed scrutiny, but nevertheless, THE CARTOON DOSSIER places the series under the looking glass in an endeavour to put into perspective its impact, both in terms of individual installments and entire seasons. Included is everything that was created for American viewers -- THE TRANSFORMERS - THE MOVIE being no exception. A staggering total of 98 episodes -- multi-part episodes separately counted -- made the rounds in syndication on independent U.S. TV stations between the fall of 1984 and the fall of 1987, and the show was subsequently purchased for broadcast by many other territories, notably Europe and Japan. So what is the elusive element that keeps people of all ages coming back to this classic television series? Where did it get its staying power? The answer may or may not be found in this guide.

Scene from BLASTER BLUES

The neverending iconic struggle of Autobot commander Optimus Prime and his nemesis, Megatron, as seen in BLASTER BLUES. (Prod. 700-38)

The beginning of the many features of THE CARTOON DOSSIER is a healthy helping of capsule essays -- 14 in all -- that itemize both the visual and narrative content of the series as its seasons progress. The essays are presented as objectively as the author is able to view his all-time favourite animated series, and whether you as a reader are a "veteran" of the cartoon or just beginning to find your feet within the corridors of its lore, perhaps these points of view will broaden your outlook on the series in a positive manner. The essays can of course be taken into consideration or entirely left alone, though taking a longer look at the series than you might have done before could turn out to be a surprisingly enlightening experience for you. The author has, by putting his observations into words, acquired a better understanding of exactly what it is that sets apart the episodes contained within each season and what it is that binds them together. If you choose to embrace the essays, may they be of equal value to you. In order to showcase better the show's development on various levels, the decision was made, with one exception, to examine the episodes in groups of eight for the Pre-Movie material -- SEASON ONE's 16 chapters and SEASON TWO's 49 installments. Groups of six were assembled for the Post-Movie era, which covers SEASON THREE's 30 episodes. That leaves SEASON FOUR's group of just three episodes, which are assembled on their own.

Scene from THE BURDEN HARDEST TO BEAR

Modern-day Autobot leader Rodimus Prime holds the leadership Matrix, the soul of his race, in THE BURDEN HARDEST TO BEAR. (Prod. 700-114)

More than any other part of this site, THE CARTOON DOSSIER is always experiencing changes and receiving upgrades in a process that does not promise to end in the foreseeable future. Beyond the capsule essays are many more elements, which include succinct and true plot summaries, a generous selection of important screen images from every single episode, and exhaustive cast lists that enumerate every character, from the most pivotal to even the slightest of cameo appearances, and contain voice actor credits whenever they are determinable. In addition to that, complete and true episode transcripts are in constant progress, with dialogue for all of the Pre-Movie and Post-Movie episodes and the feature already transcribed in typical script fashion. If those attributes should fail to sate your desire for information, you might find the many different assortments of trivia, the faithfully rendered credit listings, the meticulous examinations of every single character and voice actor, and the guide to the show's staff and many writers to be of interest. You are warmly invited to keep checking back and following the development of the guide as it continues its nostalgic quest toward completion. It is hoped that you as a reader will find things here to engage your mind, whether your interest lies in gaining a new perspective on the TRANSFORMERS "mythology" or simply lies in dusting off some of those old and neglected -- but still just a little bit magical -- memories.