Beast Wars: Transformers

Beast Wars: Transformers (titled Beasties: Transformers in Canada),[1] is a Canadian-American computer animated television series that debuted in 1996 and ended on March 7, 1999, serving as the flagship of the Transformers: Beast Wars franchise. The series is set in the future of the "original" Transformers franchise, after the events of The Transformers, and features the Maximals and Predacons, descendants of the Autobots and Decepticons respectively.[2] While engaged in battle, small teams from each faction crash land on an unknown planet, and must find a way to return home while continuing their war.

Beast Wars: Transformers
Beast Wars title logo.jpg
GenreAnimated Science Fiction
Based onTransformers
by Hasbro
Developed by
Voices of
Opening theme"Beast Wars Theme Song"
Composer(s)Robert Buckley
Country of origin
  • Canada
  • United States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes52 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Christopher Brough
  • Ian Pearson
  • Stephane Reichel
  • Steven DeNure
Producer(s)
  • Jonathan Goodwill
  • Kim Dent Wilder
  • Mark Ralston
Running time22–23 minutes
Production company(s)
DistributorClaster Television
Release
Original network
Picture format480i (SDTV)
Audio formatStereo
Original releaseSeptember 16, 1996 (1996-09-16) –
March 7, 1999 (1999-03-07)
Chronology
Preceded byThe Transformers
Followed by

The Beast Wars TV series was the first Transformers series to feature computer-animated characters, and was produced by Mainframe Entertainment of Vancouver, British Columbia; its story editors were Bob Forward and Larry DiTillio. The production designer for the show, Clyde Klotz, won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation in 1997 for his work on Beast Wars.[3] All three seasons were released on DVD in the USA and other Region 1 territories. In Australia, to coincide with the show's tenth anniversary in 2006, Madman Entertainment released all three seasons in Region 4 format. These boxsets include commentaries and interviews with the voice actors. It is also the second installment in the Generation 1 cartoon era

A sequel television series, Beast Machines: Transformers, aired from 1999 to 2000. Additional Beast Wars limited comic book series have been released by Dreamwave Productions and IDW Publishing.

Setting and plot summaryEdit

The two main factions of "Transformers" in Beast Wars are descendants of the two main factions in the original cartoon: the Maximals are the descendants of the Autobots and the Predacons are the descendants of the Decepticons. (In the sequel series Beast Machines, the process during which Autobots and Decepticons became Maximals and Predacons is referred to as "The Great Upgrade.")

The leader of the Predacon team is Megatron, a namesake of the original Decepticon commander. He and his forces are a splinter group on the hunt for powerful crystals known as Energon. They do this with the aid of an artifact known as the Golden Disk and Megatron's stolen ship, the Darksyde, which is equipped with a transwarp drive. A Maximal exploration ship, the Axalon, led by Optimus Primal, is sent to stop them. Together the ships plunge through a time/space phenomenon created by the transwarp device during their battle in space, and crash-land on a mysterious planet.

The planet is found to be rich in deposits of raw Energon, in such extreme amounts that it proves to be poisonous to both factions' robot forms, forcing them to take on alternate organic forms for protection until their robot forms are needed. Thus the robots take on the beast forms of recognizable animals including mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, dinosaurs, and invertebrates which became known as the Great Upgrade.

Before crashing, the Axalon deploys its cargo of "stasis pods" containing Maximal protoforms — Transformer robots with vulnerable and undeveloped physical forms, which are left to orbit the planet as an alternative to possible destruction in the initial crash landing. This plays a larger part in the IDW series, The Gathering. Throughout the series, stasis pods lose altitude and crash-land on the planet, and the Maximals and Predacons race and fight to acquire them, as protoforms acquired by Megatron's forces can be reprogrammed to become Predacons. The stasis pods are used as a plot device to introduce new characters.

The teams are divided between the "good" Maximals and the "evil" Predacons, equivalent to the traditional Autobots and Decepticons. Most of the Maximals are based on mammals, birds or fish, while the Predacons are based on reptiles, amphibians or invertebrates. Dinobot changes sides, starting as a Predacon and becoming a Maximal, and was later created as an artificial Predacon clone by Megatron in season 3. This made Dinobot the only reptile-based Maximal, as he is based on a Utahraptor. Additionally certain "Predacons" like Inferno and Blackarachnia were created from Maximal protoforms, but were fitted with Predacon shell programs, fighting instead for the Predacons. For the Maximals, the emphasis is on team spirit and good-natured arguing, especially from Rattrap, but the Predacons argue and battle for leadership, which impairs their effectiveness against the Maximals.

EpisodesEdit

CharactersEdit

Voice castEdit

Video gamesEdit

There have been two Beast Wars video games. The first game, Beast Wars: Transformers, was released for the PlayStation and PC. It is a third person shooter, based on the first season of the show, in which players control either the Maximals or the Predacons in a series of missions to undermine the other faction's attempts at gaining enough resources to win the war between them and escape the planet. It was given a multiplayer feature (removed from the console releases) that allowed up to 8 players to play over LAN, with its own play rooms in the MS Gaming Zone (they have since been removed).

The second game, Beast Wars Transmetals, is a Fighting Vipers-style fighting game based on the second season released by Bay Area Multimedia. Most of the cast members from the show reprised their voice roles.

A third game was in the works for the PlayStation 2, but was scrapped in pre-production, without any official word as to why, or how far the project was before the plug was pulled.[4]

Home mediaEdit

The series was originally released on DVD in Region 1 by Kid Rhino Entertainment (a division part of and distributed by WBFE and part of WEA/Warner Music Group) (under its Rhinomation classic animation entertainment brand) in 2003/2004.[5][6][7]

On February 8, 2011, Shout! Factory announced that they had acquired the rights to the series and planned to re-release it.[8] They subsequently re-released season 1 on DVD on June 7, 2011[9] as well as a complete series set on the same day.[10] Both releases contain extensive bonus features including interviews, featurettes and special 24 page comic book, "Transformers Timelines: Dawn of Future's Past." Season 2 & 3 were re-released on October 4, 2011.[11]

In Region 4, Madman Entertainment released all three seasons on DVD in Australia in 2006. On June 24, 2009, they released Transformers: Beast Wars - Complete Collection.[12] The 10-disc box set features all 52 episodes of the series as well as many bonus features.

DVD Name Episodes Release dates
Region 1 Region 4
Season 1 26 August 12, 2003
June 7, 2011 (Re-release)
March 17, 2006
Season 2 13 March 23, 2004 July 25, 2006
Season 3 13 March 23, 2004 November 10, 2006
Seasons 2 & 3 26 October 4, 2011 (Re-release) N/A
Complete Series 52 June 7, 2011 June 24, 2009

ReceptionEdit

Beast Wars won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation in 1997.[13]

The series has polarized the hardcore Transformers fan base due to its radically different visual style from earlier entries in the franchise.[14]

In a 2011 retrospective of the Transformers franchise, IGN commented that while Beast Wars used the same basic story template as previous series in the franchise, it "featured some of the best writing and story development in a Transformers series".[13] Reviewing the season 2 DVD release, DVD Talk similarly remarked that Beast Wars used the same basic story as the 1984 Transformers series, but stood out from other series of its time by delivering messages to children without becoming preachy and utilizing considerable continuity, both from episode-to-episode and eventually with the 1984 Transformers series. The reviewer said the animation was dated by modern standards but the interesting and fun story content outweighed it.[15] In a review of the season 3 DVD, the same critic praised the season's more rapid pace and darker tone, and said it was arguably the best season of the series. He concluded, "Beast Wars may have been a marketing tool for Hasbro, but it also told some good stories without pandering to the lowest common denominator."[16]

LegacyEdit

The show was succeeded by Beast Machines: Transformers, with a new creative team in charge of production. The traditionally-animated Japanese series Beast Wars II and Beast Wars Neo were created to fill the gap while the second and third seasons of Beast Wars were being translated into Japanese (called Beast Wars: Metals).[13] Several comic books and video games were also produced.

On June 21, 2017, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura stated that a film adaptation of Beast Wars was not in plans, as he explained: "I'm probably not the one to be asking that question to because I don't get Beast Wars, but you know, thankfully I'm not the only vote on it. I've never quite understood, they kind of feel like incompatible to me, you have animals, robots, we're used to cars."[17] In January 2020, it was announced that both a follow up to Bumblebee, and an adaptation of Beast Wars were in development; written separately by Joby Harold and James Vanderbilt, respectively.[18][19]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Beasties - Opening - Youtube". 2009-08-03. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
  2. ^ Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 870–871. ISBN 978-1476665993.
  3. ^ "PBS early Daytime Emmy leader - Entertainment News, TV News, Media - Variety". 1998-05-11. Retrieved 2008-04-10.
  4. ^ "Beast Wars - Season 2, Episode 1: Aftermath - TV.com". TV.com. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 2012-09-13.
  5. ^ "Beast Wars Transformers: Complete First Season Boxed Set". DVDEmpire.
  6. ^ "Beast Wars Transformers: Complete Second Season Boxed Set". DVDEmpire.
  7. ^ "Beast Wars Transformers: Complete Third Season Boxed Set". DVDEmpire.
  8. ^ "Beast Wars: Transformers DVD news: DVD Plans for Beast Wars: Transformers - TVShowsOnDVD.com". tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on 2011-08-25.
  9. ^ "Beast Wars: Transformers DVD news: Press Release for Beast Wars: Transformers - Season 1 - TVShowsOnDVD.com". tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on 2011-05-19.
  10. ^ Transformers Beast Wars: Complete Series | Shout!Factory Archived June 25, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Beast Wars: Transformers DVD news: Announcement for Beast Wars: Transformers - Seasons 2 & 3 - TVShowsOnDVD.com". tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on 2011-07-15.
  12. ^ "Buy Transformers: Beast Wars - Complete Collection (10 Disc Box Set) on DVD-Video from EzyDVD.com.au". ezydvd.com.au. Archived from the original on 2011-04-11.
  13. ^ a b c "The History of Transformers on TV". IGN. June 27, 2011. Retrieved 2010-08-14.
  14. ^ Douglass, Todd (March 23, 2006). "Beast Machines Transformers: The Complete Series". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
  15. ^ Sinnott, John (March 25, 2004). "Beast Wars Transformers: Complete Second Season". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
  16. ^ Sinnott, John (September 12, 2004). "Beast Wars Transformers: Complete Third Season". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
  17. ^ Zinski, Dan (June 21, 2017). "Transformers Producer Not Too Sure About Beast Wars Potential". Screen Rant. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  18. ^ https://deadline.com/2020/05/paramount-dates-new-transformers-movie-for-2022-1202924176/
  19. ^ Justin Kroll (January 27, 2020). "'Transformers' Franchise Gets a Revamp With Two Separate Films in the Works". Variety.

External linksEdit