Beast Wars: Transformers is a 52 episode CGI animated television series, produced by Mainframe Entertainment, that debuted in 1996, serving as the flagship of the Beast Wars franchise which also included Transformers: Beast Machines. The series was set in the future of the original Transformers universe as a sequel to the first Transformers series. The story editors for Beast Wars were Bob Forward and Larry DiTillio. In Canada, the series was retitled Beasties because the broadcaster, YTV, declined to air a show with "War" in the title.
Beast Wars: Transformers premiered on Cartoon Network's Toonami block in 1998, replacing The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest for just one week. Only the last five episodes of Season 2 were shown. These five episodes had never been shown on any American cable channel before this event.
Beast Wars 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. The planet abounds in mystery, with vast deposits of raw energon and evidence of alien activity. The Energon forces the newly arrived Transformers to take on protective beast forms to shield themselves from the ambient Energon radiation. And so begin the Beast Wars…
Over the course of the series certain transformers were fuzed together forming Fuzors (i.e. Tigatron + Airazor = Tigerhawk). Also over the course of the series certain transformers changed into different animals, for example Megatron started out as a T-Rex, but later on changed to a dragon.
- Optimus Primal — Silverback Gorilla
- Rhinox — Rhinoceros
- Rattrap — Rat
- Cheetor — Cheetah
- Dinobot — Velociraptor
- Tigatron — White Tiger
- Airazor — Peregrine Falcon
- Silverbolt — Wolf/Eagle
- Depth Charge — Manta Ray
- Tigerhawk — White Tiger/Peregrine Falcon
- Megatron — T-Rex — Dragon
- Scorponok — Scorpion
- Tarantulas — Tarantula
- Terrorsaur — Pteradactyl
- Waspinator — Wasp
- Blackarachnia — Black Widow
- Inferno — Fire Ant
- Quickstrike — Scorpion/Snake
- Rampage — Crab
- Ravage — Panther
- Dinobot II (Dinobot Clone) — Velociraptor
|Color||Season||Episodes||U.S. Season Premiere||U.S. Season Finale|
|1||26||April 22, 1996||April 1, 1997|
|2||13||October 26, 1997||March 13, 1998|
|3||13||October 25, 1998||May 7, 1999|
The show's CGI, though somewhat primitive by today's standards, was revolutionary by television standards of the time. Mainframe's animators took pains to ensure their characters gestured and emoted in great detail, and the "camera" work often took creative advantage of the format's flexibility.
Though at first the show seemed to be in an entirely separate continuity, 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 reappearance of Starscream, last seen as a ghost in the third season of the original cartoon. These ties to the original story increased as the second season progressed and the planet was revealed as prehistoric Earth, the characters having been thrown back in time. The third season was entirely structured around the Maximals defending their dormant Autobot ancestors aboard the ancient crashed Ark.
All episodes of Beast Wars have been released on VHS and DVD. Most recently as "Transformers - Beast Wars: The Complete Series" which was released by Shout! Factory in 2011.
After a 2-part preview aired in April 1996, Beast Wars premiered in North America in First-run syndication from September 18, 1996 to March 7, 1999. During this time, the series aired on Cartoon Network's Toonami block in 1998, replacing The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest for just one week. Only the last 5 episodes of season two aired from March 9-13, 1998. The series was then aired on Fox beginning in 1999. The series also aired on G4-TV through the Action Blast! programming block which consisted of one episode of Beast Wars and one episode of Transformers: Cybertron.
- United States (First-run Syndication) — April 22 - 23, 1996; September 18, 1996 – March 7, 1999
- United States (Cartoon Network) — March 9-13, 1998
- United States (Fox) — 1999 - 2001
- United States (G4-TV) — 2006 - 2007
- Canada (YTV) - 1997 - 2007
- Japan (TV Tokyo) — October 1, 1997 - March 29, 2000
- Japan (Cartoon Network) — August 2003 - August 19, 2004
- Latin America (Cartoon Network) — 2000 - 2001
Toonami Broadcast History
- Freedman, Mark (1998). "Industry: Mainframe ReBoots with Beasties ". inwap.com. https://web.archive.org/web/19990128091856/http://www.inwap.com/mf/reboot/mfe-inc/TakeOne.html. Retrieved on December 21, 2017.
- "Beast Wars Series Premieres With Winning Ratings In U.S. ". seibertron.com. May 27, 1996. https://www.seibertron.com/transformers/news/beast-wars-series-premieres-with-winning-ratings-in-us/18247/. Retrieved on March 3, 2018.
- "Beast Wars on G4-Television ". seibertron.com. January 7th, 2006. https://www.seibertron.com/transformers/news/beast-wars-on-g4television/6235/. Retrieved on December 21, 2017.
- "Toonami Lineup ". cartoonnetwork.co.jp. August 10, 2003. http://web.archive.org/web/20030810131146/http://www.cartoonnetwork.co.jp/toonami/lineup.asp. Retrieved on August 1, 2016.
- "Toonami Lineup ". cartoonnetwork.co.jp. August 16, 2004. http://web.archive.org/web/20040816001647/http://www.cartoonnetwork.co.jp:80/toonami/lineup.asp. Retrieved on December 21, 2017.
- "Beast Wars ". cartoonnetworkla.com. January 19, 2001. https://web.archive.org/web/20010119001600/http://www.cartoonnetworkla.com:80/english/talisman/beast_wars.html. Retrieved on February 15, 2018.
|Cartoon Network (1997-2008)|
|Adult Swim (2012-Present)|