The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 6,1999 - 11
y Arts Writer
If you grew up in the '80s it was
vitable that your came across The
ormers in some form or another.
s ose "robots in disguise" as auto-
biles, airplanes and other appliances
o came from two warring camps, the
itobots who were the good guys and
e Decepticons who were the bad ones.
The popularity of the toy line and car-
on that came along with the show
ought about legions of die-hards
[ose reverence for the robots can only
compared to the die hard obsession
*r Wars and Star Trek fans. The
ansformers managed to carry into the
Os with the "Transformers: Beast
ars" series that received lukewarm
sponse in the beginning but managed
develop a strong momentum and fol-
ing, for the series and the toy line,
roughout several seasons up until the
ries' conclusion this past spring.
Running well into it's second decade,
3 Transformer's saga is not done just
t Fox Kid's recently introduced the
e installment in the Transformer's
sci-fi teen drama
By Caitlin Hall
Daily TV/New Media Editor
The new era of teen sitcoms has
taken on genre shows with the WB'
new TV show, "Roswell." The show
has a young cast and pop soundtrack
that gives it the initial feel of any
number of new shows this season.
But, the science fiction subject mat-
ter sets "Roswell" apart.
The show takes place in Roswell,
New Mexico and follows the lives of
five main teenagers. Two are human
and the other three, we find out, are
aliens. In the show's dramatic open-
ing, Liz Parker (Shiri Appleby), who
is working at an alien theme diner,
gets hit by a stray bullet. Max Evans
(Jason Behr), a boy in the diner, runs
over to help her.
Optimus Primal proves he's more than meets the eye for a new generation with "Transformers: Beast Machines."
at ays at 11 a.m.
universe with the
l a t e s t
n a t i o n,
The show expects
to attract the many
loyal fans who
made the original
the newer "Beast
Wars" series so
well as selling a
on any background for it's main charac-
ters. Returning to the fore of the story
are the good guys represented by
Maximal leader, Optimus Primal (no
relation to the original series' Optimus
Prime), and three other Maximals,
Cheetor, Black Arachnia and Rattrap. In
the beginning of "Beast Machines," the
four are seemingly the only survivors of
a robot virus holocaust that none of
them can remember as their memory
chips have somehow been tampered.
The virus has also left them stuck in
their animal forms, helpless to trans-
form into their robot modes.
Making things worse is that the four
are constantly being hunted down by
mindless robot drones controlled by a
mysterious and devious mastermind. A
mysterious string of events finally
brought the four to the core of
Cybertron where they encounter a mys-
terious force called "The Oracle" which
reformats them into new robotic and
animal forms that make them immune
to the virus.
It is with these new robotic and ani-
mal forms that the current writers of this
show are attempting to add to the
Transformers's rich history. They are
attempting to bring spirituality to our
robot friends. You see, the new animal
forms the characters received are now
their default form. In order to turn into
robots they must now learn to, "control
the animal within," and if they loose
their cool in their robot forms they end
up back in their animal forms, hence the
title "Beast Machines."
Although this is an interesting con-
cept to bring to the table, it actually
leads to several silly results. In one
sequence during the show, you are intro-
duced to the four maximals forming a
circle with Optimus telling them to look
within their sparks (the transformers
equivalent of a soul) and find peace.
The Maximals finally do find out
who is the culprit controlling the
mindless drones are and it turns out to
be none other than the bad guy from
the Beast Wars series, Megatron (no
relation to character with the same
name from the original Transformers
As all diabolical villains, he has been
following some insane heinous master
plan. His was to wipe out all impurities
from Cybertron. In accomplishing this,
he has wiped out the entire population
of the planet to eradicate free will and
the beast forms that some of the
Transformers adopted from the Beast
Wars series, save for our heroes of
course. In place of the population are
now his mindless robot minions who are
now part of his new Cybertron, an ele-
gant machine under his control. This
being the premise of the show, the rest
of the series deals with The Maximals
attempting to recover their lost memo-
ries and foiling Megatron's iron fisted
rule of Cybertron.
The show is commendable in wanting
to do something new with the
Transformers universe. The concepts it
adds however has so far only brought
silly results such as the above mentioned
"inner peace" yoga session between the
Maximals. One of the things that made
the original Transformers series and the
Beast Wars series enjoyable to so many
was the ensemble chemistry between
the members of the good guys and the
bad ones. With only one central villain
and four good guys in Beast Machines,
the show is falling short of achieving a
similar result between its cast that its
Another short coming of the new.
show is that the new robot forms of the
characters are too humanoid in appear-
ance and not robotic enough. This, along
with the other shortcomings of the show
mentioned earlier could alienate fans of
the original Transformers series and the
Beast Wars series from following this
The show is still new however, and
with still plenty of episodes and answers
to questions to come, Beast Machines
could very well make the Transformers
a cartoon and toy force to be reckoned
with well into the next millennium.
Wednesdays at 9 p.m.
broken a bottle.
blood is spilling
out of her stom-
ach, Max puts
his hands on Liz
and we see flash
backs to her as a
child. All of a
sudden, Liz is
breaks a bottle
on her to make it
look as though
she had only
best friend, also was working at the
diner and knew something was
wrong. Max had told Liz not to tell
anyone about the incident but he had
not told her why. The show is quick
to resolve the questions about Max
in a scene in biology lab where Liz
takes samples of his cells from a
pencil he used. The cells are clearly
not human and Liz decides to con-
front him about it.
When Liz asks, Max admits the
truth and asks her to keep it a secret.
Liz also shows Max a mark on her
stomach that seems to be a silver
hand print, not made by human.
hands. This image comes up later
and is a way of identifying people
like Max and his other alien friends.
The level of trust between Max
and Liz is a mystery to their friends.
It seems odd that he would risk his
life and his secret to save hers. Their
relationship will most likely be one
of the interesting problems of the
season. The fact that Liz is going out
Courtesy of the wB
The cast of "Roswell" spies the skies.
with the Sheriff's son, Kyle, does not
make the situation any easier.
Max is not the only alien in town.
His sister Isabel (Katherine Heigl),
and friend Michael Guerin (Brendan
Fehr) are also like him. They both
disapprove of Max using his powers
to help Liz. At lunch, the kids dis-
cuss leaving Roswell, so as to pre-
vent people from finding them out.
Michel brings up the fact that though
Isabel and Max were adopted by the
nice Evans family, he lives with a
foster parent who only wants him for
the monthly check that comes along.
Though these teens look normal,
they are constantly aware of their
difference. They are able to listen to
CDs by placing them up to their ears.
They can to "manipulate molecular
structures" according to Max, which
is how he saved Liz.
The problems escalates when the
Sheriff does not believe Liz's story.
Liz eventually tells Maria that Max
is an alien and causes her to freak
out and run screaming down the
street. Eventually Maria decides to
keep the secret. Liz mainly wants to
keep her boyfriends father in the
dark about her new secret.
The Sheriff is resentful of not
knowing the truth and driven by the
fact that his father had been inter-
ested in aliens to the point of being
called Sergeant Martian.
The Sheriff had considered his
father to be crazy until his son Kyle
told him he saw a hand print on Liz's
stomach. The sheriff also had a
photo of a corpse from the 1950s
with the same hand print. When Liz
tells this to Max he is hopeful that he
might have a relative somewhere
who could tell him where he came
t of toys to the kids and the kids at
The show picks up where "Beast
ars" left off and follows the adven-
rcfthe good guys, "The Maximals,"
in against the bad guys, "The
edacons," on their home planet
bertron after they left Earth at the end
the "Beast Wars."
"Beast Machines" has so far been
ling it's story to the already converted
it avoids any explanations or dwelling
SPECIAL ADVANCE SCREENING
"I'D LOVE TO JUDGE YOUR
HOT BODY CONTEST,
BUT I'M GOING BACK
TO MY ROOM
TO CHECK MY EMAIL:'
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