Minorities in cartoons: “Transformers: Rescue Bots”

This week’s minorities in cartoons entry is the TV series “Transformers: Rescue Bots.” The show debuted on The Hub (now Discovery Family) in 2011. To date, it’s aired three seasons totaling 64 episodes.

Background

The show’s pitched at younger viewers, and as such isn’t as violent as the usual “Transformers” entries.

The premise of the series is that a group of Autobots emerge from stasis and arrive on Earth. Once on Earth, Optimus Prime deems the Rescue Bots not ready to fight longtime foes the Decepticons, and has them instead covertly go to Griffin Rock, an island off the coast of Maine. There, they’ll learn about Earth ways and humans.

Said island is extremely high tech, so the Bots are able to blend in by posing as “advanced” machines. The Bots do so, and end up assisting the Burns family, who’re all first responders. The Burns family eventually discover the Rescue Bots’ secret, with all of them continuing to work together to help humans. The Rescue Bots can freely transform in front of the island’s other residents, but can’t expose their actual identities as sentient robots.

Cast

The Rescue Bots consist of:

  • Heatwave, the leader, who can turn into a fire engine.
  • Chase, who can turn into a police car.
  • Blades, who can turn into a helicopter.
  • Boulder, who can turn into a bulldozer.

Close friends of the Burns family include Dr. Ezra “Doc” Greene, the chief scientist and inventor of Griffin Rock. Doc’s a pastiche of Doc Brown of “Back to the Future” fame. This is down to having invented a solar-powered DeLorean-like car (which doesn’t travel through time) and sharing some of Brown’s eccentricities.

Doc Greene also has a daughter, Francine “Frankie” Greene. While not as eccentric as her father, Frankie is quite intelligent in her own right. Frankie’s middle name is “Elma.” One episode reveals it comes from the name of Griffin Rock’s first woman scientist.

The show, of course, is based on a toy line, which from what I could find includes Doc, but not Frankie.

Voice actors

Actor LeVar Burton, of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Reading Rainbow” fame, voices Doc.

Frankie is voiced by Diamond White, a teenage singer and actor.

(Updated 11/23/16)

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