Season 1 Episode 1

More Than Meets the Eye (1)

Aired Weekdays 8:00 PM Sep 17, 1984 on ABC Family
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Episode Summary

More Than Meets the Eye (1)
Constant war between the Autobots and the Decepticons on Cybertron has caused great hardship. Both need supplies, and select numbers from each side and intend to get them. The Autobots weren't looking for a fight with the Decepticons, but they get one out in space anyway. When the Decepitcons board the Autobots' ship it takes a beating and crashes onto Primitive Earth and knocks everyone unconscious. Millions of years later, in 1984 a volcano eruption causes a probe to give them all new forms which come from vehicles in the surrounding area. They all get awoken- leading to a renewed conflict and the inclusion of humans.moreless

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  • Nostalgic.

    I was barely five years old when the show debuted, so seeing it again, twenty three years later, was wonderful. I can't wait to get my little boy/girl hooked on the series. Peter Cullen and Frank Welker are the reason I've loved the TFs for so long; their characterizations of OP and M are masterful. Hearing Soundwave, in all his pitch-deficient glory , is always a good thing.
  • The energy-starved Transformers travel from Cybertron to Earth and bring the war between the Autobots and Decepticons with them.

    As far as pilot episodes go, this was by far the best one out of the crop of new cartoons that debuted around this time (The Thundercats pilot which aired 4 months after this ripped off several elements from it). Right off the bat the show featured great plot elements, excellent music, strong character development for several of the Transformers on each side, and great animation (with plenty of noticeable flubs but we can overlook that). The plot was unique and imaginative with a planet controlled by sentient robots, dying of energy starvation, forcing the warring factions of the planet to seek new energy sources or risk losing everything. 10 years after the energy crisis in America, dare I say that the writers may be trying to send a message? As most of the episodes are morality plays in some way, shape or form, I would have to say that this is their message and becomes a running theme, especially throughout the first season of the show.

    With some bad dialogue especially during the fight scenes, having good music is key to counteracting some of that stupidity, and Transformers has some of the best cartoon music of the era, if not the best. Especially good is the music usually associated with Cybertron, and also the crescendo-filled battle music that fills each of their missions with urgency. It is definitely ridiculous to give an oration before blowing your enemies away, giving them time to protect themselves, but hey, it's a cartoon.

    Character development isn't always a strong point for cartoons, but they managed to squeeze quite a bit into the first 30 minutes. As my name suggests, my favorite character is Soundwave for being the evil Intelligence Officer. He is truly Megatron's right-hand man unlike the traitorous Starscream whose true colors we get to see early on as well. The powerful leadership styles of Prime and Megatron are showcased early-on and lay a great base for things to come. Bumblebee is developed as well which is incredibly important as his relationship with Spike Witwicky is a key element in the series.

    The animation from Toei Studios was inventive in its design, but flawed in its execution. The change from Cybertronian to Earth technology as a basis for their transformations was well done and all of the designs were fantastic (they had to sell toys, right?). Many mistakes can be seen, however, especially in the Rhino DVD release of the series. Still this is a minor point when compared with the reasons people love Transformers in the first place.

    All in all, a great start to a great series.moreless
  • The start of the Transformers war in the Earth.

    This was a pilot episode, so you can see the Autobots flying (but they can´t go as fast as the Decepticons). The episodes stars on Cibertron, the homeworld of the Transformers that has lost his energy in the war of the Autobots against the Decepticons, with the Autobots preparing an space travel to find energon in other worlds. Durin the travel, the Decepticons boards the Autobots ship,and during the battle, they lost the control of the ship and it crashes in the prehistoric earth. 4 millions years later, an eruption of a volcano starts up the Telatraan-1 (the ship ¨brain¨), who starts to fix up the transformers, first the Decepticons and later the Autobots. The Decepticons attack an oil reffinery, but the Autobots arrives to stop them. In the battle, the reffinery blows up and Optimus Prime has to save Spike and Sparkplug.moreless
  • We are introduced to the Transformers and learn of their beginnings on Earth.

    This being the pilot episode, a lot of time is spent on learning who the characters are and of their battle with each other. It is a classic episode of good versus evil as we see the Autobots (good)and Decepticons (evil)revived and "rebuilt" with parts of equipment from earth machines. We also see Cybertron, the origin planet of the Transformers. Many of the voices in the episode are familiar to TV buffs as we hear some of the same actors from other animated classics.moreless
Scatman Crothers

Scatman Crothers


Peter Cullen

Peter Cullen

Optimus Prime / Iron Hide / Slugslinger / Wingspan / Streetwise

Corey Burton

Corey Burton

Spike Witwicky, Brawn, Shockwave, Sunstreaker, Wideload

Frank Welker

Frank Welker

Megatron / Galvatron / Soundwave / Wheelie / Rumble / Mirage / Blades / Chromedome / Frenzy / Groove / Mixmaster / Skywarp / Slu

Casey Kasem

Casey Kasem

Cliff Jumper / Telatran-1 / Bluestreak / Dr. Archeville

Christopher Collins

Christopher Collins

Starscream / Wheeljack / Defensor / Reflector / Sparkplug Witwicky

Peter Cullen

Peter Cullen

voice of Joe

Recurring Role

Corey Burton

Corey Burton

voice of Joe's Passenger

Recurring Role

Frank Welker

Frank Welker

voice of Oil Rig Worker

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (12)

    • The Transformers pilot is the only time when Autobots can all be seen to be flying as could the Decepticons. In Return of Optimus Prime, Part 2" Galvatron stated that Autobots could not fly.

      Edit: There was an episode where the Dinobots fly to Dinobot Island.

    • If Shockwave, various other Decepticons (including - Three unnamed seekers, one later named Sunstorm, the other two unknown - Ep: Divide and Conquer) and the Autobots (Female Autobots: Chromia, Firestar, Moonracer, Elita-One. Male Autobots: Alpha Trion) were all on Cybertron four Million years after attempts were made to obtain a fresh supply of Energon - Otherwise "no-one is going to win this war" - Optimus Prime, then how did the Autobots and Decepticons On Cybertron still function for so long without a power source? If they had enough Energon to keep going long enough to establish contact on Earth then what was the point in the desperate mission to find fuel if they had four million years to find other options? Personally, I prefer the comic book explanation where a meteor storm threatened Cybertron, forcing the Ark to be launched. It certainly seems more plausable in retrospect.

    • How come none of the Autobots on Cybertron have noticed that lamp post (Soundwave) is one moment there and one moment is missing?

    • When the Decepticons board the Autobot ship And Optimus said "Autobots, prepare for battle!" The same scene happens but you hear Megatron's voice saying "Attack, Attack!"

    • Bumblebee is standing next to Hound when Optimus discusses the situation. When Hound says, "Just, turn me loose Prime, I'll sniff em out!" Cliffjumper is standing next to Hound.

    • When Bumblebee gets out of Wheeljack, he shoots to the right. Why is he shooting that way? The Decepticons are in front of him.

    • Starscream says, "Autobots! Stop them!" in a different voice.

    • Before, Skywarp shoots some kind of flame ring at Bumblebee and Wheeljack, Starscream (standing behind Skywarp and Thundercracker) is yellow.

    • At one point, you can see two Soundwaves' fighting the autobots in the Ark.

    • Not every Autobot that appears on Earth is seen on the shuttle e.g Brawn, Huffer or Windcharger.

    • When Jazz organizes a battle unit, he calls the following names: "Prowl, Trailbreaker, Wheeljack, Ironhide, Mirage, Sunstreaker, Sideswipe." 1)Cliffjumpers name isn't mentioned when he's seen transforming next to Prowl, 2)Ratchet's name isn't mentioned but is seen next to Sunstreaker 3) More Autobots appear when they arrive at the oil rig e.g Huffer, Bluestreak, Brawn.

      This is the only time that Jazz displays authority over the autobots ahead of Ironhide. In the episodes after the pilot, Ironhide is effective second-in-command. Also, in the comics, Prowl is supposed to be second in command.

    • The Autobots are driving to find the Decepticons at first, but then they are flying. Plus, how do the Autobots know where the Decepticons are? Did they have a massive search until they found them at the oil rig?

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Skywarp: Megatron, my leader! We are alive, again.

    • Narrator: Many millions of years ago on the planet Cybertron life existed but not life as we know it today. Intelligent robots that could think and feel inhabited the city's. They were called Autobots and Decepticons. But the brutal Decepticons were driven by a single goal: total domination. They set out to destroy the peace loving Autobots and a war between the forces of good and evil raged across Cybertron. Devastating all in its path draining the planets once rich sources of energy. The Autobots on the verge of extinction battled valiantly to survive.

    • Cliffjumper: I'm sorry, Hound. It's my fault. I shouldn't have fired on Megatron.
      Hound: (laughing in pain) You shouldn't have missed you mean.

    • (Under Decepticon fire)
      Bumblebee: Prime told me there'd be days like this.
      Wheeljack: And you didn't believe him?

  • NOTES (7)

    • The name of Ravage is changed in the sud-American audio by "Destructor".

    • In their vehicle mode, in Cybertron, the Transformers are futuristic vehicles and in the Earth are normal vehicles, but they have always the same body in robot mode. This is probably that Telatraan-1 use it to find the better vehicles in their vehicle mode without changing the constitution of their robot mode ( in example: Optimus Prime in an 18 wheeler, Starscream in an F-15, Ironhide in a van,etc).

    • Japanese Title: The Road to Earth

    • Shockwave is one of the most underutilized Decepticons in the entire series. In the comics (and the toy line), Shockwave is a cold, calculating war machine, who's destructive capability is limited only by his logical, emotionless thinking. His ambition is to be the Decepticon leader, only because logic dictates that his dispassionate, logical approach would be better suited to lead the Decepticons than Megatron.

      With Transformers only being a half hour show (and it was mostly to show the toys' transforming capabilities), there wasn't much room for character development, and one would think that the level of in-rank treachery had been filled already by Starscream, leaving Shockwave as nothing more than a minor character than a destructive equal of Megatron.

    • Also the first appearance of Spike Witwicky and his father Sparkplug.

    • In the scene where the Autobots arrive to recover Hound, an Autobot similar to Grapple makes his only appearance in the first season. He never speaks and stays in vehicle mode. His vehicular mode is slightly different to Grapple's and Cliffjumper refers to him as "Hauler".

      Since "Hauler" doesn't speak, transform, nor does he have an Autobot symbol anywhere visible, it's entirely possible that "Hauler" may be just a non-sentient, maintenance drone or tool, just like Soundwave's Autoscout cassette (which is a non-sentient drone for dangerous jobs) which was used in the episode A Prime Problem. This is probably why we never see Hauler again, especially during the big battle in part 3 where all the Autobots are attacking the Decepticon launch site.

    • First appearance of Bluestreak, Brawn, Bumblebee, Cliffjumper, Gears, Hound, Huffer, Ironhide, Jazz, Laserbeak, Megatron, Mirage, Optimus Prime, Prowl, Ratchet, Ravage, Reflector, Rumble, Shockwave, Sideswipe, Skywarp, Soundwave, Starscream, Sunstreaker, Thundercracker, Trailbreaker, Wheeljack and Windcharger.