Beast Machines is still to this day the most controversial Transformers series in the franchise. One of the main controversies is the idea of Cybertron being a once organic planet. Beast Machines fails and succeeds at many things, some of which must not be taken at face value.
The tone: One of the more criticized elements of the series is the dark and bleak tone, which I honestly feel is a plus. The tone for this series is PERFECT, and definitely encapsulates what a higher stakes sequel to the still fairly serious Beast Wars should be. Very much a dark, dystopian cyberpunk series, this was the first Transformers series to take place exclusively on Cybertron. And it works, oh so well.
I wonder if the Cybertron setting was planned from the get go, as cgi was expensive at the time, meaning that if it was decided that the show would return to Cybertron, that there would need to be a reason for an "empty" Cybertron (i.e. the technorganic virus) to make up for the lack of flippant cgi usage.
SOME of the characterizations: Cheetor's evolution from a wide eyed adolescent to a seasoned warrior who must step up and accept his new place when Optimus' fanaticism takes hold is BRILLIANT and brilliantly done. Blackarachnia and Silverbolt's plots basically being the reverse of Beast Wars was also interesting. Megatron's insistence on one singular mind control makes sense, considering the constant failure of his Predacons, let alone the constant infighting of his Decepticon ancestors. While a far cry from his Beast Wars persona, Silverbolt's evolution still makes sense considering what he goes through, and is indicative of the "Adam West to Dark Knight Returns" vibe that the writers were going for.
Music: The techno music really sets the mood for this hard sci-fi series, and very much feels like house music of the era, namely Real Mccoy.
Most characterizations are bad: Rattrap becomes a coward. Nuff said.
Megatron's hatred of individuality makes sense, but his hatred of organic life doesn't. It didn't cause him to lose the Beast Wars, his troops did. It was simply part of the tacked on and lazy "technology is bad, nature is good" theme that is completely inappropriate for Transformers.
The idea of an organic Cybertron goes against Primus......literally. Beast Wars is a sequel to the Marvel comics continuity. Thus, Cybertron IS Primus. Considering that they made sure that they writers of this series knew nothing of established continuity, what did you expect?
Nightscream is annoying. Nuff said.
The Maximals run WAAAY too much.
The plot kind of meanders in the middle of both seasons.
The ending........can you say Mass Effect 3?
Overall, Beast Machines is a fair series, but a terrible Transformers series. Considering that it not only goes out of its way to steep itself in established continuity, but also it being a sequel to Beast Wars, means that you CAN NOT divorce it from Transformers when reviewing it.
Thus, a 6/10.