Beast Wars: Transformers

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This article is about animated television series. For Beast Wars franchise as a whole, see Transformers: Beast Wars.
Beast Wars: Transformers
Beast Wars title logo.jpg
Genre Animated Science Fiction
Developed by Larry DiTillio
Bob Forward
Voices of Gary Chalk
David Kaye
Scott McNeil
Ian James Corlett
Richard Newman
Opening theme "Beast Wars Theme Song"
Composer(s) Robert Buckley
Country of origin Canada
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 52 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Christopher J. Brough
Stéphane Reichel
Steven DeNure
Producer(s) Jonathan Goodwill
Kim Dent Wilder
Running time 22-23 minutes
Production company(s) Hasbro
Alliance Atlantis Communications
Mainframe Entertainment
BLT Productions.Ltd
Claster Television
Broadcast
Original channel Syndication
YTV
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
Original run September 16, 1996 – March 7, 1999
Chronology
Preceded by The Transformers
Followed by Beast Machines
Beast Wars II
Beast Wars Neo

Beast Wars: Transformers, titled Beasties: Transformers in Canada,[1] is a Canadian CG animated television series that debuted in 1996, serving as the flagship of the Transformers: Beast Wars franchise. The series was set in the future of the "original" Transformers universe as a sequel to the first Transformers series (which has since been rebooted in limited comic book stories by Dreamwave and IDW among others).

The Beast Wars TV series was produced by Mainframe Entertainment of Canada; its story editors were Bob Forward and Larry DiTillio. All three seasons are currently available 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 "world exclusive" special features, such as commentaries and interviews with the voice actors.

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.[2]

Setting and plot summary[edit]

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. He and his forces are a splinter group on the hunt for powerful crystals known as Energon, (Though in The Agenda (Part 1) it's revealed Megatron got the location of energon as a bonus) to be used in a ploy for power and dominance. 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, dinosaurs, arachnids, and insects.

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. Dinobot changes sides, starting as a Predacon and becoming a Maximal. 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.

Episodes[edit]

Characters[edit]

Cast[edit]

Video games[edit]

There have been two Beast Wars video games. The first game, simply called Beast Wars: Transformers, was released for the PlayStation and PC. It was a third person shooter, based on the first season of the show, in which you can 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 subsequently been removed).

The second game, Beast Wars Transmetals, is a Fighting Vipers-style fighting game based on the second season. The PlayStation version was released by Hasbro Interactive and the Nintendo 64 version was released by bam! Entertainment. This game was memorable for having most of cast members from the show reprise 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.[3]

DVD releases[edit]

The series was originally released on DVD in Region 1 by Rhino Entertainment in 2003/2004.[4][5][6] These releases have been discontinued and are now out of print.

On February 8, 2011, Shout! Factory announced that they had acquired the rights to the series and planned to re-release it.[7] They subsequently re-released season 1 on DVD on June 7, 2011[8] as well as a complete series set on the same day.[9] 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 was re-released on October 4, 2011.[10]

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.[11] The 10-disc box set features all 52 episodes of the series as well as many bonus features.

DVD Name Ep # 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

Reception[edit]

While the toyline was lauded for its innovative joint construction and the show is overall liked by fans, the show was initially derided by a large portion of loyal Generation 1 fans for using animals, dinosaurs and insects instead of vehicles for the line's alternate forms.[citation needed] For the majority of season 1 developers were confronted with hate mail from disgruntled fans. An internet social battle emerged between old school original die hard fans and the new age fans. "Trukk not Munky" became the banner and popular argument material for unhappy watchers. Ironically Beast Wars turned out to be mutually adored by both old and new fans alike.[citation needed] Mainframe integrated enough G1 cameos and easter eggs to win over any watcher old or new. Beast Wars is still known as one of the greatest Transformer story incarnations and has stood the test of time--so much so that a 10th anniversary toy line was released by Hasbro in honor of the show's success over the years. Even now Hasbro is still producing new toy molds of fan favorite characters of the show. [12] Overall, Beast Wars was well received and is often praised for its mature tone and character development, in addition to its blend of comic relief and darker storylines.[13][14][15] [16]

Legacy[edit]

The Beast Wars franchise would go on for years worldwide. In animation, the show was succeeded by Beast Machines, with a new creative team in charge of production. The 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). Several comic books and video games were also produced.

References[edit]

External links[edit]