Talk:Challenge of the GoBots (cartoon)

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Lost on Gobotron[edit]

Obviously any attempt to put this show in order is a conjectural one, but I have to disagree with this analysis of "Lost on Gobotron," at least as far as including it on this article as a clear example of discontinuity goes. There's no concrete statement that it's the humans' first visit to Gobotron, and Cy-Kill isn't captured or anything, he just isn't shown with a "retreat" scene. Beyond that, though, the fundamental problem is an out-of-unvierse one - the series simply would not begin with a single episode and then a five-part miniseries, because then the mini-series wouldn't run Monday-to-Friday, which is the whole point of it being five parts. It can't have been made with the intent it be viewed this way. - Chris McFeely (talk) 19:12, 10 January 2017 (UTC)

I understand what you're saying, but allow me to explain where I'm coming from. Back when I first got the cartoon DVDs, I went through and watched the series in the order that Jim originally wrote on the AVP post (in which both "Lost on Gobotron" and "Doppelganger" were in their original broadcast placements instead of where they are in the current version of the AVP episode order). While watching the series in that order, it felt like everything flowed well enough to make that episode order work.
That is, until I got to "Lost on Gobotron", in which there were things that had me doing a double-take on its placement as episode 23 (in the AVP order, broadcast order had it as episode 18). At the start of the episode, as the Guardians are bringing the three humans to Gobotron, everyone acts like it's the humans' first visit to Gobotron, with Scooter, A.J., and Nick all excited about it when they've never before express such enthusiasm for Gobotron in any previous episodes that saw the humans on Gobotron. And when they arrive on the planet, Scooter starts pointing out landmarks and showing the humans around several places in a manner that's usually attributed to when a host has first-time guests visiting a new place that they've never been to before but which the host is very familiar with. It's very weird to think that Scooter would only be exhibiting kind of welcoming behavior at a point after the humans would have already been to Gobotron before, and not on their first visit, especially when the humans are presented as being in awe and wonderment over everything Scooter shows them.
Additionally, in the episode's beginning when A.J. sees Gobotron on the Command Center's monitor, she inquires about the planet's unique apple core-like shape as though it's her first time having seen what the planet looks like. This bit of dialogue between her and Leader-1 about the planet feels a lot like the kind of exposition that's not only meant to familiarize Matt/Nick/A.J. with the planet, but the viewers at home as well. What's more is that placing this episode at any point after the Gobotron Saga puts her asking about the planet's shape in an awkward light with how the Gobotron Saga already revealed how the planet originally got its shape.
It really felt to me like this was an earlier-set story with humans' coming to Gobotron for the first time, and the episode's beginning felt almost like a spiritual follow up to the end of "The Final Conflict" in a vein similar to how "The Gambler" followed "Child's Play" in the G1 Transformers cartoon (only, in this case, Anya isn't aboard the Command Center and the humans are going to Gobotron for a peace conference instead of helping the Guardians hunt down Cy-Kill). But speaking of the peace conference, that itself also feels like part of an early means to forge the alliance between Gobotron and Earth that the two planets have following the first mini-series pilot, which is never seen being formally established in any episodes after the pilot. From a narrative standpoint, the notion that the humans have to go to Gobotron to sign a treaty that will establish peace between Gobotron and Earth (and other planets represented in the conference) feels really odd when the show had already made it clear post-pilot episodes that Earth and Gobotron are unambiguously in a UNECOM/Guardian military alliance, meaning that there should already be a formal state of peace between the two planets. Were this episode to come right after the pilot, however, the representation of Earth in the peace conference would make much more sense in the context of the conference being part of the establishment of UNECOM's alliance with Gobotron's Guardian-ruled Federation.
Granted, it isn't a completely perfect and flawless fit. Like you said, it throws off the syndication broadcast pattern (even though the production order of the episodes shows that even the first part of the Gobotron Saga was not produced until after 23 other episodes after the pilot had already been produced; and interestingly, "Lost on Gobotron" was produced only two episodes after "Cy-Kill's Escape" was, but I digress). And the fact that the beginning of the episode isn't quite a 100% exact match for how "The Final Conflict" ended (with, as I said, Anya absent and the heroes not going after Cy-Kill). But looking at "Lost on Gobotron" from an in-universe perspective, there really doesn't seem to be any other placement for this episode to fit into without it feeling out of place, for all of the reasons given above. And it certainly can fit in between the two five-parters (the only episode that can, actually) about as well as "Cy-Kill's Escape" can fit right after "The Final Conflict".
As Cy-Kill is never shown to be captured onscreen, we are forced to assume that he was captured at some point offscreen between the two episodes in order for "Cy-Kill's Escape" to work with "The Final Conflict". With "Lost on Gobotron" at the very least presenting Cy-Kill without any of his usual allies, that leaves an opening for this episode to slot in between the two five-parters without contradicting the statuses of Cy-Kill, Crasher, Cop-Tur, Fitor, Tank, etc. in both the end of "The Final Conflict" and the beginning of "Cy-Kill's Escape". And with Cy-Kill having no retreat seen in the episode (the last he's seen in the episode is when a wall falls on top of him), I feel that Cy-Kill's fate is ambiguous enough for his unseen capture prior to "Cy-Kill's Escape" to have still been able to occur. Like how we'd have to assume that Cy-Kill was captured offscreen in the order of "The Final Conflict" --> "Cy-Kill's Escape", we'd instead have to assume that Cy-Kill fled to Old Gobotron before his offscreen capture in the new order of "The Final Conflict" --> "Lost on Gobotron" --> "Cy-Kill's Escape". Either way, Cy-Kill's capture still ends up occurring during offscreen events set between the episodes (events that can be filled in by Jim's "The Long Game" story in either order), with the only difference made to his unseen capture by placing "Lost on Gobotron" between the two five-parters just being the addition of one more adventure taking place prior to the capture.
And then there's the issue with Earth and Gobotron already being official allies in all episodes after the pilot (the Gobotron Saga included included) while the pilot itself ends with humanity still mostly in the dark about the GoBots and in no established alliance with the Guardians whatsoever. As mentioned above, placing "Lost on Gobotron" in between the two five-parters would enable the peace conference between Earth and Gobotron to at least give the impression of being a stepping stone in Earth and Gobotron establishing the good relations between each other that would lead to the UNECOM/Guardian alliance, even if it still remains not stated outright.
I believe that's every point I have in favor of placing "Lost on Gobotron" between the two five-parters, and now leave them for you to consider. --Sabrblade (talk) 23:34, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
I get you. It's certainly an "early"-feeling episode, and these are all totally believable, circumstantial reasons it could fit into that spot. These plot elements are vague and non-committal enough (the treaty, for instance, is not explained; it could just as easily be said that the already-allied Earth and Gobotron are signing a treaty with other planets) that you can retroactively use them as justification to place it there without obvious in-universe conflicts - and I think that's absolutely something that will be worth mentioning on the episode's article, if only to point out the discontinuity - but by the simple nature of how 1980s weekday syndicated children's programming worked, it can't have been produced with that intent, and I think that's the only thing that matters when trying to put together the best possible "intended" viewing order. Otherwise we wind up in "pushing all the Small Foot episodes to the end of the series" territory. - Chris McFeely (talk) 01:32, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
I think figuring out what order they were conceived in is pretty much a lost cause at this point (early conceived episodes may have been held up in production, multiparters expanded or contracted, etc). The best we can do is come up with a viewing order that makes as much narrative sense as possible.--Khajidha (talk) 01:49, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
Oh, I agree, it's impossible to figure out the "intended" order in the broad sense, because most episodes have nothing to do with one another, so there's nothing to judge by. It's just in this particular instance, there's no way that episode was meant to come first. It can be moved, but so can most episodes - I think Sabr will agree, we don't want to go with Counter-X's preference for massively reorganizing the series just to move all the Small Foot episodes to the end just because we can. Not unlike how TFWiki doesn't abide by any of the big, arbitrary restructurings of Transformers G1 season 3 the various DVDs used. - Chris McFeely (talk) 01:57, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
Oh, definitely! I don't see any reason to move any of Small Foot's episodes around (besides "Doppelganger", which has to come earlier since that episode treats Small Foot as a mere rookie who lacks experience in fighting the Renegades, but which must come after "Cy-Kill's Cataclysmic Trap" since that episode deals with the revelation of Snoop being a Renegade while she is a fully-known Renegade in "Doppelganger"). Counter-X's grouping Small Foot's episodes was a neat idea, but wholly unnecessary and could just as well have been done for any recurring GoBot character. --Sabrblade (talk) 02:14, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
(Incidentally, do we have a full production number list for the series? That'll be useful for wiki purposes.) - Chris McFeely (talk) 01:44, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
I feel I must clarify that I wasn't trying to suggest that the episode is "meant" to go in between the two mini-series in a 1980s syndicated broadcast sense, but rather suggesting that it "ought to be" watched in that placement in a purely home-media-watching sense. As in, not from the viewpoint of a network executive deciding how to air the episodes on television, but from the viewpoint of a one who simply wishes to piece together the most coherent chronology that one could possibly reach for these episodes, without regards to syndication since the show is long since no longer broadcast on television. The most that could be achieved from this suggested order, at least as far as this Wiki is concerned, would simply be for the episode's events to be covered on the character pages in between the coverage of the events of the two mini-series. That much, I feel, could be doable if we're going to forgo broadcast order for the certain episodes that definitely should be covered on the character pages in a more continuity conscious order (I mean, we are going to put the events of "Mission: Gobotron" at the end of everyone cartoon section, right?).
If all this is simply about the little note I added about "Lost on Gobotron" on this page, that could be removed if you did intend for this page to be written from a syndication perspective.
As for the production order, Jim sent me a list of the episodes with their original titles included, so I can help you out with that. --Sabrblade (talk) 02:01, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
No issues, this is a discussion it's very good to have now so we know how best to approach fiction sections going forward! I definitely think we should have a separate article or sub-article that puts the episodes in the "story order" we're going to use, with explanations for what we've re-ordered and why we've re-ordered it. As I said on the AllSpark, some of the choices on the AVP list confuse me so I need to hear more! I just don't think - as I said to Khadja above - that we should move things because we can, only when we absolutely have to - I'm a big proponent of sticking as close the original as possible, rather than pulling a Counter-X and coming up with personal-preference reasons to move things around. (The way I keep mentioning it sounds like I'm ragging on Counter-X but I'm not.) The phrase "recommending reading/viewing order" always sends a shiver down me! - Chris McFeely (talk)
Indeed! Some of the things in the AVP order confused me as well. I've asked Jim about some of his decisions and most of them merely amounted to either giving some breathing room between two-parters or to make Braxis's episodes have something of a coherent order. Though, the placement of "Lost on Gobotron" and the moving up of "Doppelganger" were my recommendations (as both were originally in their broadcast order placements when the AVP list was originally posted). --Sabrblade (talk) 02:22, 11 January 2017 (UTC)

Basically, I don't think that a "best possible intended viewing order" can possibly exist beyond the airdate order. Even the Gobotron mini-series, which is generally considered to be a sort of ideal S2 premier, almost certainly wasn't intended as such. It was neither aired nor produced anywhere near the beginning of the season. And, while it does give origins for characters and concepts who appear earlier, it also has direct connections to several episodes that were produced and aired right at the end of the series, notably Quest for New Earth which functions as a direct sequel to the episode. (But also several other episodes that feature Rogue Star as encrusted with rocks.) I think the truth is that the producers didn't really care at ALL about the intended viewing order, and as such would often introduce contradictory concepts such as Snoop posing as a Guardian when we'd seen her as a Renegade before, or the origin of the Secret Riders appearing after they've already appeared. Any attempt to reconcile these discrepancies will necessarily involve a certain level of arbitrariness.

As for Lost on Gobotron, again, I'm sure it wasn't intended as any kind of season premier. It may well have been loosely intended to be the introduction of the humans to Gobotron. (There was a similar soft introduction to the Monster Gobots early on, I forget the episode.) However, that coupled with Sabrblade's many arguments above make it work shocking well between the two mini series, mainly because it's one of only two episodes to features neither Cop-Tur nor Crasher. (And the other one has Monster GoBots.) Almost certainly serendipity, not design. But with Challenge, continuity is so hard to come by that I took what I can get.

But long story short, I think any attempt to move beyond the airdate order will by definition involve a level of handwaving, and is probably beyond the scope of the wiki. Even putting the Gobotron miniseries second. I think the best you can do is note the discrepancies and move on. --Jimsorenson (talk) 05:56, 11 January 2017 (UTC)

I think the episode list on this article should definitely present them in airdate order. But we do probably also need an internal "house order" for the purpose of consistently ordering character fiction sections - the airdate order with the bare minimum of changes needed to avoid outright continuity errors, I figure. Jalaguy (talk) 08:31, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
That's my point. There's no such thing. Continuity is so bad that even the few notable tentpoles (Snoop and the Gobotron Saga) introduce new conflicts wherever you move them. (Smallfoot's rookie status, strong direct links to later in the series.) --Jimsorenson (talk) 13:49, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
I think the AVP order is probably about the best we can do for our "house order".--Khajidha (talk) 14:54, 12 January 2017 (UTC)

Episode Box[edit]

The episode boxes still red link to Challenge of the GoBots because the page was created at Challenge of the GoBots (cartoon). I tried the typical [ [Challenge of the GoBots (cartoon)|Challenge of the GoBots] ] (no spaces), but it didn't work. Is this a template issue, or am I doing something wrong? --Xaaron (talk) 02:16, 11 January 2017 (UTC)

Got it. TFWiki coding meant using the "series" field just turned the text into a link; had to change it to "otherseries" so I could wikicode it to have the proper appearance. Doing so means manually adding "ep #" to the title too, but that's cake. - Chris McFeely (talk) 02:27, 11 January 2017 (UTC)

Eric Williams[edit]

Do we know anything more about Eric Williams besides that he was credited, because I don't if I'm creating the page on the right guy. The one I believe most likely is the right guy is Eric Bransby Williams who lived until 1994, but has no noted acting credits after 1932. There's another Eric Williams that also acts, but has no acting credits before 2007 and is not listed with any sort of birthday from what I can find. SoundJack426 (talk) 01:04, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

Air date[edit]

Jim or Chris,

Regarding the air date for the original miniseries; I do not have old TV Guides to confirm this, but if my memory serves correctly, I believe it DID air on a Saturday and once a week for five weeks; the ongoing series proper not starting until quite some time after that. I particularly remember being upset that I missed videotaping the final episode because I was forced to Summer Camp the weekend that last episode aired; so while I cannot rightly confirm, I do have a pretty vivid memory about it airing that way.

What market did you grow up in? Any chance you could go to a local library and pull out the microfiche and check the TV Guide section? --Jimsorenson (talk) 20:09, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

Jim, Chicago market. I will try to check a library in the suburbs if I have time over the next few weeks.