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YMMV / Beast Machines

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Tankor (Rhinox). The writers intended him to have chosen evil of his own free will after having been twisted by his time under Megatron's control. A popular fan theory is that he wasn't evil — his actions were caused by input from his awakened spark being filtered through a shell programme. Both interpretations fit what we see on the screen. (Given that, upon his death, Rhinox seemed genuinely repentant, the Shell Program makes a lot of sense.)
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    • Was Megatron just pretending that Savage/Noble was a wild animal driven purely by instinct, or was he really like that and useful?
    • At what point did Silverbolt really become aware that he had been reprogrammed into Jetstorm - and start enjoying the experience of being an evil monster? When Blackarachnia originally awakened Silverbolt's mind in Jetstorm's body his personality appeared to be more or less the same, but when she brought him back completely in season 2 he had clearly changed from Nice Guy Knight in Shining Armor to a guilt ridden loner (in the form of a samurai condor) who was understandably upset over his tenure as Jetstorm. If he didn't realize what he was doing until after the initial reawakening, was it really the Jetstorm personality refusing to be changed back, or was it Silverbolt speaking through Jetstorm?
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    • Is Megatron's personality shift, in particular his new hatred of organic life, simply sloppy writing, or is it residual influence from G1 Megatron's spark?
  • Ass Pull: Though well-received, the reveal that Thrust actually has Waspinator's spark rather than Silverbolt's borders on this.
    • How the Hate Plague was dealt with. Since the original solution - the Matrix of Leadership - was out of the question, Optimus had to craft an answer that even the Transformers Wiki admits was pulled "out of his monkey butt".
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: One reason why it was so ill-received when it first came out. The surviving heroes of the Beast Wars now forced underground on their own homeworld, their species subjected to a virtual genocide, and struggling to survive against an overwhelming evil force, all set against a backdrop of things like nature vs. technology.
  • Better on DVD: The series really does work better as a single narrative rather than as an episodic series.
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  • Complete Monster: Megatron. See this page for details.
  • Contested Sequel: Between longer story arcs, and a darker tone compared to Beast Wars, fans of the original either think this was a good follow-up, or a joke to the franchise. Some of the more generous critics were willing to concede that had Beast Machines been a standalone series with no prior continuity, it would be decent enough on its own merits but as a followup to the critically acclaimed Beast Wars, it just could not measure up as a worthy sequel.
  • Continuity Lock-Out: A common complaint of the show was that the continuity was so strong that the show was impossible to follow unless one started from the beginning. Yet still, at a length of only twenty-six episodes, this is not as much of a drawback as it could be.
  • Critical Backlash: There were some Beast Wars fans who still enjoyed the show as well as newcomers. Most of the complaints were about the many changes to the characters' personalities and behavior.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: It's pretty dark right from the get-go and doesn't let up, so it can be tricky to sit through until the ending.
    • Case in point: The Weak Component. You'd expect Blackarachnia, Cheetor and Nightscream to cut Rattrap some slack, since he's just getting used to his new body. Instead, they all pick up the Jerkass Ball and drive him to go to Megatron for some weapons upgrade. What a loyal and understanding group of friends.
  • Dork Age: Often considered one for the Beast Era of Transformers, due to a massive tone shift from Dramedy to angsty Villain World story. It used to be considered this for Transformers as a whole — then Transformers Energon came along.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • The Vehicon Generals are fondly remembered. Whenever Beast Machines is referenced in later continuities, it's the Vehicons who usually get the nods. Of the Generals, Thrust is held in high regard because of his personality, and Jetstorm remains the most popular because of his theatrics.
    • Diagnostic Drone was well-liked, enough to appear in other continuities after Beast Machines.
  • Evil Is Cool: The Vehicons. Refer to the Ensemble Dark Horse and Rooting for the Empire entries.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: Season One has Megatron look like he's wearing a cheap Bane mask and using a curtain as a poncho.
  • Fridge Logic: Obsidian and Strika were Autobots during the Great War, according to supplementary materials. This raises questions about why they unquestioningly served a being named Megatron.
  • Fridge Brilliance: Remember when Rattrap said, "Good thing Tankor was a friend! Imagine if he was recycled from a PREDACON!"? Technically, all of the original Vehicon Generals were. To elaborate: Rhinox, Silverbolt and Waspinator all served as Predacons at some point during the Beast Wars.
  • Franchise Original Sin: Inverted! A lot of aspects from this show that people complain about (stronger continuity, darker storytelling, In Name Only characters, etc.) would later be used to good effect by later Transformers series such as the Dreamwave and IDW comics, Transformers Animated, and Transformers Prime. One could consider this show an experimental first step before its ideas, themes, and methods were perfected by later incarnations of Transformers.
  • Genius Bonus: The title of the episode "Prometheus Unbound" refers to the Greek legend of Prometheus. Anyone who knows about the myth will get why that is notable. Let's just say that it heavily foreshadows how the series ends.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: According to a Fox Kids press release, the original name for the series was going to be Beast Hunters, which later became the subtitle for the third season of Transformers: Prime.
  • It Was His Sled: Thrust is actually Waspinator. Even people who haven't seen the series know it.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
  • Magnificent Bastard: Megatron. See Beast Wars for details.
  • Narm: The bizarre designs for the Maximals' robot modes are a little hard to take seriously at times. In particular: Rattrap having a wheeled axle in place of legs, Blackarachnia's Klingon forehead, Nightscream's floppy hair and general plastic-surgery looks, and the way every character's eyes pointed in two different directions on a regular basis.
    • Rattrap arguably gets it the worst, as he seems to have been reformatted into the body of a child. In addition to the lack of legs making him even shorter than he already was, his face (and the fact that his head seems to come with a small baseball cap built in) makes him look like something Enzo would reboot into.
    • Optimus Primal's dead body from Fallout is probably meant to look like if he disintegrated, but the model quality instead makes it look like he's been comically flattened. The Japanese Gag Dub even turns the scene into intentional humor by having the Maximals cheer "Ybonco is flat! Yay!". Phelous put it best in his review for the series.
    - "Primal kinda died too by becoming a hilarious pancake on the floor, which seems more like a gag for Waspinator in Beast Wars than a supposed-to-be dramatic death for your main hero."
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Megatron apparently runs on this instead of Energon... He started by spreading a deadly virus across the planet, followed that up by building an army out of mecha-corpses, and decided to finish by stealing the souls of his entire species long before the maximals landed. He only got worse from there.
    • Blackarachnia's faceplate coming up, revealing the extra sets of eyes. Talk about putting your Game Face on.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Downplayed since they're technically the same character and he's still well liked outside of the show but oddly enough, Silverbolt became this after Blackarahnia reformatted Jetstorm and restored him in Season 2. Whereas Jetstorm had been an entertaining Laughably Evil villain, Silverbolt became a Knight In Sour Armor rather than the pure, noble hero he had previously been. His rather ugly design didn't help.
  • Rooting for the Empire: A handful of people thoroughly enjoyed the Vehicons more than the Maximals, due to having cool designs, varied and interesting personalities, and being pretty entertaining.
  • Scapegoat Creator: Bob Skir received a great deal of criticism from the fandom - to the point where he had to cancel a convention appearance because he was receiving death threats. While he was indeed one of two story editors, he was blamed for everything a given fan had an issue with. Not exactly fair, especially as Skir didn't develop the series himself and was working from what Marv Wolfman started. Notably, Marty Isenberg (the other story editor) never received such vitriol and his being named story editor of a later show was not met with disdain. This all may have been an unfortunate result of Skir making himself available via his website to fans, who incorrectly took him as the ultimate authority of the show.
  • The Scrappy: Nightscream was this when the series was originally airing. The fans have mellowed towards him in recent years, but he's still a somewhat disliked character.
  • Shocking Swerve: Thrust being Waspinator instead of Silver Bolt, and Silver Bolt actually being Jetstorm when all of the earlier hints stated that Silver Bolt was Thrust.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: Beast Machines can be considered the Transformers version of Dragon Ball GT. Like GT, Beast Machines is a Sequel Series that is shorter and more downbeat than its predecessor, introduces new ideas to the established mythos, starts off with the heroes suffering a physical regression of some kind, features a central villain that conquers the heroes' home planet and enslaves its entire population while the heroes are away, utilizes ironic twists that involve the heroes fighting corrupted versions of former allies and later discovering that their actions in the previous series are responsible for the events of the show, ends on a bittersweet note with the main hero sacrificing his life, and acts as a Grand Finale for its respective continuity. On a meta level, Beast Machines also shares GT's status as a Contested Sequel that wasn't very popular when it first aired and doesn't get as much attention as its predecessor, but has since been somewhat Vindicated by History thanks to the shows that came after it being just as unpopular and divisive.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: In "Survivor," Nightscream belittles the rest of the team for losing the Beast Wars. Rattrap responds by knocking him to the floor:
    "You watch your mouth, junior! I've lost friends in that war."
    • For some, Optimus became The Scrappy due to his endless and self-righteously indignant babbling about how "WE NEED TO RESTORE THE BALANCE!" and becoming so fanatical that he was like a Knight Templar. Thus when Cheetor called him out on his plan to obliterate all the mechanical life on Cybertron—which essentially would have made Optimus an eco-terrorist—many fans rejoiced upon hearing Cheetor's speech. Many felt that Optimus had degenerated into a nutjob who was fanatically following the orders of the vague and mysterious Oracle without question, and needed to be snapped out of it.
      • It helps that the entire point of the first season finale and second season opener seemed to have been about how Optimus was descending into fanaticism and needed to stop himself. He's even brought that delving into that made him Not So Different from Megatron to the point where, a bit in dream sequence, Megatron himself calls him out for it.
  • Special Effects Failure: Due to limited use of specular and emissive maps unlike Beast Wars (meaning fewer shiny and glowy effects) explosions are represented by meshes with a solid, shaded texture. They also have shadows.
    • The Speed Stripes that appear during action scenes sometimes have gaps in them, through which the background can be seen.
  • Tear Jerker: Savage/Noble's death.
    • Optimus learning what really happened to Rhinox - prompting the big ape to let out a Big "NO!".
    • Blackarachnia initially reawakening Silverbolt's mind inside Jetstorm's body and the two are briefly reunited before the Jetstorm personality reasserts itself. There's something undeniably heartwarming about the scene, from Silverbolt referring to her as the "dark poison" of his heart, followed by Blackarachnia affectionately observing "There's only one Transformer who could say something that corny with a straight face..."
  • Tough Act to Follow: Beast Wars was (and still is) seen as one of, if not THE greatest Transformers shows ever and the one that single-handily rescued the franchise from the Dork Age that was Generation 2. So of course Beast Machines was going to have a hard time measuring up. Made even worse by the fact that writers like Bob Skir were directly ordered NOT to watch Beast Wars, making it a Foregone Conclusion that creating a coherent show with characters from a previous series that they've never watched before would be downright impossible.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • The changes to several of the character's personalities were a very sore point for fans of Beast Wars, for one.
    • While the animation was an improvement, the redesigns for the Maximals weren't as liked. Whenever newer toylines/fiction reference the Beast Era, the designs from Beast Wars are usually given the homage.
  • Uncanny Valley: Compared to the mostly-robotic faces with minor animal-like elements of the Maximal faces from the previous series, the Maximal faces of this series are mostly animal-like (with some extra human-like elements) with minor robotic elements. Yea, it looks weird.
  • Values Dissonance: In the Japanese dub, Nightscream was turned into an Agent Peacock and received Ho Yay with Silverbolt (which Blackarachnia mocked) as a humorous reference to Japanese comedian Masaki Sumitani using a "Hard Gay" persona for some of his skits. Post-2000's, in non-Asian countries, people would definitely complain about the homophobia in using LGBT+ stereotypes for humor in a children's show.
  • Vindicated by History: Thanks to the generally bad reception of Transformers Energon, this series is often seen in a much better light. It's hardly universal, of course, but still quite a feat considering the backlash it once received.
    • Similar to the series, Nightscream (who was a major Scrappy when the series first aired) has gained some fans in recent years, due to future characters being much less likeable. However, he's still a somewhat disliked character.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Pretty much the only thing people can agree on is that the animation is top-notch for the time (Special Effects Failure aside), and has even aged a fair bit better than the stuff from its predecessor. The lighting is on point, and the character acting is a lot more detailed and expressive - which is all the more impressive when you consider how complex and experimental most of the designs are.


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