Challenge Of The Gobots: The Original Miniseries
Warner Archives // Unrated // $19.95 // July 5, 2011
Review by Neil Lumbard | posted July 17, 2011
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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Graphical Version

wasn't the only animated robot series made during the 1980's (though it obviously might remain the most remembered stateside). Challenge of the GoBots was created in part to help coincide with the toys made by Tonka. Once again, there are two battling/contrasting sides in this cartoon series -- just like in Transformers.  The Guardians are the good guys that kids are meant to side with while the corrupt Renegades aim to take control of the entire universe (and their evil plans begin with conquering Earth)!

It's almost hard to believe that an animated program like this was even produced, but not for the reasons many might suspect. This isn't really that similar in style to Transformers or even many other action-packed series made in its time. That's not to say it lacks common threads with other shows, but this is a series with enough unique wackiness as to make it worthwhile and entertaining as well.

Challenge of the GoBots: The Original Miniseries is actually a delightfully quirky and offbeat robot series. It jump-starts the entire program with a great deal of determination and skill. The enthusiasm from the writing team and animators can seem to even leap off the screen. It seems all too clear that the creative individuals behind the show were aware that this was unique as a different approach to action-packed robot mayhem. 

This is shockingly a very unusual show (if that point hasn't already been made perfectly clear). The script-writers must have spent a lot of time thinking up rather ridiculous puns and plot-points. It's often hard to take the series all that seriously. What is rather amazing is how these are aspects of the production that end up making it such delightful fun for the entire family to watch. Many action-oriented series focus on making things dark and dreary to increase the tension and excitement that builds while this is a rare comedic approach that has more laughs than moments that scare.  

Filled to the brim with silly cartoon action that is more humorous than intense, GoBots was produced by Hanna-Barbera in 1984. The entire first season contains just five half-hour episodes but the entertainment factor seems uncommonly noteworthy and the campiness factor is extremely high. The "campy" element is what helps to make the show a pure delight in the most surprising of ways. This GoBots series would rather make an audience member laugh and smile at how weird everything happening on-screen is than simply blow stuff up repeatedly and without fail.

The animation might seem dated and that's because it is, but it only adds to the charm if viewers watch the show with the right approach - as an older cartoon series - and not as something that is supposed to be on the same level as robot action shows produced in the many years following this creation.

Any old-school fans who cherished these episodes back when they originally aired should definitely consider revisiting this program as long as the memories suggest that the show was enjoyed more for its unusual surprises than for the "action" is delivered. Challenge of the GoBots really just wants to entertain kids and adults by being an interesting and fun show and sometimes that is exactly what it takes to have a great, good ol' fashioned time.

The DVD:


The colors pop off the screen more times than I expected with this release of the original miniseries produced to introduce audiences to the Challenge of the GoBots. The packaging promotes this as being a "newly re-mastered from original film elements" release. The animation clarity delights for a great portion of the presentation. Specks of dirt are still noticeable though during many moments of the show and throughout the five episodes. Series fans should definitely still consider this presentation as pleasing. Each episode is presented in the original broadcast aspect ratio of 1.37.1 (4:3, full frame).


The original English language mono track included is not as pleasing. Dialogue sounds fine and that seems to be all one can truly hope for with some of these older television releases. There is one unfortunate concern with the audio. During certain episodes the opening titles feature a slight audio dropout at the beginning. A speaker also dubs over the title cards for when the show is back on but this audio was only included on some of the episodes. Certain episodes only display the title card and the audio appears to be missing. I wasn't able to view these when they first aired on television but this appears to be a minor audio error.  Everything else about the audio presentation is modestly pleasing.


This Made On Demand DVD release contains no bonus materials.

Final Thoughts:

Challenge of the GoBots was one of the most surprising Hanna-Barbera cartoon series ever because it was so "out there" as to actually seem more entertaining and sneakily well made as a result. The series won't appeal to everyone but this is the type of show that will appeal to viewers who can enjoy a campy action-comedy and accept the fact that the silly nature is absolutely an essential part of the series charm. This release includes the original miniseries (which contained five enjoyable episodes). One might hope that Warner Bros. will release a Made On Demand (M.O.D.) set for the rest of the series someday. Highly Recommended.

Please Note:

This release is presented as a DVD-R disc with full-color artwork and disc art in a standard DVD-sized case.

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