Though reviled by many Transfans when it first hit the airwaves in 1996, the wholly-CGI Beast Wars is now considered by many to be the critical pinnacle of Transformers storytelling. The series opens at an unspecified time and place, where two warring factions of robots have crashed on a strange planet populated by animals like those on Earth. What began as a fairly unassuming adventure cartoon, though, quickly transformed into something more. By the end of the first season's 26 episodes, viewers had been treated to a number of classical Transformers references, such as Unicron and even the reapperance of Starscream, last seen as a ghost in the third season of the original cartoon. These homages, though, would not prepare viewers for the onslaught of continuity and complex, even philosophically deep science-fiction storytelling that the final two seasons of Beast Wars were to bring. So captivating was the scope and depth of this series' stories that many of those that followed paled in comparison.
Beast Wars has had 52 episodes over 3 seasons.
In Japan it was split into 2 separate 26 episode series, Beast Wars which aired in 1997 and Beast Wars Metals which aired in 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. Nor Starscream.) Note that many characters besides these are also full-fledged Beast Wars characters, having appeared in other media.
- Optimus Primal
- Dinobot (allied with the Maximals, nominally a Predacon)
- Depth Charge
- Blackarachnia (became a Maximal towards the end of the series)
- Tripredacus Council (very briefly)
- Dinobot II
- The first season of Beast Wars cost $18 million dollars, according to a 1997 interview with Bob Forward.