Just three typical, average kids.Beetleborgs
was a live-action series produced by Saban
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 Hero
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.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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 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.
- Department of Redundancy Department: The theme song refers to the heroes as 'three typical average kids'.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- Hit Flash: Of the Batman variety; justified in that the heroes are based on comic book characters.
- Japanese Beetle Brothers, rounded out by a ladybug
- Jumped at the Call
- Kid Appeal Characters: The three typical average kids themselves.
- Law of Chromatic Superiority: Subverted, the blue Beetleborg is the leader, not red, who turned out to be the Token Girl.
- 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.
- Merchandise Driven
- Monster Mash
- Monster of the Week
- No Ending
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Super Mode: Mega Blue, and later the Mega Spectra Beetleborgs
- Super Robot: Roboborg and Boron
- Surrounded by Idiots: Vexor in regards to the Magmavores.
- 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.
- Three 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.
- Van Helsing Hate Crime: a preteen Vampire Hunter who sets his sights on Count Fangula.
- 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.
- Whole Plot Reference: One episode had Flabber conjure himself a transporter booth...and then a fly got in.
- 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.