Here's a big one. The way I first discovered the Generation 1 era of Transformers is chock full of misconceptions.
Since I was born in the 90's, it was Beast Wars that got me introduced to the TF franchise before any other. At the time, I had a friend who had told me that there used to be another show called just "Transformers" (as opposed to "Beast Wars: Transformers", which was what I only knew of at the time), and that that show had the characters called "Autobots" and "Decepticons", who turned into vehicles (cars and trucks for the good guys, and jets and tanks for the bad guys) instead of animals, and were the giant ancestors of the Maximals and Predacons (who were more human-sized). And that the Autobots' leader was called "Optimus Prime
" instead of "Optimus Primal
", and that he turned into a truck, large enough for a person sit inside. This info intrigued me, but I didn't look into it any further since Beast Wars was what really appealed to me at the time.
Some short time after this, the Machine Wars toyline started showing up at KB Toys and, because these toys matched everything that had been told to me before (with the exception of the toys being called "Machine Wars: Transformers" instead of just "Transformers"), I assumed that these were rereleases of the older characters that were the ancestors of Beast Wars cast, and that my friend got his info wrong on the series being called just "Transformers" instead of "Machine Wars: Transformers". And since I still had no knowledge of the real G1 at the time, I just assumed that Machine Wars was G1.
Though, I gradually began to notice that some things did not add up. Like, when the episode where Starscream possessed Waspinator reaired, I noticed how Starscream in that episode's flashbacks looked significantly different from the Machine Wars Starscream toy. And then much later, when "The Agenda" three-parter aired, I noticed how Ravage was described as being a former Decepticon and yet had no Machine Wars toy. And in the third part of that three-part episode, I saw how G1 Optimus Prime barely resembled his Machine Wars toy counterpart as well (at that time, I also thought the idea of mouthplates was silly, since none of the BW cast had them--I assumed Optimus Primal's was just a "mouth cover" that he wore only when necessary; and the Machine Wars Prime toy didn't have a mouthplate either). And finally, during the season 3 episode "Master Blaster", I saw how the original Megatron in that episode didn't look that much like his Machine Wars toy either.
So, what did I tell myself to make sense of all these discrepancies? I simply brushed them off as cartoon mistakes and took the Machine Wars versions as being the "correct" versions (and assumed that Ravage had been a non-toy character, or that his toy was not included in the Machine Wars "rereleases"). Silly naive me.
Finally, circa 2001, Beast Machines was coming to a close and the first commercials for a new cartoon called "Transformers: Robots in Disguise" began to air. Such a name and look resurfaced memories of old. Memories of what I had been told before of a series just called "Transformers". I saw that, to me, the Optimus Prime in this show looked close enough to the one seen in the Ark during Beast Wars, but I still figured that that Megatron lying in the Ark was an animation error. Having momentarily forgotten about the short-lived Machine Wars toyline at the time, and after seeing these commercials and episode 1 of RiD, I assumed once again that this
was G1, and that the whole "Decepticon" thing had been some kind of mistake (since the main bad guys here were still Predacons). Yes, I had then also momentarily forgotten about Ravage and the stasis locked Decepticons on the Ark in BW. But then when they introduced the Decepticons for real in RiD, I retreated my previous assumption and just figured that the Decepticons would later become the dominant faction later on, with the Preds disappearing and new Preds showing up again later as the Decepticons' descendants.
By 2002, however, my belief of RiD having been G1 was ultimately killed primarily by two factors:
1. Hasbro.com began promoting a new series called "Transformers: Armada", and I was like "Huh? What is this? I thought they already had a show like this. Why are they making another series with Autobots and Decepticons? Is this a sequel or something?"
2. I stumbled upon VHS tapes of a show called "The Original Transformers" at a local video store. I later picked up a few, watched'em, read the back cover descriptions of how these were episode from a 1980s cartoon, and gradually came to understand that this was the original series after all, and that both Machine Wars and RiD were just their own things.
Once I came to understand how the concept of reboots worked, I was able to warm up better to the idea of another Autobot/Decepticon cartoon than my initial reactions had been. Though, this was still long before the Armada cartoon came out. After having watched a fair number of G1 video tapes, I began to notice some fanwank references added in to the RiD cartoon, like how RiD Optimus and RiD Ultra Magnus were built by "Alpha Trion", and how RiD Optimus had been given "the Matrix" by "Vector Sigma".
Since then, I went on to collect the Kid Rhino DVD sets of G1 around 2003-2004 and watched them all from start to finish. And having watched the G1 movie during this DVD watch, I finally understood who Unicron was and what his appearances in Beast Wars were about. That fake flashback with him killing Starscream and his giant golden head being projected by the Vok finally made sense to me.
So, yeah, if it hadn't been for Armada and Kid Rhino, I probably would have been in the dark about the true nature of G1 for a lot longer than I had been. ^_^'