Just three typical, average kids.Beetleborgs
was a live-action series produced by Saban Entertainment
and aired on Fox
. Called Big Bad Beetleborgs
in the first season and changed to Beetleborgs Metallix
in the second. A Power Rangers
show, it incorporated footage from a Japanese show (in this case, the Metal Heroes
shows, Juukou B-Fighter
and B-Fighter Kabuto
) with new footage created in the United States. The show lasted from September 1996 to March 1998.
Unlike Power Rangers
, this show made little attempt to be serious, being more light-hearted and comical (meaning that it makes even the early seasons of Power Rangers
look like a Sam Peckinpah film). It also had a storyline completely different from its Japanese counteparts. It even aimed to a younger demographic, evidenced by the heroes being 9-10 years old
It starred three typical all-American kids: Drew McCormick, his sister Jo, and their best friend
Roland Williams, whose family owns the local comic shop, where they spend most of their time. On a dare from some bullies, they go inside the local "Haunted House
." Once inside, they free Flabber, a wacky ghost with Elvis Presley's hair, Jay Leno's chin, Liberace's wardrobe, and all just generally filtered through The Joker
, who had been imprisoned in the pipe organ. Flabber cannot thank the kids enough, so he offers to grant a wish for them. The three young comic book fans know what they want, and that is to be able to transform into their favorite superheroes, The Big Bad Beetleborgs
. Flabber grants their wish, and the children are given the power to turn into the heroes, but now that the heroes exist in the real world, the villains from the comic book likewise come to life to spread chaos
(via the Monster of the Week
The three friends, with their new powers and a little help from Flabber, must stop them. This is complicated by the "House Monsters", comic relief monsters (Count Fangula, a vampire; Wolfgang, a werewolf; Mums, a mummy; Frankenbeans, a Frankenstein's Monster
, and later Little Ghoul a... er, little ghoul
), who often try to eat the kids, but generally have to settle for eating the screen-time.
The second season had an exchange of villains and subsequently an exchange of costumes, with a new ally in the artist who created the comics and his evil brother working for the new bad guys. Slightly Darker and Edgier
but nothing too shocking. The show remained relatively popular, but like Power Rangers
the source footage eventually ran out. Unlike Rangers
, there was no follow-up series to adapt (well technically there was
, but it was drastically different from the previous B-Fighter
shows and was somehow even more kid-friendly than Beetleborgs
As of June 2011, the entire series (along with VR Troopers
and Power Rangers
) is available for streaming on Netflix.
This comes with a character sheet
This show features examples of:
- Advertising Only Continuity: A commercial which claimed that the bad guys and the borgs were aliens from another planet, when they were actually kids who wished to become the comic book heroes, the Beetleborgs.
- Another Big Bad Beetleborgs commercial had generic mutants represent their enemies.
- Animal-Themed Superbeing
- Animorphism: In Metallix the kids gained the ability to turn into actual beetles.
- Art Initiates Life: Monsters are created from comic books in the first season and Les' new drawings in the second. And, of course, most if not all upgrades to the Beetleborgs' gear are drawn by Art Fortunes, the creator of the comic.
- Bayonet Ya: Sonic Laser Sabers, which each split into a Sonic Laser and a Pulsaber.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: On several occasions, the bad guys prove to be more than the Beetleborgs can handle.
- Big Bad:
- Vexor in the first season, Nukus in the second.
- The trope's name itself is averted with the first season's title, Big Bad Beetleborgs ("Bad" as in "cool", not "evil"). None of the Beetleborgs would ever qualify as the primary villain, though Shadowborg is so far the only evil Beetleborg.
- Big Good Beetleborg: Roboborg.
- Bob Papenbrook: Shadowborg, Scorpix
- By the Power of Grayskull!: Beetle Blast!
- In case of Blue Stinger becoming Mega Blue, it's Mega Blast!
- Inverted with Back Blast!, causing the Beetleborgs to revert to their kid-appeal selves.
- Subverted with Bug out! in spite of transforming into actual-sized beetles, also inverted with Bug back!
- Cain and Abel: The Fortunes brothers, Art and Les.
- Camp Gay: Never an overtly stated preference, but Flabber IS patterned partly on Liberace.
- Celestial Bureaucracy: The Beetleborgs version of vampirism is somewhere between this and a pyramid scheme.
- Chest Blaster: Lightning Borg
- Competitive Balance
- Cool Old Lady: Roland's grandmother, Nano.
- Cousin Oliver: Parodied. Drew and Jo have a cousin named Oliver who they, and the Magnavores, find incredibly annoying.
- Christmas Episode: "Christmas Bells and Phasm's Spells."
- Chromatic Arrangement: In the first season.
- Continuity Cameo: Janperson (renamed "Karato") makes a cameo in "Convention Dimension" alongside his rival Gun Gibson (as "Silver Ray") and his nemesis Billgoldy (as "Goldex"). Since Tokusou Robo Janperson was never adapted into an Americanized series, his cameo is treated as another fictional superhero who lives in his own universe, much like the Beetleborgs themselves.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Don't push Wolfie too far. He was the only monster to try to help the Beetleborgs when they were getting thrashed by Nukus. It didn't help much, but he was actually able to touch the guy, which the heroes couldn't.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Several, but most striking was when Nukus easily thrashed the Beetleborgs and destroyed their powers like it was nothing. Even after they get an upgrade, their first fight with him didn't go well.
- Cute Bruiser: Jo. The youngest member of the trio, and the only girl, is the one with super-strength.
- Cut Short: The Beetleborgs never got to defeat the Crustaceans due to the show running out of B-Fighter Kabuto footage.
- Daywalking Vampire: Count Fangula tends to wear sunglasses when he goes outside, and mentions that sunlight has a bad effect on his "complexion", but is otherwise all right. He appears to avoid long-term exposure to sunlight, but a few hours' worth do him no harm.
- Department of Redundancy Department: The theme song refers to the heroes as 'three typical average kids'.
"Hey look, now they're superheroes, armed with super powers." (Not all superheroes have powers, though.)
- Evil Counterpart: The Magnavores, the villains of the first season, spring into existence from the same comic book that the Beetleborg powers originated from, to serve as a counter-balance to the kids having the powers of the book's heroes; whereas the Shadowborg is a direct counterpart to the Beetleborgs.
- Inverted with Josh/the White Beetleborg - His powers were solely dependent on the existence of the Shadowborg, and faded shortly after the destruction of the Shadowborg.
- In some ways, Les Fortunes is this to his brother.
- Roboborg and Boron.
- Expository Theme Tune
- Eye Beams
- Four-Bad Band: One in each season:
- The Magnavores:
- And the Crustaceans:
- First Episode Weirdness: The one of the two rich kids who is later established as "the Jock" boasts of becoming captain of the Chess Club. The Pipettes seem to be set up for a much more pivotal role. And what's going on with Mums???
- Five-Man Band: Played straight with the Hillhurst Monsters, but averted with the Beetleborg kids themselves.
- Foreshadowing: Josh arrives in town, and promptly woos Drew's crush, and is generally well liked by everyone except Drew; at the same time an evil counterpart to the Beetleborgs appears & beats them at every opportunity. I wonder how they're going to get out of this...
- Fourth Beetleborgs: Josh Baldwin in season 1, Astral Borgs in season 2.
- "Freaky Friday" Flip: Season 1, episode 44, "The Good, The Bad, and the Scary." The Borgs switch bodies (and powers) with the Magnavors.
- For the Evulz: The primary motivation of the villains, leading to such petty activities as stealing pirate books from the library so that the heroes will get bad grades in their classes, or stealing a train because seeing a model one makes them think it would be a good idea. They have a secondary motivation in trying to seal shut the portal to the comic book universe, but their 2-D counterparts aren't mentioned to have any such complex goals.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In one episode, a "personal trainer" for the monsters looks more like an S&M leatherdaddy, complete with flail.
- Fangula: "Are we paying extra for the abuse?"
- Goofy Print Underwear: A recurring theme, occurring more than once in the first episode. Count Fangula's underwear has little bats.
- Halloween Episode: Two of them, actually: "Bye Bye, Frankie" (Season 1) and "Halloween Haunted House of Horrors" (Season 2).
- Headless Horseman: In "Headless Over Heels", the Headless Horseman had an encounter with Wolfgang in the old country and allergies to him is what made him lose his head. When he arrives in Charterville looking for his head, he thought Wolfgang had it and tried to claim it back (or take the head of the other Hillhurst monsters). It turns out that Little Ghoul had his head which she used for bowling and ended up giving it back. Bolts were attached to the head to keep it from falling off again.
- Heel-Face Turn: Boron in the final episode.
- Henshin Hero
- Heroic BSOD: Weird example with Fangula. He has continually tried to eat the protagonists, but they've also been on the same side on a few occasions. Then, Vlad the Impaler shows up to get him in trouble for not working enough evil in the community. Maybe, if not for vampiric regulations, he would have had a Heel-Face Turn long ago? Either way, he has an undeniable BSOD.
- Hit Flash: Of the Batman variety; justified in that the heroes are based on comic book characters.
- Hello, Nurse!: Monsterella was created specifically to evoke this reaction in the monsters.
- The Bride of Frankenbeans gets a similar reaction.
- So does a date Wolfie gets through a computer dating service. The trope is used verbatim, although pronounced more like "Rerrooo Rurse".
- Hypocritical Humor: Count Fangula hates fleas because they drink blood from unsuspecting victims. Apparently, only some parasites can pull that off.
- I'm a Humanitarian: The monsters, played for laughs. If it wasn't for "Blood Light", Fangula would probably starve to death.
- Japanese Beetle Brothers, rounded out by a ladybug
- Jumped at the Call
- Kid Appeal Characters: The three typical average kids themselves.
- Lawful Stupid: Pretty much any law enforcement agency in the series, which is why three actual children wind up enforcing so much of the peace and order.
- Leitmotif: Each of the Stock Superpowers has an audio track to match.
- Losing Your Head: There is one episode in Metallix where Roland, Drew, and Jo attempt to remove their heads. In the end of "Headless Over Heels", the Hillhurst Monsters sneeze their heads off their bodies thanks to sneezing powder.
- The Mirror Shows Your True Self: Used for a sight gag. Flabber hands Fangula a mirror, saying it will show what you see when you look up "obnoxious" in a dictionary. Fangula, of course, doesn't have a reflection, so the intended insult falls flat.
- Monster Mash
- Monster of the Week
- Monster Roommate: The heroes get their powers from a benign entity apparently confined to a house also populated by more hostile monsters.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Vlad the Impaler.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Seemingly averted, until Vlad the Impaler shows up to investigate allegations of Fangula not drinking enough blood.
- Powered Armor
- Product Placement: Subversion. In the episode "It's a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad World", take a look at the "Fountain Don't" bottles. They're like Mountain Dew.
- Psycho Rangers: The Mantrons.
- Puns: Too many to list, especially when Flabber is on the screen.
- Put on a Bus: Josh loses his powers, and says he'll be around if the team ever needs him again... And he was never seen again.
- Red Is Heroic: Averted, the blue Beetleborg is the leader, not red, who turned out to be The Smurfette Principle.
- Scratch Damage: An unusual example if you think too hard about it. When Nukus appeared, the Beetleborgs stood no chance against him. Between their defeat and acquiring their Metallix powers, they learned a spell that let them turned into beetles, which they once used around Nukus. They had to distract him, so they bit his foot...making him yelp out in pain.
- The Scully: The monsters, in a certain episode of the first season, refuse to believe in the existence of the so-called "Charterville Charlie". This, despite the monsters consisting of a werewolf, a vampire, a mummy, a Frankenstein's monster, and whatever a "phasm" is, and living in a town regularly threatened by hybrid monsters from a comic book universe.
- Jo says, "there's no such thing as the Boogerman"...to a vampire.
- Self-Destructive Charge: At the conclusion of the Shadowborg arc, Vexxor comes down to deal with the Beetleborgs himself. At first he blasts them away, but they steel their resolve and charge at him, straight through his lighting blasts. They manage to impale him with their weapons, causing him to explode. The borgs are fine. Unfortunately, so is Vexxor.
- Spiritual Successor: Originally Saban planned to adapt B-Fighter into a third season of VR Troopers, but they decided to start from scratch instead with a new Americanized adaptation of the Metal Heroes franchise.
- So Last Season: The change to Metallix.
- Stock Superpowers
- Stupid Evil: The house monsters will take any opportunity to try to eat the kids, even when the kids have JUST saved them from some dire fate. Of course, the kids all have civilian powers that mean they can more than take care of themselves.
- Sunnydale Syndrome: The Magnavores run down the street in broad daylight, committing havok and assaulting people, but nobody notices until they're being explicitly threatened. This isn't even counting the constant Monster of the Week battles, or the fact that the comic book superheroes everyone in town seems to love so much are constantly showing up to save the day.
- Super Mode: Mega Blue, and later the Mega Spectra Beetleborgs
- Super Robot: Roboborg and Boron
- Surrounded by Idiots: Vexor in regards to the Magnavores.
- Swiss Army Gun: Each Beetleborg in season 1 carried the Sonic Laser, a gun with a 10-key keypad that can fire different ammunition. In season 2, they carry the Data Lasers, which fires different ammo depending on the Input card inserted inside.
- Terrible Trio: Noxic, Typhus, and Jara in season 1. The Crustaceans in season 2.
- íThree Amigos!: Titular heroes.
- Those Two Guys: The rich bullies.
- Title Theme Tune
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Nano and Roland's mother, Abbie.
- Transformation Sequence
- True Companions: The Monsters are constantly trying to eat the kids and the kids will prank them in self-defense, but when there something that threatens one group or the other they will do their best to protect each other. They have a strange friendship.
- Unexplained Accent: Why is Jara so Russian?
- Why are the monsters, despite being from Egypt in one case and Transylvania/"the Old Country" in the rest, so American?
- Why does Monsterella, a woman created to spy on Hillhurst monsters, whose experience of the world was so little she did not understand the concept of "children", know to fake a Southern accent?
- Van Helsing Hate Crime: a preteen Vampire Hunter who sets his sights on Count Fangula.
- Vampire Vords: Fangula speaks with a strange combination of this and Not Even Bothering with the Accent.
- When Van and Trip briefly become vampires in one episode, they start speaking the same way, possibly implying that a bad accent is a side effect of vampirism. Then again, they're children, and could just be playing the part as they've seen it.
- Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World
- What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Josh didn't even get that much. No mecha, no signature weapon, he didn't even get a Sonic Laser. All he had was a repulsor blast type weapon in his hands, and that was added by US production because there was little for him originally. His toy actually did get a Sonic Laser, but instead of a weapon of his own, he came with the Thunder Stinger, which, in-show, is only used by the Blue Stinger Borg's Super Mode. (Well, and a Machine Empire general. And Dr. K with some modification.) Of course, since Kabuto was a mere weapons salesman who actually gave the B-Fighters the Beet Ingram, this actually makes sense, but Americans had no way of knowing that. Still didn't get a toy of his Beetle Bonder though. Josh was a cool kid, but the White Blaster Borg was pretty much the most boring Sixth Ranger power set ever.
- What the Hell, Hero?: In the Christmas episode, the Magnavores pull a Grinch, and run from house to house stealing everyone's decorations and presents. The Beetleborgs apprehend them, and seize their big bag of loot, but, saying that the holiday season is all about forgiveness, Jo pulls three stockings full of loot from the bag, and gives one to each. These would be stockings that they already stole, from some random, unsuspecting family. They not only aren't punished for the theft, they are actually rewarded by being allowed to keep some of their ill-gotten gains.
- Whole Plot Reference: One episode had Flabber conjure himself a transporter booth...and then a fly got in.
- Who Would Want to Watch Us?: In "Lights, Camera, Too Much Action," the movie director briefly ponders making a movie about "kids who become superheroes and save the world." He then decides it's ridiculous.
- Who You Gonna Call?: In one episode, Those Two Guys learn about Flabber, and enlist the help of a Ghostbuster-type mad scientist. Too bad his ghost disintegrator only works on ghosts, and not on Magnavores...
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: Metallix.