With Beast Wars, the popular Transformers franchise received
a facelift. Originally airing from 1984-1987, the first Transformers
series was very popular, and still is today. After the show had been
off the air for nearly a decade, it was decided to revive the series, but
in a different way. The new show, would take place 300 years after
the original program, and would involve new characters with new abilities.
They would change into animals instead of cars and planes, and it would
take place on a different planet. But not everything would chance,
the basic plot stayed the same. Two different groups of Transformers
(one good, one bad) would fight it out. The good guy fighting fairly
of course, while the evil group schemed and cheated.
In this second season of Beast Wars, only half as long as the
first season, the war between the good Maximals and the evil Predacons
continues. What sets this show apart from many other TV shows of
the time is that it has a certain amount of continuity. Things don't
drastically change from episode to episode, but there are plot lines that
continue for several episodes, and some of the characters do change.
This was a good set of episodes. Though it is hard to understand
what is going on in the first few episodes if you haven't seen the first
season, things quickly become apparent. The various Transformers
all have their own individual personalities, and my two sons soon had their
favorites. While there was a fair amount of "message" in the shows
(you should play fair, friendship is important etc.) it never became preachy
and didn't slow up the action.
One of the interesting aspects of the show is that there are some quick
references to the original series and the closing episodes of this season
firmly tie Beast Wars into the previous show's continuity.
(Okay, I admit I'm a bit of a fan boy and enjoy that sort of thing.)
The computer-generated characters look rather dated by today's standards,
but at the time they were cutting edge. While they do move in a slightly
mechanical fashion, that fits in well with the fact that they are robots.
I didn't like the animation a first, but I quickly found that it grows
Taken from the insert booklet, this set contains the following episodes:
(Warning: minor spoilers ahead.)
Disc 1: Episode 1: Aftermath-Optimus Primal is dead, obliterated
in space while destroying the Planetbuster. Just as the Maximals begin
to regroup and the Predacons begin to celebrate, a Quantum Surge from the
Transwarp explosion showers radiation down upon the planet, killing Terrorsaur
and Scorponok and reconfiguring most of the Cybertronians' bodies and transformation
sequences. Thus are born the TransMetals, as the Beast Wars escalate to
a new level of excitement!
Episode 2: Coming of the Fuzors Part One-Infiltrating the Predacon
base, Dinobot steals the two Golden Disks from Waspinator, but not before
the two agree that with only one moon above, there is now proof that this
planet is indeed Earth! Megatron travels to a distant, sparse forest where
two stasis pods have crashed, and welcomes to his side two new Predacons:
Quickstrike and Silverbolt. His army bolstered, Megatron prepares an all-out
attack on the undermanned Maximal base.
Episode 3: Coming of the Fuzors Part Two-With Rhinox unconscious
and Tigatron and Airrazor off to scout for fallen stasis pods, only three
Maximals are left to defend the Axalon. The Predacons attack while Blackarachnia
secretly downloads Megatron's back-up files of the two Golden Disks. Just
as the battle looks most hopeless, Silverbolt defects to the Maximals,
and a surprise from above turns the tide.
Episode 4: Tangled Web-Optimus Primal is back and better than
ever in his new TransMetal body. Megatron dispatches Blackarachnia, Tarantulas,
and Quickstrike to a nearby cave to build a refueling station. Rattrap
and Silverbolt track the trio, and when a fight ensues, the cave is destroyed
and the Predacons retreat. Megatron is furious at their failure, but little
does he realize Tarantulas' plans for the now-forgotten cave.
Episode 5: Maximal, No More-What does honor mean to a noble and complicated
warrior such as Dinobot? And is he willing to betray that honor in order
to tip the scales of the Beast Wars? Dinobot hands the first Golden Disk
over to Megatron, betraying the Maximals, and joining the ranks of the
Episode 6: Other Visits Part One-The Maximals detect another
alien device far away from the Axalon and investigate. Spying a mammoth
plant/structure, the Maximal duo are attacked by strange creeping vines,
converted into energy and beamed into space. The Predacons arrive to seize
the device for themselves, but it may prove too powerful for them.
Episode 7: Other Visits Part Two-Megatron boards the Metalhunter,
the activated plant/structure at the center of the alien site. While Tarantulas
theorizes about its connection to the aliens, TransMetal technology, and
the Beast Wars at large, Megatron sets his sights on the Maximals with
this floating fortress at his disposal.
Disc 2: Episode 1: Bad Spark-What is the mystery of Protoform
X? In the jungle there lies a single, oversized stasis pod with a seemingly
dead TransMetal inside. Optimus Primal and Megatron both know that this
prize must be theirs, but can any Maximal or Predacon stand against the
might of the deranged Transformer contained within that pod?
Episode 2: Code of Hero-Using his presence on Prehistoric Earth
strategically, Megatron employs the Golden Disk to pinpoint how he will
change the future to rewrite the timeline and ensure Predacon rule. Dinobot
learns of this, and gives his all to stop the Predacons from incinerating
the valley from which humans are destined to evolve.
Episode 3: Transmutate-Silverbolt and Rattrap discover another
stasis pod, but this one contains a strange, malformed Transformer. Unable
to the speak clearly and lacking the specs of a scientist or warrior, the
"Transmutate" is both puzzled and puzzling. Silverbolt sees in this simple
machine a kindred spirit, an innocent. Predacon Rampage sees something
as well: Another one-of-a-kind freak, as alone as he is.
Episode 4: The Agenda Part One-Rhinox tracks the Transwarp Wave
from "Aftermath," announcing that Cybertron will soon know of the Axalon's
location in space and time. But on a far away Cybertronian space station,
the Tripredacus Council deflects the wave and dispatches an agent to Prehistoric
Earth. The agent arrives and offers to help, presenting himself to the
Maximals as Ravage, formerly of the Decepticon Army! But first, Megatron
sends his own troops on a secret mission.
Episode 5: The Agenda Part Two-Optimus Primal is concerned that
Silverbolt's feelings for the Predacon Blackarachnia are interfering with
his duty as a Maximal. Aboard his ship, Ravage taunts the captive Megatron,
but Megatron reveals his true intentions for stealing the Golden Disk and
its connection with the original Generation One Megatron! Meanwhile, Silverbolt
and Blackarachnia arrive at a familiar volcano.
Episode 6: The Agenda Part Three-Megatron's grand scheme comes
to fruition as the Maximals arrive too late at the site of the crash-landed
Autobot Ark. Can Optimus Primal, Rhinox, Cheetor, Silverbolt, and Rattrap
stop this plan from undoing the very future of the Transformers?
You have your choice of a stereo or 5.1 mix. The 5.1 was a little
more dynamic and had a good amount of punch to it, but the stereo track
was adequate. Both sounded very good, with no real defects or glitches.
The full frame video looked very good. The color palate used was
darker and contained more earth tones, but they were accurately reproduced.
The images were clear and detailed and the show looks much better than
I remember it ever looking. The only major problem I had was with
the first episode. It was very dark and it was hard to make out some
of the images. That problem corrected itself with the second show
There was an interesting set of extras on the second DVD: some
of the test animation and reference materials used to create the show.
This included 360-degree characters illustrations, Headshots/poses, Walk
and run cycles, Scale reference sheets of the characters, and transformations
for two of the characters. This was a nice inclusion that I enjoyed
This is a fun series. If you picked up the first season, this
one offers more of the same. Though the animation takes just a bit
to get used to, the DVD looks and sounds great. An interesting sequel
to the original Transformers. Recommended.