Beast Machines


Beast Machines

infobox Television
show_name = Beast Machines


caption = The "Beast Machines" TV Series Logo
format = Animated television series
runtime = 30 minutes
voices = See Cast
country = CAN
USA
network = Fox Kids YTV
first_aired = September 18, 1999
last_aired = May 6, 2000
picture_format = 480i (SDTV)
num_episodes = 26
preceded_by= "Beast Wars"
list_episodes = List of Beast Machines episodes
imdb_id = 0189315
tv_com_id = 7769|

"Beast Machines" is an animated television series produced by Mainframe Entertainment and distribuited by Universal Pictures that was a direct sequel to "Beast Wars" and is a television series to take place within the continuity of the original . The cause of much controversy among the fanbase, the show ran for two seasons, airing on YTV and Fox Kids from 1999 to 2000. Of the Transformers animated series produced in North America, "Beast Machines" was the only one to have been completely conceptualized and outlined in advance, lending it a more serialized and linear storyline than the others. The "Beast Machines" intro theme was "Phat Planet", by Leftfield.

Plot Summary

As the new series begins, the surviving "Beast Wars" Maximal team (Optimus Primal, Rattrap, Cheetor, and Blackarachnia) return back to their homeworld, but the planet is completely bereft of life. Additionally, the team can't remember anything from after they returned to Cybertron, nor what happened to their missing Maximal comrades, Rhinox and Silverbolt. The Maximals are on the run as the Vehicons, a new race of Transformers who have taken control of Cybertron and will stop at nothing to destroy the Maximals. To make matters worse, The Maximals find themselves stuck in their original beast forms, devoid from their advanced transmetal technology, with no ability to transform into their more powerful robot forms. Optimus Primal is then summoned by an ancient supercomputer called "the Oracle".

The Oracle's cryptic messages foretold of a great change to come for the planet of Cybertron. It "reformats" Optimus and the Maximals in order to better equip them to face the threat to Cybertron, that being a virus that had been engineered by the lone surviving Predacon member Megatron. It was revealed that Megatron had escaped during "Transwarp Space" from the past of the "Beast Wars" and had arrived in an unspecified amount of time before the Maximals exited Transwarp Space. Thus, Megatron had conquered the entire planet with his virus and extracted the sparks of the entire Maximal, and presumably Predacon, race.

The Vehicons were shown to be a race of drones, automated and controlled by Megatron from the former Maximal Citadel. Without sparks of their own, the Vehicons at first proved to be easily defeated by the Maximals as the strain of multitasking (running the entire planet and controlling the Drones) proved to be difficult for Megatron. Megatron thus took three captured sparks and created three Vehicon Generals to take command of their respective drones; Jetstorm to command the Aero-Drones, Tankor to command the Tank-Drones and Thrust to command the Cycle-Drones.

It was later revealed that the sparks used to create these Generals were all known to the Maximals, two of which being former comrades and being forced by Vehicon programming to battle their friends, the other being the only Predacon, other than Megatron to survive the "Beast Wars". The Maximals discovered Jetstorm, Tankor and Thrust were really Silverbolt, Rhinox, and Waspinator, respectively. After having his memories awakened by Rattrap, but still being influenced by the Vehicon programming, Tankor uses Rhinox's scientific mind to rebel against Megatron, with the aim of taking over Cybertron for himself. Apprehending and reprogramming Megatron's Diagnostic Drone, Tankor discovered the Oracle and learned of the existence of the Key to Vector Sigma, a device which could transform organics into "technomatter", Tankor faked his demise and allowed Megatron to learn of the Key's existence.

Megatron sought to use the Key as a weapon to destroy the Maximals, however Tankor used the Oracle to arm Optimus Primal with control of the Plasma Energy Chamber, a device that could destroy technomatter. Tankor then set up a showdown between Megatron and the Maximals in which he intended to seize control once they destroyed each other, however, Megatron had hard-wired a fail-safe into Tankor's body which caused him to shut down when Tankor tried to harm Megatron. Megatron and Optimus Primal both unleashed their weapons against each other and Cybertron itself was nearly destroyed, but the Oracle managed to intervene and prevented any harm to come to Cybertron.

Megatron, Primal and Tankor were apparently temporarily destroyed, however because of their link to the Oracle itself; they were each given the opportunity to choose their own destiny. Optimus Primal chose to return and carry out the will of the All-Spark. Rhinox was freed from the hard wiring that made him Tankor and he thus chose to rejoin the Matrix in atonement for his misguided deeds as Tankor. Megatron chose to separate the organic elements from his body (his driving desire since returning to Cybertron) and succeeded in doing so, however his spark was trapped in the wrong half and he became a totally organic Transformer known as Savage/Noble.

His intended form, that being an enormous battle station in the shape of an altered version of his head (and able to transform into an alternate form of a powerful spaceship) was released on auto-pilot into the sky above the Maximal Citadel. As Savage/Noble, Megatron tricked the Maximal Nightscream into believing Noble to be another survivor of Megatron's virus and used the Maximals to gain entry to the Citadel where he was able to extract and free his spark from his organic-based form (the body lived on as a beast who followed Nightscream around but showed only animal intelligence) and Megatron was able to interface with his battle station form and remotely took control of Cybertron once again. The Maximals discovered an organic "Liquid Core" and a chamber containing fossilized bones, and were able to awaken Silverbolt (from within the body and programming of Jetstorm) and reformat him into a Maximal once more. However, his experience as Jetstorm turned him bitter, and Silverbolt lost his charismatic chivalry that had been his main character trait.

Having lost two of his original Generals, Megatron used the sparks of two new Cybertronians (that were said to be the greatest generals in Cybertron History,) and thus two new Vehicon Generals were created: Obsidian and Strika. The Maximals also gained another member when an exploration ship returned to Cybertron in answer to a distress beacon set up by survivors of Megatron’s virus before they were all hunted down by the Vehicon Drones (with the exception of Nightscream of course).

Having adopted an alternate form based on the dominant life-form of the planet she was sent to explore (that of a sentient plant) the newcomer called herself Botanica. This character proved to be of much interest among the fanbase as nothing like her had ever been seen in Transformer Shows before. Botanica proved to be very powerful, and became central in Optimus Primal's plan to reformat the entire planet, and introduce organics to Cybertron.

The Maximals then learned that the sparks of the former inhabitants of the planet were being held within the massive battle station that was Megatron's new body. After launching an attack against Megatron in which the Maximals were nearly defeated, Nightscream witnessed the death of Savage/ Noble by Megatron and, in a rage, was able to depolarize Megatron's spark and force it from its battle station shell. The Maximals then gained control of the battle station and thus control of the displaced sparks as well. Megatron was forced to inhabit an off-line Diagnostic Drone as his Vehicon Army mounted a massive attack in an effort to reclaim his former base. Megatron's forces were able to deplete the power reserves of the battle station and force it to crash; then the Vehicon's vast numbers overwhelmed and defeated the Maximals, extracting their sparks and adding them to the collection in the process.

However, before his capture, the Maximal Cheetor was able to use the antigravity engines of the battle station to launch Obsidian and Strika into orbit around the planet. The only Maximal that was left to face Megatron was Optimus Primal, but to Primal's dismay, Megatron had taken a new form: one based on Primal's own former "Optimal Optimus" body, but stripped of its organic components. Megatron then released all of the captured sparks and absorbed them into his own (causing his form to swell in size) in order to form one perfect being. Megatron then blasted a hole to the core of the planet, exposing the organic liquid core.

Megatron separated Optimus from the Oracle, reformed the Key to Vector Sigma, and began to convert the organic core into technomatter. Once completed, Megatron intended to transfer his own consciousness into Cybertron itself, turn it into a perfect technosphere, and use Cybertron as weapon to conquer the Universe. However, the Oracle managed to reconnect with Optimus Primal, giving him the power to escape. Primal then interrupted the conversion process and tackled Megatron, knocking them both over the edge and into the organic core below. Primal said "The Great Transformation awaits, Megatron. Prepare to be... reformatted." As they hit the core, Primal unleashed the reformatting process, releasing the sparks that were absorbed within Megatron and apparently turning the entire planet into a technorganic sphere. The Maximals awoke in their own bodies while the population was reborn into the new bodies of the reformatted Vehicon Drones, including Waspinator who returned to his original form (but with Thrust's head, and only the size of a real wasp). Waspinator's final words recall an end to the previous series: "Wazzpinator never gets what Wazzpinator wants."

Characters

Episode List

eason One

eason Two

DVD Releases

"Beast Machines: Transformers (Episodes # 1-5)"
*Format: Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
*Language: English
*Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
*Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
*Audio: 2.0 Dolby Surround
*Number of discs: 1
*Rating: PG in Canada
*Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada
*DVD Release Date: August 10, 2004
*Run Time: 107 minutes/ USA

"Beast Machines - Transformers: The Complete Series"
*Format: Box set, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
*Language: English
*Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
*Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
*Audio: 5.1 Dolby Surround & 2.0 Stereo
*Number of discs: 4
*Rating: Not Rated
*Studio: Rhino Theatrical
*DVD Release Date: February 28, 2006
*Run Time: 700 minutes/ USA

"Beast Machines - Transformers: Series 1"
*Format: Dubbed, Full Screen, PAL
*Language English
*Region: Region 2
*Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
*Audio: 5.1 Dolby Surround & 2.0 Stereo
*Number of discs: 2
*Classification: PG (Parental Guidance)
*Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
*DVD Release Date: 16 July 2007
*Run Time: 264 minutes

"Beast Machines - Transformers: Series 2"
*Format: Dubbed, Full Screen, PAL
*Language English
*Region: Region 2
*Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
*Audio: 5.1 Dolby Surround & 2.0 Stereo
*Number of discs: 2
*Classification: PG (Parental Guidance)
*Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
*DVD Release Date: 19 November 2007
*Run Time: N/A

'Beast Machines - Transformers: Season 1 - Volumes 1 & 2'
*DVD Release Date: 20 June 2007
*Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
*Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
*Region: Region 4Classification: PG (Parental Guidance)

"Beast Machines - Transformers: Season 2 - Volumes 1 & 2"
*DVD Release Date: 23 October 2007
*Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
*Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
*Region: Region 4
*Classification: PG (Parental Guidance)

Other information

Written into a special edition comic book was a character by the name of Primal Prime. Appearing only in this book, he was a side character to the "Beast Machines" story and later was written into the toy lines of both "Beast Machines" and "Transformers: Universe". In the "Universe" story line he eventually gained a new body which combined with Apelinq to create Sentinel Maximus.

The head writers used to post and answer questions on a message board known as Bottalk.

Beast Machines Toys

The Hasbro toys for "Beast Machines" are infamous for the fact that many bear little resemblance to the characters on the show, in both shape and color, and they were scaled out of proportion to each other. The reason for this was that although basic concept sketches were made of the major characters, the show creators and toy creators developed the characters independently from that point in the first year. After the first year of toys was released, a number of slightly more show-accurate toys were released.

Many of the characters created as toys never made it on the television series, although some did appear in the comic books. Oddly, the transforming plant Botanica from the television series was not made into a toy for any of the related toylines.

The toys released in the "Beast Wars Returns" (a release of "Beast Machines" in Japan) toyline by TakaraTomy were recolored to more closely resemble the show colors. Molds from the drones in the Vehicon Army, which bore more resemblance to the Vehicon Generals, were recolored and used as the Vehicon Generals instead in the "Beast Wars Returns" toyline.

A line of simple McDonald's "Beast Machines" toys was sold which did look more like the show characters, and this line was recolored for release in other countries by other fast food restaurants.

Non-Show Groups

A number toy sub-groups didn't make it into the animated series, but had small stories on their toy boxes.
*Beast Riders:Two deluxe sized vehicles that resembled heads of animals and could be ridden by larger figures. Both were redecoed once each, but their boxes remained unchanged.
*Deployers:Three sparkless Maximal drones that turn into weapons useable by larger toys. All three were redecoed in new colors, but their boxes remained unchanged. The dark blue recolor of Rav was used to represent the character of Chro in the 3H Comic series.
*Dinobots:A set of Maximals, all recolors of older toys from the "Beast Wars", "Beast Wars Neo" lines.

Non-Show Characters

A number of characters appeared in the "Beast Machines" toy line who didn't make appearances in the television series. These included:

* Blastcharge - A Vehicon who turned into a six-wheeled missile truck. Did appear in the Wreckers comics.
* Buzzsaw - A Maximal who transformed into a wasp. Did appear in the "Transformers: Universe" comics.
* Battle Unicorn - A Maximal who turned into a unicorn.
* Che - A Beast Rider whose form was a cheetah head. Was to appear in the un-produced Wreckers #4.
* Chro (Name given to purple Rav repaint) - Appeared in Wreckers comics.
* Dillo - A Maximal Deployer who turned from an armadillo into a weapon. Did appear in Wreckers comics.
* Geckobot - A Maximal who transformed into a flying lizard.
* Hammerstrike - A Maximal who transformed into a hammerhead shark.
* Longhorn - A Maximal who turned into a bull. Was to appear in the un-produced Wreckers #4.
* Mechatron - A Beast Rider whose form as a dragon head.
* Mirage - A high speed Vehicon race car. Appeared Apelinq's War Journals, his drones appeared in Wreckers comics.
* Mol - A Maximal Deployer who turned from a mole into a weapon. Did appear in Wreckers comics.
* Nightviper - A Maximal who transformed into a cobra.
* Primal Prime - A repaint of "Beast Wars" Optimal Optimus. Did appear in the Wreckers comics.
* Quickstrike - A Maximal who transformed into a wolf. Did appear in the "Transformers: Universe" comics.
* Rav - A Maximal Deployer who turned from a bird into a weapon. Did appear in the Wreckers comics.
* Scavenger - A Vehicon Demolitions expert. Did appear in the Wreckers comics.
* Skydive - A Maximal who turned a pterodactyl. Was to appear in the un-produced Wreckers #4.
* Snarl - A Maximal who turned into a lion. Did appear in the un-produced Wreckers #3, and the "Transformers: Universe" comics
* Spy Streak - A Vehicon stealth jet. Did appear in the Wreckers comics.

Transtech

After "Beast Machines" ended, Hasbro planned a follow-up series called "Transtech". The series was supposedly to bring back some of the characters who died in "Beast Wars" along with some characters from the original eighties cartoon series, all in new, more organic-looking bodies, though with vehicle alternate modes instead of the animals used in "Beast Machines". Many concept sketches and even a few toy prototypes were made, but Hasbro scrapped the idea in favor of bringing "" to American markets.

Concept sketches or prototype toys have been seen for Blackarachnia, Cheetor, Depth Charge, Megatron, Nightscream, Optimus Prime, Scavenger, Shockwave, Soundwave, Starscream and a new character called Immorticon. There were also rumors of a "Transtech" Dinobot.

It is generally believed that the concept for "Transtech" Cheetor inspired the design of ' Brakedown and the concept for "Transtech" Megatron inspired ' Megatron.

Transformers: Universe

The storyline of "Beast Machines" is continued in the short-lived comic book "" by 3H Publishing, which has stories taking place during the second season of "Beast Machines" (In the "Transformers: Wreckers" comic) and after the "Beast Machines" story (in the "Transformers: Universe" comic).

English Cast

*Optimus Primal, voiced by Gary Chalk
*Cheetor, voiced by Ian James Corlett
*Rattrap, voiced by Scott McNeil
*Blackarachnia, voiced by Venus Terzo
*Silverbolt, voiced by Scott McNeil
*Nightscream, voiced by Alessandro Juliani
*Botanica, voiced by Kathleen Barr
*Savage and Noble, voiced by David Kaye
*Megatron, voiced by David Kaye
*Diagnostic Drone, voiced by Christopher Gaze
*Tankor, voiced by Paul Dobson (1-9) and Richard Newman (9-onward)
*Thrust, voiced by Jim Byrnes
*Jetstorm, voiced by Brian Drummond
*Obsidian, voiced by Paul Dobson
*Strika, voiced by Patricia Drake
*Waspinator, voiced by Scott McNeil

Controversy

As early as its premiere episode, "Beast Machines" provoked much debate among fans about whether the new series' creative team was portraying the individual characters and the broader Transformers backstory as accurately as the creators of "Beast Wars" had done. Much of the criticism focused on character portrayals and actions that were seen as inaccurate and inconsistent with how the characters were established in "Beast Wars". This is further compounded by the fact that many of the actors associated with recent Transformer series have referred to "Beast Machines" as "The Bad Thing". In addition, there was much debate over perceived continuity errors in regards to the broader Transformers backstory, such as the claim to Cybertron once being an organic planet, when in fact, it was formed by Primus from a meteor. The ending of "Beast Machines" proved to be extremely controversial. Detractors believe that the "reformatting" of Cybertron, from purely metallic as it had been portrayed in the original series into technorganic, diminished the traditional qualities that had made the Transformers mythos special.

While "Beast Machines" has always been a controversial series, it has gradually become more popular over time, particularly in retrospect after ' and ', both which met with even heavier abuse for their general low quality. The newfound positive reception, however, is still not considered universal amongst fans of the "Beast Wars"/Transformers mythos. Hasbro has since retconned much of Beast Machines events in fan-exclusive convention comics such as "", and fanclub publications, reviving many characters killed and redeeming those "corrupted" during the series like Rhinox, though Cybertron remains technorganic.

Trivia

*According to commentary of the "Beast Machines" DVD the series was initially to be called "Beast Hunters".
*The character Jetstorm was initially called Skybolt. The first five episodes of the series were filed with the name Skybolt, but then they had to go back and edit these episodes to reflect the change.
*At one point, Thrust was going to be carrying Silverbolt's spark, but they decided to have him carry Waspinator's spark instead on a whim.
*In the episode "Home Soil", the character Thrust made a gesture similar to giving the middle finger to Optimus while racing to the crashed ship. Also in the episode "Savage Noble", Thrust also made a gesture similar to giving the middle finger to Cheetor when he was giving directions to Thrust when they briefly banded together to search for Savage.
*In the flashback featuring Waspinator, the heads of Inferno and Quickstrike make cameo appearances, as do the pre-humans Hammer, Jack, Una and others.

External links

* [http://bobskir.com/ Robert N. Skir] - TV writer and story editor.
* [http://www.bcdb.com/cartoons/Other_Studios/M/Mainframe_Entertainment/Beast_Machines/index.html "Beast Machines"] at the Big Cartoon DataBase
* [http://www.tv.com/beast-machines/show/7769/summary.html?q=Beast%20Machines%20 "Beast Machines" at TV.com]
*imdb title|id=0189315
* [http://www.bwtf.com/bm/ Ben's World of Transformers]
* [http://www.tfu.info/ Transformers Toys Database]
* [http://www.transformertoys.co.uk/ Beast Machines Transformers toy galleries - Transformers At The Moon]
* [http://www.thetransformers.net/ TheTransformers.net]
* [http://www.bigbot.com/ Bigbot.com] - The single best transformer discussion forum on the net.


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