ROBOT DINOSAURS! is there any better two word combination? While not one of the very first wave of the Transformers it was one of the first after the initial wave and have proved so popular they are to this day still fan favourites. Be it homages from the Beast Era, or the modern versions giving them the combined form Volcanicus. Let’s look at their first appearance in the cartoon (as the comics would involve a whole lot of backstory into Marvel).
One of the episodes of Season 1 of Transformers, it’s also the first episode to introduce new characters, unlike season 2 which would often just have new characters appear with no explanation of who they were or how they got there.
The story opens with the Autobots base having been experiencing some seismic activity (and given they are in a volcano that’s to be expected… it’s what woke them up in the first place remember) this opens up a passageway filled with dinosaur bones, so they go to a museum and get some scans deciding to build robot dinosaurs. BUT in one of the dumbest parts of Transformers thinking (and this is an episode with a very memorable Starscream moment so that says a lot) they decide to build them with primitive brains….. So they run amok cause a bunch of damage and Optimus says they must be destroyed upsetting Wheeljack who built them (because Perceptor hadn’t been made yet).
Meanwhile the Decepticons plan to take over a dam, and since the Autobots are a bit winded from the fight to bring the Dinobots back under control (at least that’s what I’m assuming causes them to be captured) they get captured and are going to be killed.
Wheeljack fortunately disobeyed Optimus Prime’s orders and instead made new improved brains for the Dinobots and they get sent out to save the day and become long standing members of the franchise.
The episode is a classic for both good and bad reasons. For one it’s the first appearance of the Dinobots be it only Grimlock Sludge and Slag (whose name will later be changed for anyone who is reading in the UK can guess why), meaning it’s the big show off for them (they get more). But on the bad elements, for one it’s a part that’s listed in the grand confusion of how Transformers are made, forgivable as its the start of the series and lore hadn’t been ironed out… But also for characters doing stupid and hilarious things and very noticeable animation errors such as Optimus being all blue while tied up. But we can’t be mad at Megatron falling down once and Starscream instantly declaring himself leader of the Decepticons (yes this is the episode that line comes from)
Admittedly I’ve long had to come to terms with the animated series though still a classic containing lots of animation errors or very goofy bits of questionable actions so the issues aren’t as much a problem for me as a short bit of comedy.
For anyone who has only seen the most recent Transformers series (which is currently at time of writing Cyberverse with Earthspark yet to come out) and has seen Grimlock or the rest of the Dinobots this is one to see for their first appearance. But for other people who have seen G1 its interesting watching it for their creation in story and how much that element will change in the show itself.