Thursday, September 19, 2019

Evolution Revolution

Today (yesterday for you) was the 20th anniversary of the premiere of Beast machines on Fox Kids. Beast Machines was one of those shows that upset a lot of people who had nothing else to do. Admittedly it took me a while to warm up to it as well, despite being the direct sequel to Beast Wars, it was a pretty big departure. The characters all acted different, they looked different, it was different. Despite change being the central theme of Transformers, it doesn't always go over well. In fairness, when established characters behave completely different the following season, it's jarring. Once I warmed up to the new show though, I found myself liking it quite a lot.

One thing I did enjoy immediately was the fact that the show was based on Cybertron. I like space opera and the post movie seasons of G1 I liked the best. For the record, I'm not concerned with alt modes in how much sense they make. They never do. It's a fun play gimmick that they shoehorned into a plot. To me it's always been a utilitarian type of thing more than a disguise despite how much the concept of disguise has been sold. Just like nobody complained about Laserbeak and Ravage in space, I'm not concerned with a monkey on Cybertron. Smaller more tactical alt forms makes more sense to me in tight fitting corridors and avoiding getting shot by hordes of enemies. Even without Beast Wars leading in, it just makes sense that a small group of survivors would pick forms that would help the evade and hide themselves. Besides, who the hell was Cosmos disguising himself from? Skeptics?

The show had a really mature theme and dark outlook. I'm not sure of the show runners were aware that it was intended for children, it felt way more like something made for the Sci Fi Channel. That's another thing that drew me in, I was 21 and it was 1999. Darker and edgier stuff was my cup of tea and pretty much everything had gone hardcore as well. Then you have the updated designs, the Vehicons look more at home in something like Evangelion or other far out mecha shows. That was definitely the cool thing at the time in robot shows and BM utilized it really well.

A lot of people didn't like Nightscream. That's one thing I never got. I loved him. I thought he looked cool and he was based on John Connor from Terminator 2. That's something I really liked. Everybody has the right to their own opinion of course, but if it's not the popular one good grief. I never lost any sleep over it though. If you're still whining about a cartoon character you didn't like 20 years later, good lord find something to do. There's literally actual important things happening right now and since then.

20 years later, I still enjoy the show. Is it my favorite? No, just one of the shows from the past 35 years that I enjoyed. There is something novel about a 20 year old show that upset everything so much that the franchise did a complete about face. Or as much as I joke about fanboys crying about a 20 year old cartoon they didn't like, there is something to be said that they're still complaining 20 years later. Sometimes a paradigm shift doesn't last, but I can appreciate it non-the-less.

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