Sunday, April 09, 2006

Review: Beast Wars

Transformers: Beast Wars Seasons One, Two, Three

I Netflixed this on a whim. I'd watched i decent chunk of it before and recalled enjoying it AND I absolutely
love watching TV on DVD.
This ended up being no small event.
I got Season One.
2 DVDs at a time.
Watched them and NEEDED more.
I upgraded to 4 DVDs at a time.
I moved things around in my queue.
And got fucked.
Whatever snapshot they took of my queue had Beast Machines in the first slots.
I immediately returned Beast Machines.
And then received Season 2, disc 2, Season 3, disc 1, Season 3, disc 2.
No Season 2, disc 1.
Anyhow, I eventually got it.
That said...
I love this show.
It does play by certain conventions (the heros never take the offensive, the villians never really follow through, and are unable to really work together) but within that context, it does an amazing job of storytelling.
Some of the heros have their own agendas (i.e. DepthCharge's need for vengence against Protoform X) and the villains are often truely insane (i.e. Inferno is QUITE FUCKING NUTS and more than a little funny and Megatron ain't exactly stable either). Its also very funny at times, and toss out its share of references (in one episode, they refer to the Stainless Steel Rat, Die-Casting, and Dr. Strangelove). There's also a certain amount of internal awareness (i.e. sometimes they refer to Teletran One as Teletron One, and this gets very consciously corrected in one of the final episodes).
The series has just enough continuity to make it engrossing without making it convoluted, and the subplots can take several episodes to work out, if not seasons.
By the end, the struggle has become epic and archetypal. They bring in prophecies and biblical references. You feel as they do, that reality hangs in the balance.
What really fascinates me is that so much of this was completely improvised. The Season One set comes with interviews with a couple of the director/writers and the 'fess up to not having had even a clear idea of what planet the series takes place on, and so when this series ties in with the G1 series so perfectly, well, you can't do anything but be impressed. Oh, and you also find out that these guys knew virtualy nothing about the G1 series.

Heros die, villains die, alliances shift, characters grow and change. The story evolves and becomes more and more of...well...whatever it is that stories become.
Next week, Beast Machines!


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