Season 1 was very much like the original cartoon in terms of spirit and even writing. Most of the episode dealt with Megatron's (occasionally, some other Predacon) scheme of the week to defeat the Maximals (The Energon Discharge Virus, The Transmuter, The Transformation Lens, The Sonic Emitter, etc...), the Maximals and Predacons racing to obtain/secure something (The Trigger, Fallen Comrades, The Spark, Chain of Commands). Often these had another plot (and sometimes were the B plot themselves) to allow for more interesting stories. That and the smaller cast of characters allowed for greater characterization. After all, Beast Wars's first season*
17, Including the Unicron!Alien, Snowstalker and Starscream
had less characters total than Generation 1 had Autobots in its first episode*
Really the point I am trying to make is that season one followed the spirit of the original show more closely. Mostly standalone episodes dealing with the plot of the week, what little arc building we has was limited to a few episodes, otherwise being mostly subtle nods and vague insinuations, most of them you'd only fully catch on second viewing (like the repeated close-ups to the moon).
Season 2 on the other hand is a wholly different beast. It only has half the episode count of Season 1, and though surprising as it may sound, it probably played in the show's favor. Almost every episode, even those that are filler, have some connection to one of the seasons' main arcs (There's really only one episode without such a scene I can think about off the top of my head, and the closest runner-up introduces a new character entirely). For most fans, me included, Season 2 is the show's peak. Not to say season 3 wasn't any good, I consider it overall better than season 1, but Season 2 is more tightly scripted and about every other episodes are memorable.
Watching Season 2 is a journey, from the season opener to the season finale, like watching falling rocks suddenly form an avalanche. Small things leading to progressively bigger and greater things. It also takes risks. While season 1 did make references to G1 and its events, those were few, and mostly just Continuity Nods. Even Starscream's episode, Starscream being Starscream is just a bonus. In the end he could have been any traitorous Predacon guest star. Season 2 (and 3) however use the original show as backdrop, referring even to the event of some early episodes. Which has to be something that took some convincing to get the Execs to agree towards.
So without further delay, we'll go on to season 2 next update with 201 - Aftermath.
18th Feb '12 12:03:54 PM flag for mods
Richard Newman was on Friendship is Magic today. With him and Blu Mankuma down, who'll be the next Beast Wars actor?
18th Feb 12
Oh man, season 2... the finale for this STILL rings in my head. That shit was mindblowing when I was a kid, and I can't wait for you to cover it. : D