Depressing Beast Wars question

Anonymous X

Well-known member
Citizen
So, I’ve found that Hasbro has a YouTube channel live steaming Transformers episodes. Including Beast Wars!

Now, I love Beast Wars. I remember the beginnings of G1, but Beast Wars kept me a fan of Transformers in the ‘90s after I stumbled upon the internet presence of a fandom. That might’ve been something I spent part of weekend investigating had I not seen that Transformers was still a thing, with a new take on the franchise.

However, haven’t watched the TV series for at least a decade. It hasn’t aged well, visually speaking! We were well aware that it looked a bit spartan and limited back in the day, due to understandable budgetary issues, but that was when our televisions were the size of a shop window and capable of displaying pin-sharp imagery. Time hasn’t been kind.

So, is this as good as it’s going to look? Has anyone any idea if the original source material exists somewhere, or are what looks like uploaded DVD rips all that exists of the Beast Wars TV series?

(tl;dr I like Beast Wars, does anyone know if the Beast Wars master tapes and renders and so on likely still exist somewhere?)
 

The Mighty Mollusk

Scream all you like, 'cause we're all mad here
Citizen
It's pretty goofy early on, while the writers and cast were trying to find their footing. It picks up after a few episodes. It's also not as blatant about "BUY ALL THESE NEW TOYS!!!!" as some series, since the budget meant they had to actually use the few characters they added. The only one that really stands out to me as a huge BUY ME is Tigerhawk.

But yeah, the graphics are definitely a product of their time.
 

Undead Scottsman

Well-known member
Citizen
The problem with the cutting edge is that it gets dulled over time. In 1996, with the technology and budget they had available, Beast Wars looks pretty good, but nearly 30 years later it just looks dated because it's been surpassed so much.
 

lastmaximal

Administrator
Staff member
Council of Elders
Citizen
Beast Wars' graphics held up surprisingly long, I felt, but decades of higher definition and detail and innovation later, anything would feel dated. This was its destiny the moment they decided it would be computer animated.

It would be fun to entertain ideas of remastering or remaking, but all that's way beyond me.
 

wonko the sane?

You may test that assumption at your convinience.
Citizen
It's not like it's costing you anything: you could just watch it and find out.

But for reference, I recently went through the series on tubitv, and I found it to be quite palatable: but your mileage may vary.
 

Anonymous X

Well-known member
Citizen
90s TV computer animation was made for 90s TVs.
The master tapes probably weren't much higher resolution than the DVDs are.
Ulp, you likely have a point there. Future-proofing for new tech wasn’t much of a common forethought in the early ‘00s, let alone the ‘90s.

Anyone know if Mainframe is still around in some form, incidentally?
 

Anonymous X

Well-known member
Citizen
Anyway, visuals aside, I still like Beast Wars! Visuals aside, the ‘tude of some of the characters and the music is fairly datedly ‘90s, but that’s over a quarter of a century ago now.

(I can’t wait to open my Legacy United BW Silverbolt once it arrives.)
 

Sabrblade

Continuity Nutcase
Citizen
There are some fan made 4K upscales on YouTube, but that's it for anything that's actually available in any capacity.

For me, I was never bothered by how the show looked because, growing up with it at such a young age, it's long since been hammered into my brain that this is how it's supposed to look, and any later attempts to recreate the same characters in a different art style always read as looking just "wrong" to me.
 

Haywire

Collecter of Gobots and Godzilla
Citizen
On the one hand, compared to most modern animations, yeah, Beast Wars is pretty dated, technically.

On the other hand, as with any vintage media, a person can still enjoy it for what it is. My son and I have been watching the 2004 Tetsujin 28 series, and now we are going back and watching the Gigantor series from the 60s. Is it technically as good? Nope, but we still get a kick out of watching it. Similarly, compare Godzilla (1954) with Godzilla Minus One; the quality of the former is not diminished by the technical superiority of the latter.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is, Beast Wars had some pretty quality writing, and some enduring and endearing characters, and I think that can be enjoyed even if the animation isn't up to modern standards.
 

CoffeeHorse

*sip*
Staff member
Council of Elders
Citizen
It just doesn't register with me at all. I know it's dated. I see the low res textures and primitive lighting. But I also see the top notch facial animations and constant expressive body language, and it's so natural that it lulls my brain into accepting what I'm seeing. It's hypnotic.
 

Blot

Well-known member
Citizen
The visuals hold up better to me than the terrible sense of humor the show has.
 

lastmaximal

Administrator
Staff member
Council of Elders
Citizen
And from start to finish, they were great at wringing a lot of expressiveness and charm out of the graphics.
 


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