Beast Wars TV Show - "Beast Wars Part One"

in 1996, Beast Wars, Television Show Review

Beast Wars Transformers

Original Air Date: April 1996
Power Block Air date: September 16, 1996
Writer:Bob Forward
Director: Ian Pearson
Script: Word format
Images: "Beast Wars Part One" Gallery

Episode Synopsis
Two ships come out of transwarp space, firing at each other. Optimus Primal gets a report from Rattrap that the ship won't last long. As the Maximal ship begins to fall into the planet, Optimus Primal orders stasis pods to be jettisoned as the Maximal ship goes down. Optimus Primal orders the ship's weapons fired and the Predacon ship is damaged and falls.

The two ships crash and Optimus Primal asks for a damage report and Cheetor answers "You don't want to know." Then we see the downed Predacon ship. Inside Megatron consults with the ship computer which tells him that they seem to be on the planet they were intended to be on but that some readings on the planet are 'inconsistant' with what they were expecting. Megatron ignores this and is elated when the computer tells him there is indeed energon on the planet. However, the computer warns him that there is so much energon that the Transformers will be permanently damaged if they do not adapt. The Predacons launche a probe to scan for 'local life forms' which include dinosaurs skeletons. The Maximals also launch a probe to do the same and scan a gorilla, a rat, a rhino and a cheetah.

On the Maximal ship, Cheetor is the first to emerge in his new form. He seems very happy with himself as he admires his form. Rattrap comes out introducing himself. The two take verbal pot shots at each other until Rhinox steps in separating the two. Optimus Primal emerges in his gorilla form and reiterates the need for the outer organic coats and the dangerous environment on the planet they are on. Rhinox stresses that the Maximals and Predacons could be anywhere in space OR time because the Transwarp drive the Maximal and Predacon ships use can travel through both. Primal reminds everyone that there are still stasis pods orbiting the planet that with other Maximal warriors and that until they are found, the Predacons will outnumber them.

At the Predacon base, Dinobot emerges from the Predacon ship and is enraged declaring that the world they are on cannot be Earth. He looks over a golden disk stolen from the Maximals and tosses it away yelling at Megatron. Megatron emerges in his T-Rex mode as Dinobot challenges him to a battle for leadership. Megatron turns and ignores him and suddenly, Scorponok emerges and fires at Dinbot with his rockets, sending the disloyal Predacon flying off into the distance. Megatron orders the rest of the Predacons to seek out the Maximals and destroy them.

Meanwhile at Maximal base, Rattrap complains as the Maximals sift through their ship's wreckage. Optimus talks about the golden disk stolen by the Predacons. Rattrap questions Optimus' leadership skills as he complains more. Optimus Primal sighs, and states how he does not want a repeat of the last Great War. Cheetor comes out of the ship and sees a couple cheetahs running in the grasslands. He chases after them to show off his speed. Optimus Primal tries to radio him to return but Rhinox states that the com links don't work over 100 meters due to the energon fields on the planet. As Cheetor gets alongside the cheetahs, he says hi to them and the two run away in fear and Cheetor wonders what's wrong. He finds out as suddenly, a wasp hovers over him. Suddenly, Cheetor realizes what's going on and transforms yelling out "Cheetor Maximize!". He fires on Waspinator and Waspinator transforms yelling out "Waspinator Terrorize!".

Rattrap sees the battle and Primal hops onto Rhinox, grabs Rattrap and they run off to help their comrade. Suddenly, the rest of the Predacons show up. Optimus Primal tells Megatron that there is no need for fighting, that the peace between the Predacons and the Maximals for centuries should not be broken. Megatron states that the Predacons have merely been waiting for the right moment to strike. It is then Cheetor pops out from under Megatron and blasts him. And so the battle begins. The Predacons and Maximals transform into their respective robot modes. The Predacons barrage the Maximals with firepower and they take cover. Cheetor's leg becomes trapped under some rubble and he can't move. Optimus Primal orders Rattrap to go help Cheetor but Rattrap refuses. Primal grumbles and flies out to help Cheetor himself. Primal is hit by Megatron's blasts but manages to rescue Cheetor. As Rhinox and Rattrap provide cover fire, the Maximals run for it. Suddenly, the Predacons begin to short out from energon overload and revert back to their Beast modes.

On the way home, Optimus Primal berates Rattrap for disregarding his orders. Rattrap yells back that Primal was too scared himself to go. Optimus Primal states that he would not order anyone to do what he would not have done himself but tells Rattrap that his cover fire was more adequate to cover Rattrap than the other way around. Rattrap does not admit he's wrong but jokes the whole thing off.

As the Maximals get near home, they must cross a land bridge. But Dinobot stands between the Maximals and their base. He challenges Primal to a duel for leadership of the Maximals and states he has left the Predacons.

To Be Continued...

General Thoughts
Beast Wars Transformers starts off with a bang as the show provides rapid fire action, great character introductions and a set up of some interesting questions. This is a new generation of Transformers being presented to old and new fans alike, and it does its job well.

Comments

  • The basic story of the Maximals and Predacons crashing onto their 'strange and primitive' new home is very similar to the original Transformers story where the Autobots and Decepticons crashed onto Earth in the Ark.
  • Note that energon now takes the form of crystals which appear to be naturally forming at this point. Energon also plays a large role in the story now not only because it is a power source, but because of its high levels and threat to the Maximals and Predacons. Energon "cubes", used in the original series are later shown in season two of Beast Wars as a "stable" form of energon.
  • We learn that Cybertron does exist in this "continuity" which automatically takes it out of the Japanese Transformers continuity. Also note the "Great War" reference. It seems the "Great War" ended (as Primal indicates, if the Predacons get enough energon, they could "...start it again." indicating it has been over for some time). Optimus Primal also states "There has been peace between the Maximals and Predacons for centuries." to which Megatron states the Predacons never intended to keep their peace agreements.
  • The "Golden Disk" is meant to point towards a large source of energon. The "Golden disk" (as indicated in the script) is the disk included in the Earth Voyager probe, indicating the world the Predacons wanted to reach was Earth.
  • Mention of Cybertron indicates a relationship with the Autobots and Decepticons. It has been stated by Bob Forward that the Maximals and Predacons are the descendents of the Autobots and Decepticons respectively. This again alludes to a connection with the original series.
  • The Maximals and Predacons each use "activation codes" to transform, verbal cues that also alert the audience as to what is about to happen. The real story is that Hasbro/Kenner asked for some type of "catch phrase" to be used when the Transformers in Beast Wars transformed, thus came "Maximize" and "Terrorize"
  • Keep an eye out before the ships crash for "sneak peaks" at various pre-beast forms such as Rattrap, Megatron and Tarantulas. Most of these were just deconstructed versions of the CGI models without the "animal bits" on them. Years later, the Botcon comic book would explain that Megatron's form included an exo-suit he wore that formed around him in battle.
  • Optimus Primal's use of the word "Prime" is a nice nod to the Primes that came before him.
  • The communication problem will become a theme running throughout the series. An interesting side effect of the energon fields.
  • Optimus Primal tapping his chest to activate a communicator and the use of "Transwarp Drive" are both "Star Trek" references.

Questions

  1. Are Optimus Primal and Megatron the Optimus and Megatron?
    No. These two characters have simply taken on names of legends they admire.
  2. What are the Stasis Pods for?
    Stasis Pods will be used in the show as a plot device to introduce new characters as well as being resources for salvaged technology in later episodes.