The Transformers (TV series)

From Fanlore
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Name: The Transformers, Transformers Generation One
Abbreviation(s): Gen One, G1
Creator: Hasbro, TakaraTomy
Date(s): September 17, 1984 -
Medium: animated TV show, film, comic books
Country of Origin: United States, Japan
External Links: Generation One franchise at TFWiki
Transformers G1 line art by Whelljeck, color by gwydion1982 (2014)
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

The Transformers was a 1984 Hasbro cartoon designed to help sell their line of collectable toys by the same name. It also includes a tie-in movie, called "The Transformers: The Movie," and some IDW comics. It is considered "generation one" (or "G1") by the Transformers fandom, and fans of this 1984 original Transformers universe may call themselves the "gen one" fandom. This should not be confused with Transformers Generation One, which is the overarching name for a shared and expanded universe of media considered to be "Gen One" in the Transformers fandom.

Though the first series in the Transformers universe includes the article "the" in front of it, later installments, such as Transformers cartoons from the 00s and the films, dropped the "the" in favor of just "Transformers."


The Transformers 1984 show tells the story of the heroic Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, waging their battle to destroy the evil Decepticons, who are led by Megatron. The two factions end up on Earth, where the Autobots attempt to make friends with and protect humanity, while Decepticons try to harm them.


The series itself has a rather straightforward continuity. The internal chronological order of the episodes, the broadcast order, and the production order do not agree on many episodes' placement, but the general fandom solution to this is to simply put the episodes in production order.

The major US sub-continuities of the original gen one universe are generally agreed upon as the Marvel Comics series which ran from 1984 to 1991, the original cartoon (1984-1987), the Beast Wars cartoon (1996-2000), the Dreamwave comics (2002-2004), and the IDW comics (2005-present), but many lesser continuities that only appeared in convention-exclusive material or less popular comic books exist. None of these agree on all points about the history and background of the Transformers universe, and they do not fit together in the same universe. This also does not line up with the Japanese Generation One sub-continuities, which include Car Robots (in its own continuity in the US), various Japan-exclusive material, and even, in one timeline, the 2007 live-action movie, which is also a separate continuity in the US.


The Transformers gen one fandom is still vocal and engaged in general Transformers fandom. It largely consists of adults, usually adult men old enough to have watched the original series when it began airing. However, the recent IDW comics and the movies have brought younger adults, teenagers, and women into the original "gen one" fandom as well. It is perhaps comparable to the fandom for My Little Pony in this: both are merchandise-driven children's cartoons of the 80s, which retained some popularity throughout the 90s and 00s until exploding in popularity in the latter half of the 00s.

When the series was airing it was very popular- popular enough to get a theatrically released movie, which is notable for horrifying many young fans who didn't expect its remarkable death toll. The deaths of many beloved and iconic characters such as Optimus Prime and Starscream caused many fans to largely ignore the existence of the show's third and fourth seasons, which are the only ones set after the movie.

By far the most popular sections of the Transformers fandom is generation one. "Transformers Generation One", an Archive of Our Own meta-tag, which also cover other shows considered "gen one" besides just the show, applies to slightly more than half of all AO3-published Transformers fanworks. Then, the "G1" world filter is the single largest segment on Within the "Generation One" meta-tag on AO3, the most common specific fandom tag is for the IDW comics, although several thousand stories have no more specific fandom tags and are set in just the original cartoon's universe.

Characters and Pairings

The most popular character to write is Starscream, the treacherous and ambitious Decepticon second-in-command. He is shortly followed by Prowl, the Autobot second-in-command; Prowl bears little personality resemblance to Starscream, being cold and logical. Distantly, Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots, Megatron, leader of the Decepticons, and Ratchet, the Autobot medic, follow.

The most common pairing in the fandom according to AO3's tags, more than twice as popular as the next most popular pairing, is Jazz/Prowl. Most of the appeal of this seems to be with their opposing personalities, as they have surprisingly little canon interaction. The next most popular pairings are Skyfire/Starscream, which derives the vast majority of its popularity from the original TV series, as it's the only one Skyfire has a major role in. Then there is Megatron/Starscream, which is more popular in the Transformers: Prime fandom but which got its start in their antagonistic relationship within the 1984 TV series. Within the IDW fandom, Chromedome/Rewind, a canon gay couple, is an extremely popular pairing, but this is not generally considered a gen one pairing as their relationship only occurred in the 10s.

Many fans on AO3 do not distinguish between "gen one" and the 1984 series in their tags, and the entire franchise is a single world filter on, so there's no way to find exact numbers on how much fanfic exists for the series, but it appears to be the most popular series to create fanworks for.