Apr 25, 2013

[TV] Beast Wars: Transformers - Season 2

It didn't quite happen right away for many Transformers fans, but for the most part I think it's safe to say that Beast Wars: Transformers in its first season helped win us over and continues to hold a special place in our hearts. In many respects, the recent shift in the Transformers Prime toys with their Beast Hunters line is clearly an attempt to recapture some of the enjoyment that came from animal-derived alternate modes as opposed to vehicle ones. And before some of you old school folks start to argue that trucks are better than monkeys, we have to note how some of the most popular characters from the G1 era were dinosaurs, insects. and whatever Sky Lynx is supposed to be.

Beyond how fun the toys were and some of the quirkier CGI involved in the series, the show actually had a pretty tight storyline and quite the interesting host of characters. The end of the first season helped cement its connection to our Earth and thus the entire G1 storyline. This season helped cement that even further and started to take full advantage of having the G1 mythos at its disposal to enrich its own unique breed of stories and adventures.

Synopsis: Beast Wars: Transformers is a CGI-animated television series developed by Larry DiTillo and Bob Forward for Mainfram Entertainment. The second season only ran for 13 episodes (as opposed to the first season's 26).

So the season kicked off with a few changes to the status quo. The Transwarp explosion that took out the Vok's artificial moon resulted in the disappearance of Optimus Primal and the deaths of Terrorsaur and Scorponok. And it also gave a few of the Transformers new Transmetal forms including Rattrap, Cheetor, Tarantulas and Megatron. And right after the first episode, we are then introduced to two new characters formed from damaged stasis pods - the Fuzors Silverbolt and Quickstrike. The Fuzors are Transformers with the distinction of having beast modes formed from two different animals combined into a strange hybrid instead of just one. Thus Silverbolt is a cross between a wolf and an eagle while Quickstrike is a cross between a scorpion and a snake.

And don't worry, you know it's inevitable that Optimus Primal will return - and he does so with a new Transmetal body.

Now the beginnings of this season followed the basic tropes of plot giving way to direction from the franchise owner. Dating back to the original Transformers cartoon, we know these shows are designed to market the toys as well. Thus similar to how the original 1986 movie helped wipe the slate clean of many 1984 Transformers, so did this season help pave the way for new Beast Wars sub-lines for their toys. And thus the rushed efforts to introduce both the Transmetals and the Fuzors to the show did seem a little rushed and was certainly lacking for explanations, but we have to forgive the show these moments of capitalism.

This season decided to continue the notion of tying the Beast Wars universe together with the G1 Transformers universe, thus resulting in some rather interesting stories. And this is when the Predacons start to think of ways of taking advantage of the planets connections to later-day Earth with time-spanning plots that include trying to kill the early humans  to prevent our civilization from ever coming to be, thus affecting how the G1 era would unfold. And while some of these plans still felt as silly as some of those from the first season, at least it still presented an interesting expansion of the Predacon's efforts.

And this season continued the good work on character development that the writers had accomplished in season one. We had a deepening of the friendship between Airrazor and Tigatron. We had the weird beginnings of something special between Silverbolt and Blackarachnia. And have the continuing treachery of Tarantulas and the surprisingly more complex plots of Megatron.

Oh, and Waspinator. One can never have enough of Waspinator.

I did enjoy how we got to learn a little bit more about the Vok and their experiments on Earth. They're an interesting new element in the Transformers universe, one that certainly made life interesting amid all the craziness of the beast wars. The "Other" in the episode title also helped mark which ones were more directly Vok related, thus making it rather fan-friendly.

And the season also had its share of complex characters. Rampage was a great one with his weird "undying" spark. The way that Megatron kept a firm hold on the powerful Transformer. And of course we had Dinobot in some of his finest moments, which really helped cement his joining the Transformers Hall of Fame in 2010.

The second season of Beast Wars: Transformers was a great continuation for an already promising series. It seems a tad hard to believe that the core creators of the show didn't even know about the G1 stories given what they had ended up creating here. This second season rates 5 instances of Inferno calling Megatron his "queen" out of 5.

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