[[caption-width-right:300:The Next Evolution of the Beast Wars]]

->'''Cheetor:''' So what ''are'' we? Robots or animals?\\
'''Optimus:''' Both...and neither.\\
'''Blackarachnia:''' Well, that sure clears it up.

''Beast Machines'' was the followup cartoon and toyline to ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars''; like its predecessor, it was animated entirely in {{CGI}} by Creator/MainframeEntertainment but featured a massive change to the production and writing staff. It begins a new story with the characters of ''Beast Wars'' but in general is not considered a continuous storyline.

The story opens with Optimus Primal in his original ''Beast Wars'' body, awakening on Cybertron to find the planet deserted and himself being pursued by Vehicons, a strange race of sparkless Transformers under the control of Megatron, who, as it's further revealed, has somehow managed to conquer Cybertron. Unable to transform, Optimus runs, and manages to find some of his fellow surviving Maximals. Deep beneath the surface of Cybertron, they manage to find the Oracle supercomputer, which reformats them into 'technorganic' beings, a perfect blend of biological and technological parts. From then on, they embark on a mission to restore organic life to Cybertron and bring down Megatron.

The tone and feel of the story were substantially different to ''Beast Wars''. Where ''Wars'' followed small groups of Maximals and Predacons through a sometimes serious, sometimes tongue-in-cheek (and sometimes both) battle on prehistoric Earth, ''Machines'' took a small group of severely outnumbered Maximals who were forced to rely on stealth and guerilla warfare. Noted ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'' comic writer SimonFurman has complained that ''Beast Machines'' was '[[WhatDoYouMeanItsForKids too]] [[DarkerAndEdgier dark]]' [[AnimationAgeGhetto for a children's cartoon]]. And when you see some of Simon Furman's work... too dark for ''him'' is impressive.

Several items deserve particular noting. The CGI was top-notch, [[AnimationBump arguably even better than the already impressive stuff]] from the end of ''Beast Wars'', and it still holds up today, although the heavily stylized take on the design was not for everyone. And while ''Beast Wars'' provided the concept, this show is an even larger source of information about the origin and properties of sparks, the [[OurSoulsAreDifferent soul]] of a Transformer.

When it aired, it had the [[ContinuityLockout strongest]] {{continuity}} of any cartoon ever shown in America or Canada. It also brought the animated Generation 1 continuity to an end, though it would continue in comic book form.

So far, this show is the only ''Transformers'' cartoon to take place entirely on Cybertron, and not to feature any humans or human ancestors, with the exception of one very brief flashback.

''Beast Machines'' tried to tackle such concepts as loyalty, individuality, the merits of freedom vs. chaos, and the challenges of living in an increasingly technological society. This over-ambitious aim, coupled with the ContinuityLockout and the radical departure in tone from its predecessor, as well as some ''massive'' departure from the ''Beast Wars'''s characterizations in some cases, turned this show into one of the most hated ''Transformers'' incarnations of all time when it aired; the sheer backlash over it at the time led to Hasbro scrapping a planned SequelSeries named ''[[ComicBook/TransformersTransTech Transtech]]'' in favor of dubbing ''Anime/TransformersRobotsInDisguise''. However, with the subsequent release of the (generally lower-quality) Anime/UnicronTrilogy as well as readier access to Japanese post-[[Franchise/TransformersGeneration1 G1]] series, coupled with the gap from the Beast Wars continuity and new fans watching it as a work of its own; ''Beast Machines'' is now looked upon somewhat more favorably, though it's hardly universal.

The toys were a mixed bag. The Vehicons had a living machine theme, and the toys were generally pretty good, but [[ShowAccuracyToyAccuracy looked nothing like the characters on screen]]. The Maximals aimed for a technological animal feel, but were of mixed quality and exceedingly show-inaccurate. Better quality, show-accurate toys were later released as part of the "Battle for the Spark" Beast Machines subline, and a few were held over until the ''[[Anime/TransformersRobotsInDisguise Robots in Disguise]]'' line.

It has a [[Characters/BeastMachines character sheet]].
!!This show provides examples of:
* ABoyAndHisX: Nightscream and Noble Have this relationship after [[spoiler: Megatron's consciousness exits Noble.]]
* AceCustom: The Vehicon generals have slightly different, more colourful paint jobs than their drone soldiers.
* AffirmativeActionGirl: Botanica joins the Maximals in the second season and the Vehicons get their first female since Blackarachnia one episode after that.
* AfterTheEnd: Cybertron under Megatron's control becomes a barren and empty nightmare patrolled by Vehicons.
* AntiClimax: Subverted. In "Fallout" after his vision at the start of the episode transforms to robot mode to seemingly engage Megatron and Tankor in a big climatic duel, [[spoiler: than sees Megatron and Tankor being atomized by the Plasma Energy Chamber before he can even touch them]]. We then see the ''real'' climax: [[spoiler: Optimus using his powers to save Cybertron and deactivate all the drones]].
* ApocalypseHow: A ApocalypseHow/ClassX was narrowly averted. The Oracle reveals that the combination of plasma energy and the energy from the key to Vector Sigma would have produced this, utterly destroying Cybertron.
* AppliedPhlebotinum: Organic goo pretty much fulfills this role.
* ArcWords: "The seeds of the future lie buried in the past."
* ArtEvolution: A step up even from the last few episodes of WesternAnimation/BeastWars, and [[DullSurprise Energon's CGI]] made it look even better in hindsight.
* AxCrazy: Jetstorm completely enjoys causing destruction.
* BackFromTheBrink: When the group arrives on Cybertron, Megatron has pretty much [[TheBadGuyWins already won]] and conquered the planet. The heroes are soon {{Mode Lock}}ed and being hunted down by Megatron's massive army, having pretty much no one they can turn to since the entire planet has pretty much had their sparks stolen. The only thing that saved Cybertron was the Oracle stepping in and reformatting them.
* BittersweetEnding: The ending of the series:[[spoiler:[[TheHeroDies Optimus]] sacrifices his life to stop [[BigBad Megatron]], reformatting Cybertron. After both are destroyed, the other Maximals wake up in a technorganic Cybertron. The freed Transformers, with their sparks once again in their bodies, run over the horizon, ready to assume control of the newly technorganic Cybertron.]]
* BookEnds:
** The very first shot is an organic flower, which is crushed underfoot by a tank drone. In the final episode, Botanica causes a bunch of the same flower to bloom across Cybertron, and the very final shot is one of them.
** When Optimus Primal is reformatted in the first episode, the Oracle gives a speech involving 'great transformations'. Optimus gives the exact same speech to Megatron in the last episode as they [[spoiler:fall to the organic core]].
** The very last line spoken is by Cheetor. Cheetor also got the very first line in ''Beast Wars'', so this works as a bookend to the entire Beast Era, as well as signifying Cheetor's [[CharacterDevelopment progression]] from naive rookie to capable commander.
*** Cheetor's fight in the penultimate episode acts as a book end to his first battle in ''Beast Wars''. In the first series, he is head-strong, gets into a one-on-one fight he has to struggle through due to inexperience and only survives because of the others' arrival. Here, he still struggles, but is much smarter about his approach and emerges victorious all on his own. Additionally, [[spoiler:his final opponent is Thrust, who is of course really Waspinator - his first opponent in ''Beast Wars''.]]
* BroughtDownToNormal: After crash-landing on Cybertron, the Maximals [[spoiler:were stripped of their Transmetal bodies and returned to their Season 1 forms by Megatron's virus, at least until the Oracle reformatted them.]]
** In "Spark of Darkness", Megatron's spark ends up trapped in the body of one of his tiny, unarmed diagnostic drones.
* CallBack: A fairly subtle, clever one: Megatron's selection of [[spoiler: Rhinox]] for one of his generals seems odd, until you remember that Megatron saw what he was capable of when he was infected with a Predacon virus back in season 1 of ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars''. Not only is [[spoiler: Rhinox]] capable of Machiavellian scheming beyond even Megatron's skills, but he's also given to overconfident gloating, both traits that Megatron takes advantage of.
* CardCarryingVillain: Thrust and Jetstorm take on this role, while Megatron ironically believes he is doing good:
-->'''Thrust:''' Nothin' noble 'bout us, boy!\\
'''Jetstorm:''' But savage? That we can do!
* ChekhovsGunman: [[spoiler: The Diagnostic Drone]], who plays an integral part in the Season 1 Finale.
* ColourCodedForYourConvenience: After reformatting, the Maximals's sparks are colored differently. The list below also applies the lights emerging from their transformation and their robot form's eyes.
** Blue: Optimus Primal
** Magenta: Cheetor
** Green: Black Arachnia
** Red: Rattrap
** Cyan: Nightscream and Botanica
** Yellow: Silverbolt
* DarkerAndEdgier: The show has a much more serious and bleaker tone than ''Beast Wars'' due to Megatron taking over Cybertron and imprisoning the sparks of nearly all Cybertronians. Optimus Primal and the other Maximals spend a good deal of the series trying to evade Megatron's forces and set things right again.
* DeathEqualsRedemption: In "Fallout" [[spoiler:Rhinox's spark]] expressed regret over his recent actions and [[spoiler:he becomes one with the Matrix]].
* DivineIntervention: The Oracle/Allspark's part in the story could be considered this. Optimus treats it with the reverence of a god, while Megatron considers it a malfunctioning computer.
* DownerEnding: An overwhelming number of the episodes in this series end on a bad note.
* DudeNotFunny: Occurs in "Forbidden Fruit" when Rattrap makes a remark to Optimus that he should save his advice for Rhinox and Silverbolt, who had gone missing since the start of the series. Cheetor and Blackarachnia are quick to call Rattrap out on his retort, the former stating that the remark is low even for him and the latter pointing out that Optimus is burdened by the guilt of being unable to save Rhinox and Silverbolt.
* DyingMomentOfAwesome: Optimus gets a ''lot'' of practice at this.
* EverybodysDeadDave: Technically speaking, the population of Cybertron isn't dead, just having a massive planetwide out-of-body experience, their disembodied [[OurSoulsAreDifferent sparks]] stuffed into a closet somewhere. Practically speaking, they're dead.
* EvilPlan: Megatron's endgame is to purge Cybertron of free will, individuality, and Organic matter before [[spoiler: absorbing the Sparks of his entire species and becoming a PhysicalGod]]. Yipes.
* FaceHeelTurn: [[spoiler:Tankor turns out to house the spark of Rhinox, who plans to stop Megatron only so he can carry out his scheme on his own terms]].
* FamilyFriendlyFirearms: Unlike Beast Wars, actual guns and missiles were banned from Beast Machines, probably at the insistence of Fox Kids. So the Maximals fought with various types of energy projection and swords (in Cheetor's case), while the Vehicons had in-built weapons. Averted in the final episode as Optimal Megatron fires missiles at Optimus Primal several times.
* FantasticRacism: Megatron has developed a burning hatred of organic life and desires to wipe it out completely.
* FleshVersusSteel: The show has the technorganic Maximals fight against the completely robotic Vehicon forces of Megatron. Ultimately {{subverted}} with the aim of delivering the [[MoralOfTheStory message]] that nature and technology shouldn't be enemies.
* {{Foreshadowing}}:
** In episode six, the shadow cast by Thrust foreshadows quite blatantly that he contains the spark of [[spoiler:Silverbolt, but whoops not really]].
** Played straight in the very same episode with Jetstorm, [[spoiler: who refers to himself as "the handsome devil with the silver wings."]]
** A subtle example in the opening sequence. [[spoiler: the last thing we see before the title is a zooming-out view of Cheetor standing alone, hinting at his promotion to TheLeader at the end of the show.]]
* ForgotICouldFly: [[spoiler: Megatron, while suffering a ''DisneyVillainDeath.'']]
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: WesternAnimation/BeastWars was ''legendary'' for this. ''WesternAnimation/BeastMachines'' was far less naughty than its predecessor, but when it did this, it was even more audacious.
** In "Home Soil," Thrust clearly gives Optimus The finger (helps that he only has three on each hand). Optimus is unamused.
*** In the same episode, we have Blackarachnia ''checking herself out'' in the background before glaring at Botanica. Feeling inadequate, Legs?
** The [[{{Fanservice}} pose]] Blackarachnia takes while transforming ''has'' to be intentional.
** We get this little gem from Rattrap and Botanica in "Spark of Darkness":
-->'''Botanica''': What would you rather be doing? Sticking your tail into a computer circuit?
-->'''Rattrap''': Eh, sure beats the heck out of [[InnocentInnuendo plowing your little field of dreams!]]
* HappyEndingOverride: For WesternAnimation/BeastWars. So the Maximals were heading back to Cybertron with Megatron chained to the roof of their Autobot shuttle, right? Turns out [[spoiler: Megatron broke free during the trip, falling into the time vortex and ending up sometime in Cybertron's past. By the time the Maximals arrive home Megatron has conquered the planet with his Vehicon armies, the Transformers are on the verge of extinction, and the Maximals are quickly shot down and infected with his anti-transformation virus.]]
** Waspinator was last seen living a life of luxury with the neanderthals on prehistoric Earth, "Waspinator happy at last." [[spoiler: Except the pre-humans got sick of him and tossed him out, forcing him to take the slow way back to Cybertron, where he was captured and spark-extracted by Megatron with the rest of the population.]]
* HatePlague: The Maximals have some trouble with a mutation of the original in "A Wolf in the Fold."
* HeWhoFightsMonsters: Optimus slides further and further into fanaticism as the first season draws to a close. [[spoiler: And then subverts it awesomely in the second season premiere when he realizes that forcing organic life to take over machinery would make him no different from Megatron and the Oracle gave him the mission to achieve balance between nature and technology rather than to have nature win over technology.]]
* HowDoIShotWeb: The initial four Maximals in this series have difficulty adapting to being biomechanical, particularly Rattrap who doesn't figure out how to transform until "The Weak Component". Maximals introduced later have no such difficulties, with Nightscream, Silverbolt and Botanica understanding the process with no training at all.
* {{Hypocrite}}: Blackarachnia has a moment in "The Weak Component", when [[spoiler: her response to finding out about the deal Rattrap cut with Megatron is declare him a traitor and attack. She's certainly one to talk.]]
** She gets another hypocrite moment when [[spoiler: she forcibly turns Jetstorm back into Silverbolt against his will. Not only had she promised not to do something like that (Jetstorm had made ''very'' clear that he didn't want to be Silverbolt again), but she had previously deserted the Maximals because [[ItsAllAboutMe she was horrified by the thought of that happening to her]]. Double-points for the fact that she does it despite the massive amount of horrendous pain it clearly causes Jetstorm.]]
* IDidWhatIHadToDo: In Part 1 of the GrandFinale, [[spoiler:Rattrap says this word-for-word when Cheetor and Optimus Primal question his actions after Rattrap launches Botanica into an escape pod to save her life]].
* IdiotBall:
** For a pair of brilliant generals, Obsidian and Strika have a hard time figuring out that [[spoiler: standing on an anti-gravity platform]] isn't the best of ideas.
** Optimus suffers this in the first season finale. His final scene in "The Catalyst" sees him concerned that "[[spoiler:the Oracle has been tampered with]]." But in "End of the Line," he [[spoiler:trusts what he ''thinks'' is an Oracle vision without question]]. At the very least, Cheetor calls him out on this.
* {{Irony}}: And it is ''glorious:''
** When Megatron recreates [[spoiler: Rhinox, Waspinator, and Silverbolt into his first Vehicon generals he gives them personalities that are the polar opposite of their former selves. SmartGuy Rhinox becomes dumb brute Tankor. Noble, heroic Silverbolt becomes the sadistic, LargeHam bully Jetstorm. And ButtMonkey ChewToy Waspinator becomes "[[BadassBiker cool biker-bot]]" Thrust.]] Knowing Megatron, it was probably very intentional.
** Megatron uses [[spoiler: the Optimal Optimus body]] to try and finish off that meddlesome Optimus in the finale. With the [[spoiler: Optimus Prime-style helmet]] and everything. How fitting that the Maximals' cause would almost be laid to ruin with ''that.''
** Said [[spoiler: Optimal body, even expanded to massive proportions and supercharged with the sparks of the entire planet's population]], is too slow and unwieldy for Megatron to stop Optimus from [[spoiler: plunging them both into the organic core with a well-placed energy blast. ''[[DeathByIrony Ouch.]]'']]
** Lest you forget the greatest one of all: [[spoiler: Megatron's [[FamousLastWords Famous Last Word]]. Yes, it's a BigNo]].
--->'''Megatron:'''[[spoiler: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! ''(Falls into the core and dies)'']]
* KilledOffForReal: [[spoiler: Rhinox/Tankor]] is fried in the season 2 premiere, [[spoiler: Noble]] is killed by Megatron, who also ''[[spoiler: devours]]'' several sparks in the same episode. Then, of course, we have [[spoiler: Optimus Primal and Megatron falling into Cybertron's organic core]] in the GrandFinale. As is appropriate, it's a ''huge'' DyingMomentOfAwesome for [[spoiler: Optimus]], as [[spoiler: Cybertron is reformatted]] as a result.
* LanternJawOfJustice: Optimus's reformatted body has a huge chin in robot mode.
* LargeHam: Jetstorm could give Inferno ''and'' Megatron a run for their money in the ham department.
* LaughablyEvil: Jetstorm, thanks to being quite the showboater.
* MadeOfExplodium: All of Cybertron. Lasers hit pavement? Boom. Sword hits bridge? Boom-boom-boom-boom-boom. Maybe that was why they needed to reformat the planet.
* MatrixRainingCode: Megatron appears as a hologram composed of this on several occasions in Season 2.
* MetaphorIsMyMiddleName: The Vehicon Generals' introduction, after Blackarachnia called them "mindless drones":
--> '''Jetstorm''': ''Only three things wrong with that little theory: One, we're not drones, two, we're not mindless, and three, '''[[BadassBoast problem's my middle name]]'''.''
* MythArc: One of the first ''Transformers'' shows to have one, the series' premise involving the surviving Maximals adjusting to their reformatted forms while also trying to put a stop to Megatron's reign over Cybertron.
* NecessaryDrawback: In combination with a Necessary Advantage. Their new technorganic robot forms give them weapons and advanced combat abilities, but Rattrap learns by accident that their beast forms shield them from the Vehicon sensors. Both forms were needed in order to survive.
* NeverSayDie: Subverted. In the first few episodes this is played straight with replacements like "sparkless body" and "extinguished spark", but as the series progresses, death and dying are referred to directly more and more often.
** There is a difference in between the two terms, however. We see in several occasions that even if a tranformer's spark has left their body, it can still be reunited and they can be brought back to life.
* NotSoHarmlessVillain: Tankor initially appears to be your standard dim-witted thug, then it turns out [[spoiler:that he houses Rhinox's spark, and Rhinox isn't a good guy anymore]].
* OffModel:
** The models for Vehicon generals Jetstorm, Thrust and Tankor often get confused with the models of the drones they command.
** Megatron's eye scar also can't decide whether it should be over his right eye (its proper place) or his left.
* PlotTumour: Sparks, an interesting and occasionally important aspect of the ''Transformers'' [[{{Mythology}} mythos]], introduced in ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'', ends up being central to the plot of ''Beast Machines''.
* RedHerring: It's consistently hinted throughout the first season that Thrust has Silverbolt's spark, [[spoiler:when in reality, it's Jetstorm who does. Thrust has [[ButtMonkey Waspinator's]] spark]].
* RedOniBlueOni: Loads. Cheetor and Optimus, Rattrap and Botanica, Jetstorm and Thrust, Strika and Obsidian, Blackarachnia and Silverbolt, Nightscream and Silverbolt, [[OverlyLongGag Everyone]] [[RuleOfThree and Silverbolt]]...
* TheReveal: The true identities of the Vehicon generals; [[spoiler: Tankor is Rhinox, Jetstorm is Silverbolt, and Thrust is '''Waspinator!''']]
* SameCharacterButDifferent: One of the main reasons this series gets a lot of criticism is that the characters' characterizations aren't completely consistent with the original series, most notably with Optimus Primal becoming an extremist who is so focused on the mission that he thinks little of the other Maximals' feelings.
* SapientTank: Tankor, the dim-witted tank Vehicon [[spoiler: at least until Rhinox's personality resurfaces again]].
* SequelSeries: The series is a follow-up to the previous series ''Beast Wars''.
* ShoutOut: From "Revelations: Part 1", while attacking the others:
--> '''Jetstorm''': ''All I need's a spider, and I've got the whole set. [[Franchise/{{Pokemon}} Gotta catch 'em all!]]''
* TheSmurfettePrinciple: Initially, Blackarachnia is the sole female character for the first season and half of the second, [[SubvertedTrope but is then joined by Botanica. Strika, a female Vehicon general appears an episode after Botanica makes her appearance]].
* TheStarscream: [[spoiler: Rhinox/Tankor attempts to overthrow Megatron and carry out his plan on his own terms]]
* ThoseTwoBadGuys: Jetstorm and Thrust, Strika and Obsidian.
* TookALevelInBadass:
** Cheetor, as part of his promotion from the KidAppealCharacter in ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' to TheLancer in ''WesternAnimation/BeastMachines.''
** Silverbolt -- from a KnightInShiningArmor who was only really dangerous if you [[BerserkButton hurt Blackarachnia]] to an angsty AntiHero who ''mows'' down Vehicon soldiers.
** Thrust is perhaps the greatest example of this in the whole Transformers mythos. [[spoiler: He used to be [[TheChewToy Waspinator]].]]
** Megatron, already a badass, went from a humorous campy villain in WesternAnimation/BeastWars to a rather dark character and believable threat in this series. It's one of the ''only'' character changes that have been well received -- though not by everyone, some of whom complain that his humor was a large part of his charm and his hatred of all things organic is out of character.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: We never find out what happens to [[spoiler: Strika and Obsidian after Cheetor shoots them into orbit. There was supposed to be a scene of them being brought back down to Cybertron in the epilogue, but it was cut for time.]]
* WhatTheHellHero:
** "The Weak Component" has several instances. Megatron, of all people, calls Blackarachnia, Cheetor and Nightscream on mistreating Rattrap and Optimus for promising more than he can deliver. For their part, [=BCN=] call Rattrap out on making a deal with Megatron and Optimus calls him for attacking them.
** In the first season finale, [[spoiler:Optimus]] calls upon the energies of Cybertron in a last-ditch attack against [[spoiler:Megatron]], knowing full well that [[spoiler:everything mechanical on Cybertron will be annihilated.]] His response? "If this is the Will of the Matrix, so be it!" [[spoiler: Thankfully, the Allspark calls him out on it and allows him to redeem himself.]]
** The first season had Optimus and Cheetor at odds over pretty much every decision. Some arguments might have been forced, but in "End of the Line", Cheetor really lets Optimus have it over intending [[spoiler:to use the Plasma Energy Chamber to annihilate all machinery on Cybertron]] to stop Megatron.
--->"You unleash this thing and you're no better than he is!"
* YouFool: During a confrontation in "The Key":
-->'''Optimus:''' Enough! I am transformed!\\
'''[[spoiler:Rhinox]]:''' You are a fool, Optimus Primal!