Beast Wars, known as Beasties in Canada, is a 1996 animated television series animated by Canadian studio Mainframe entertainment to accompany the toy line of the same name. It was the first series in the Western part of the franchise since the The Transformers that was entirely made up of new animation.
Beast Wars has had 52 episodes over 3 seasons.
In Japan, Beast Wars only refers to season 1 whereas season 2 and 3 were combined into a single 26 episode series called Beast Wars Metals.
Season 1: 1996–1997
- Beast Wars, Part 1
- Beast Wars, Part 2
- The Web
- Equal Measures
- Chain of Command
- Power Surge
- Fallen Comrades
- Double Jeopardy
- A Better Mousetrap
- Gorilla Warfare
- The Probe
- Dark Designs
- Double Dinobot
- The Spark
- The Trigger, Part 1
- The Trigger, Part 2
- Spider's Game
- Call of the Wild
- Dark Voyage
- The Low Road
- Law of the Jungle
- Before the Storm
- Other Voices, Part 1
- Other Voices, Part 2
Season 2: 1997–1998
Season 3: 1998–1999
Because developing new CGI character models was, at the time, an expensive and time-consuming process, the number of on-screen characters in Beast Wars was relatively small compared to most other Transformers shows. It is thus practical to list all the Transformers who appeared in the cartoon. They are listed in order of appearance. (The stasis locked Autobots and Decepticons aboard the Ark are not on this list.) Note that many characters besides these are also full-fledged Beast Wars characters, having appeared in other media.
- Tripredacus Council (very briefly)
- Ravage (an ex-Decepticon)
- Dinobot II
- Assorted Vok
After the launch of the show Forward and DiTillio stumbled across active conversations about the G1 toy line on internet newsgroups and suddenly realize the depths of fan following G1 had. While they originally intended to shy away from G1 continuity, the internet chatter generated casual mention of a Great War sometime in the past of the Beast Wars story inspired them to connect their new series to the old. When one of the two moons of the Beast Wars planet was destroyed and the world was revealed to be Earth after all. DiTillio and Forward surprised and hooked audiences. Piece by piece they revealed Beast Wars took place in the ancient past, and the beloved G1 Autobots and Decepticons were currently in stasis underneath a volcano.
The Japanese version of Beast Wars was aimed at a younger audience and had some drastic changes with lots of fourth-wall humor and a relentless string of over-the-top and in-your-face jokes. Examples include:
- The beginning of every episode would start with one of the characters asking a ridiculous question and receiving equally ridiculous answers (Beast Convoy asking "Where is my banana", for instance) before segueing into the opening rap theme by Banana Ice.
- Rattrap would constantly break the fourth wall by "smelling" what the audience was eating and make gluttonous comments.
- Many characters received completely new personalities that were polar opposites to their Western interpretation (Depth Charge enjoyed singing folk songs while Megatron became a flamboyant madman that shrieked like a little girl at the sight of danger).
- Airazor became the male character Airrazor (two "r"s) and rather having a romantic relationship with Tigatron, Airrazor and Tigatron were depicted as having a "brotherly" relationship.
- Clipshows would feature the characters interacting in silly situations such as gameshows and contests (in one instance, Megatron acted as judge in a celebrity impersonation contest).
It should be noted, however, that the Japanese DVD sets of the series come with optional English language dialogue with Japanese subtitles, allowing fans in Japan to view the more serious Canadian version of the show if desired.
- The first season of Beast Wars cost $18 million, according to a 1997 interview with Bob Forward.
- Although the Beast Wars franchise was widely criticized and detested by many of the more hardcore fans of the original series, it did do something that would set a precedent for all subsequent cartoon series, as well as the live-actions movies. Because the purpose of the original series had been largely to advertise the toy line, the producers of the show flooded the cartoon with as many characters as possible, even introducing new ones without explanation in season 2. This had the unfortunate side effect of making any character development severely limited. Beast Wars on the other hand, limited the number or characters to five on each side, and introduced new characters slowly, allowing for a great deal more character development.
- According to B-Club magazine, Beast Wars is the first fully CGI TV-show in the world. Too bad they don't know ReBoot is much earlier.
- In Canada, Beast Wars was called "Beasties", as the Canadian broadcaster YTV considered the original title to be too violent. They did a similar move when Mainframe released War Planets, renaming the series Shadow Raiders.
- In France and (French) Belgium, the show was called "Animutants" and had a good quality dubbing, rather close to the original voices. But while the first two seasons of the show were aired, the third one never was; the show always ended with "The Agenda (Part III)", leaving the fans of the area with the worst case of cliffhanger ever.
- In Spain, the show suffered the same destiny it had in France, finishing at the end of the second season.
- In Vietnam, the show was called "Chiến tranh quái vật vũ trụ" (aka Galaxy Monster Wars instead of Beast Wars). The showed was released in VHS tapes with very good Vietnamese dub then it was copy to VCD. Unfortunately, the show aired only the first two seasons like it was in French. It's ended with "The Agenda (Part III)", and left the fans with a cliffhanger.
- The Production Designer for the show, Clyde Klotz, won an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation in 1997. How cool is that?
- By the end of the series, a minimum of 10 confirmed stasis pods land on the planet.
- ↑ Transformers Vault Page 112