Debuting on September 16, 1996, Beast Wars: Transformers (or simply Beast Wars) was the first show in the Transformers franchise to be entirely animated in CGI and to feature a cast of characters not introduced in the original generation one toyline. Though this latter choice drew criticism from G1 fans, the series was a ratings success and went on for 52 episodes.
Now considered one of the best Transformers TV shows, the characters are set to make their big-screen debut in 2023’s Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. For fans of the films who want to learn more about the characters or wish to get into Beast Wars, IMDb users have helped identify the must-watch episodes of the series.
10 Coming of the Fuzors Part 2 – 8.2
Coming off the heels of part one’s Spaghetti Western standoff, “Coming of the Fuzors Part 2” finds the ragtag team of Maximals holding off against the Predacons in an effort to protect Rhinox as he brings Optimus Primal back to life. For almost the entire runtime, the audience is treated to gun fights galore and action that still holds up twenty five years after its release.
While there’s not much plot to be had in the episode, it is significant for bringing the character of Silverbolt onto the side of the Maximals. For the rest of season 2, he would serve as one of the main characters, taking on the guise of the audience surrogate.
9 The Agenda Part 1 – 8.2
One of several storylines to see the heroic Maximals attempt to go home, “The Agenda Part 1” is unique in that their efforts to contact Cybertron have already succeeded, somewhat. Early on, it’s revealed that the mysterious Tripredacus Council had disrupted the signal and sent their agent, Ravage, to prehistoric Earth to take care of the situation there.
Beyond the intrigue that comes with the introduction of the Tripredacus Council and what their goals are, the biggest selling point for this episode is the advancement of Silverbolt and Blackarachnia’s character arcs. The two bots had previously encountered each other in “Tangled Web” and “Bad Spark,” but in this episode, their flirtatious barbs have blossomed into a full-blown romance, one which would define the characters for the rest of the series.
8 Other Victories – 8.2
“Other Victories” was the third to last episode of Beast Wars and pays off several story threads which had been left dangling from the previous season. In the episode, the alien Vok send their emissary, Tigerhawk, to prehistoric Earth to eliminate Megatron once and for all due to his multiple attempts to manipulate time.
As the last appearance of the Vok, they regrettably don’t have much screen time, but this can be forgiven because the episode offers a resolution to the fates of Tigatron and Airazor. These two characters, who had been unceremoniously written out of the show, were given a new lease on life in the guise of Tigerhawk, and though their time on the show was short, they offered so much potential and intrigue into a series that was beginning to run aground (as evidenced by their confrontation with Megatron).
7 The Agenda Part 2 – 8.3
Picking up where part 1 left off, “The Agenda Part 2” finds the Maximals in control of the Predacon base with Megatron in Ravage’s custody. Along the way, Silverbolt is reprimanded for his relationship with Blackarachnia, yet continues to see her despite her own reservations.
While season 1 of Beast Wars did its fair share of work to tie the series to the G1 cartoon, this is the episode where everything falls into place. Audiences are given a glimpse of G1 Megatron, Ravage’s true loyalties, and the revelation that the Ark was on Earth and that Beast Wars Megatron had known the entire time. It’s heavy stuff and the perfect setup for the season finale.
6 The Agenda Part 3 – 8.3
In the third part of “The Agenda,” the Maximals have to deal with the fallout of Ravage’s betrayal and race toward the Ark to stop Megatron from meddling with time. The stakes are at their highest for the Maximals, and it seems that nothing can be done to stop Megatron.
Featuring one of the most shocking cliffhangers in all of Transformers media, “The Agenda Part 3” succeeds because its heroes do not. Their failure to stop Megatron is something so few shows would commit to, but it’s a choice that makes “The Agenda Part 3” such a rewarding episode. As a piece of media, it embraces the reality that good does not always triumph over evil and cements Beast Wars Megatron as one of Transformers’ best villains.
5 Other Voices Part 2 – 8.4
The finale to Beast Wars season 1, “Other Voices Part 2,” picks up from the threat introduced in the previous episode. The Vok are gearing up to destroy the planet, and it’s up to Optimus to somehow prevent this from happening.
The big reason “Other Voices Part 2” is so fondly remembered is due to the character moments. Blackarachnia finally asserts herself as superior to her conniving partner Tarantulas, Optimus proves his nobility by taking the risk to fly a modified stasis pod into the Vok superweapon, and Megatron shows his cunning by doing the unthinkable and killing Optimus Primal once and for all. It’s an unfathomable twist, and one that still holds up as among the finest in the Transformers franchise.
4 Transmutate – 8.4
Perhaps the definitive episode for the characters of Rampage and Silverbolt, “Transmutate” sees the two Cybertronians battle over the soul of the titular Transmutate, a deformed protoform who every other Predacon see as useless and every other Maximal view as dangerous.
Despite how different Silverbolt and Rampage are from each other, their commitment to Transmutate shows how the two characters are among the most empathetic on the show. This is solidified in the episode’s somber ending where Transmutate dies trying to stop the two from fighting and Silverbolt opines that he and Rampage are brothers in this moment.
3 Nemesis Part 1 – 8.5
The penultimate episode of Beast Wars, “Nemesis Part 1,” details Megatron’s last-ditch effort to win the Beast Wars as he discovers the Decepticon battleship, Nemesis. In a race against time, the Maximals stop at nothing to prevent Megatron from raising the ship from the sea.
Though the first 10 minutes of the episode are essentially fluff, “Nemesis Part 1” features two of the most memorable sequences in all of Beast Wars. The first is Waspinator’s comedic defection from the Predacons – which displays some of the show’s finest animation – while the second is the pivotal confrontation between Depth Charge and Rampage. The rivalry between these two characters, both of whom need to appear in the next Transformers movie, had been built up all season, and their final, underwater skirmish remains one of the most tragic altercations in the show’s history.
2 Nemesis Part 2 – 8.6
Written by beloved Transformers scribe Simon Furmon, “Nemesis Part 2,” picks up on the dour cliffhanger from the previous episode and sees Megatron ravage prehistoric Earth while the Maximals desperately attempt to get the Ark up and running. It’s a hair-raising situation, one which results in the loss of several beloved characters.
One of the finale’s most rewarding moments is Dinobot II’s betrayal. Created as a soulless clone of the original Dinobot, the character had largely been squandered during the show’s third season, yet here, he finally gets a chance to shine. The audience is given one last glimpse of the show’s most noble and beloved character, and he proves once again why he is the greatest Transformer in the franchise.
1 Code of Hero – 9.4
Paying off the arc that had been built since the start of season 2, “Code of Hero” has Dinobot taking on the entire Predacon operation all by himself amidst an existential crisis surrounding his nature.
Having already established himself as one of the series’ best characters, Dinobot cements his legacy in his noble effort to stop Megatron from altering history. Despite being aware that this battle could be his last, Dinobot chooses to fight it because he has no other choice. This self-sacrifice along, with his final words, is what makes “Code of Hero” the most beloved episode of Beast Wars.
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