Big Bad Beetleborgs
Also known asSaban's Big Bad Beetleborgs
GenreAction/Adventure
Comedy horror
Science fiction
Superhero
Created byHaim Saban
Shuki Levy
Toei Company
Based onJuukou B-Fighter &
B-Fighter Kabuto
by Toei Company
StarringWesley Barker
Herbie Baez
Shannon Chandler
Brittany Konarzewski
Billy Forester
Vivian Smallwood
Kim Delgado
Channe Nolen
Christopher Cho
Claudine Barros
Marshal Hilton
Blake Torney
David Fletcher
Joe Hackett
Frank Tahoe
Lina Godouse
Theme music composerJeremy Sweet
Billy Forester
ComposersJeremy Sweet
Barry Trop
Inon Zur
Shuki Levy
Kussa Mahchi
Country of originUnited States
Japan
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes88 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producersHaim Saban
Shuki Levy
Lance H. Robbins
ProducerRobert Hughes
Production locationsCalifornia (Santa Paula & Los Angeles)
Japan (Saitama, Kyoto, Yokohama and Tokyo)
Running time30 minutes
Production companiesSaban Entertainment
Renaissance-Atlantic Films
Toei Company, Ltd.
Bugboy Productions, Inc.
DistributorSaban International
Release
Original networkFOX (Fox Kids)
Original releaseSeptember 7, 1996 (1996-09-07) –
March 2, 1998 (1998-03-02)

Big Bad Beetleborgs (later Beetleborgs Metallix) is an American live-action television series by Saban Entertainment and was co-produced with Renaissance-Atlantic Films, Toei Company and Bugboy Productions.[1] Two seasons aired on Fox Kids from September 7, 1996, to March 2, 1998.

The series adapted combat footage from the Metal Hero tokusatsu-series Juukou B-Fighter (first season) and B-Fighter Kabuto (second season).[2] Unlike its contemporaries, such as Power Rangers, the show had a greater emphasis on sitcom elements, rather than a villain of the week.

Synopsis

Season 1

Set in the fictional town of Charterville, three "typical average kids"—two siblings, Andrew "Drew" McCormick (Wesley Barker) and his sister Josephine "Jo" McCormick (Shannon Chandler, later Brittany Konarzewski), and their best friend Roland Williams (Herbie Baez)—enter the supposedly haunted Hillhurst Mansion after accepting a dare from rich snobs Van and Trip. The house is revealed to be the home of real monsters in the likes of Universal monsters and are set to eat the kids. However, in the midst of a chase, the kids accidentally bump a pipe organ, releasing a phasm named Flabber (Billy Forester). He proves to be friendly, and in return for releasing him, offers to grant them one wish. They wish to become their comic book heroes, the Big Bad Beetleborgs. However, this also brings the Beetleborgs' sworn enemies to life: the Magnavores, led by the evil Vexor, who would summon monsters from the comic books to battle the Beetleborgs. Roland's family, including his parents and grandmother Nano, run the comic book shop.

In a 6-parter, Vexor created his own Beetleborg, Shadowborg, which was a match for the Beetleborgs and briefly took their powers. They had to call a temporary Beetleborg (White Blaster Beetleborg) Josh Baldwin (Warren Berkow), and after Shadowborg was destroyed, Josh lost his powers. The Beetleborgs would meet the Beetleborgs comic creator, Art Fortunes, during this six-part story in order for him to create the White Blaster Beetleborg and the Mega Blue Beetleborg.

In the penultimate episode of the first season, the Magnavores steal a picture of a new villain named Nukus from Art Fortunes' office. They bring him to life to enlist his help in destroying the Beetleborgs. Nukus assists them by planning devastating attacks on the city and creating Borgslayer, a hybrid of all the Magnavore monsters. Unbeknownst to the Magnavores, Nukus was actually plotting to get rid of them. Nukus tells Trip and Van (who were fleeing Charterville during Borgslayer's attack to their father's country estate) how to defeat Borgslayer, and orders them to take the information to the Beetleborgs. They succeed in destroying Borgslayer, causing the Magnavores to be swept back into the comics.

Season 2

At the start of Season 2, Nukus has challenged the Beetleborgs. Despite Art's warning that Nukus is too powerful, they face him anyway. Nukus quickly wipes them out, destroying their Beetleborgs armor, weapons, and powers in one fell swoop.

These events lead directly into the second season Beetleborgs Metallix. Nukus discovers that his creator is actually Art's incarcerated brother Les Fortunes. Nukus busts Les out of prison and uses some of Les' drawings to summon his own group of villains called the Crustaceans. Les now serves Nukus by creating new monsters for him to use. In response to the rise of the Crustaceans, Art creates new powers, armor, vehicles, and weapons, which Flabber then brings to life again for the kids, who rechristen themselves as Beetleborgs Metallix, hence the title.

The battle between the Beetleborgs and the Crustaceans would later escalate after the Fortunes brothers unburied a time capsule containing the Lost Comic; a story both brothers worked on when they were children. Said story featured the Astral Sword that could summon and control the all-mighty Roboborg, if one manages to gather the eight Astral Coins. Nukus summons his own evil team of Borgs from the Lost Comic called the Mantrons, while the Beetleborgs are reinforced by the Astral Borgs. After many battles, the Beetleborgs finally get their hands on the Astral Sword and all eight coins, using it to summon Roboborg, who, soon after, demonstrates his powers by sending the Mantrons back to the Lost Comic.

To fight Roboborg, the Crustaceans eventually created their own giant robot named Boron, while Nukus and Vilor gain upgraded Mega forms. As a response to Nukus' and Vilor's new Mega forms, the Beetleborgs were given an upgrade by Roboborg who fused their Metallix powers with their original powers creating the Mega Spectra Beetleborgs. Vilor's "mega" form did not last long and he quietly returned to his original look without explanation. However, Mega Nukus retained his upgraded look.

The series concluded with the Beetleborgs gaining the enemy Boron as an ally, stripping Nukus of his greatest weapon during the fight against Repgillian. Les Fortunes makes the decision to return willingly to Charterville Prison, disabling Nukus' ability to create new monsters out of illustrations. With no known way of returning the Crustaceans to the comic world, the Beetleborgs were left with an unresolved final battle with what was left of their foes.

Characters

Beetleborgs

Hillhurst Inhabitants

An old mansion outside of Charterville had fallen into disrepair since the passing of Old Man Hillhurst and became home to some rather goofy monsters. With the exception of Flabber, all the monsters attempt to eat any humans who trespass in their home. As a running gag, they never learn their lesson about trying to go after the Beetleborgs who always manage to outwit or clobber them. Wolfgang and Little Ghoul later move in throughout the series.

Allies

Villains

Monsters

Main article: List of Beetleborgs monsters

Arsenal

Big Bad Beetleborgs

Beetleborgs Metallix

Assault vehicles

Battleborgs

Production

It was not uncommon to see cardboard cut-outs and wall decorations of the Beetleborgs characters on the walls of Zoom Comics where the three kids worked. Other decorations used included the costume heads of King Sphinx of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and the original head from the monster costume Kappa from Ninja Sentai Kakuranger (the monster was used as "Parrot Top" in MMPR) whose body was used to create the costume Malavex. Toys from the Bandai Beetleborgs toyline could also be seen in various displays. Including the Special Edition Deluxe Shadowborg figure, in an episode which preceded Shadowborg's character ever appearing on the show.

Like other adaptations, some of the original source footage was altered for Beetleborgs. The Input Magnums, the original B-Fighter's guns, looked very realistic due to the black-and-silver coloring. In Beetleborgs, the Sonic Laser's colors were changed to bright red and purple, and all Japanese footage of the Input Magnum's keypad being used was replaced with American footage using the red and purple gun. However, the colors of the guns changed from time to time due to the blending in of the B-Fighter footage. Similarly, the American version of the toy was done in red and purple colors instead of the Input Magnum's black and silver coloring. In Metallix, the Data Laser's colors remained unchanged (silver and black), but the toy line changed the weapons to a white-and-blue color scheme. More violent scenes from B-Fighter were either covered up with large, Batman-esque sound effects or were cut out through comic-book-panel transitions.

The episode "Convention Dimension" had The Beetleborgs attending the comic convention. Among costumes worn at the convention were: Spider-Man, The Tick and Guido Anchovy. At that time Saban owned airing rights to Spider-Man: The Animated Series, The Tick and Samurai Pizza Cats. In Episode 54, Saban featured in "Gravesoul Owns."

Big Bad Beetleborgs and Beetleborgs Metallix ultimately ended because the Saban crew were left with no more Juukou B-Fighter and B-Fighter Kabuto footage to adapt. Their predecessor VR Troopers also ended for the same reason.

Music

The show's theme music was performed by Jeremy Sweet and series star Billy Forester. A newer version of the song was made for the Beetleborgs Metallix episodes. The background score, composed by Inon Zur, had several cues which were also used on Saban's concurrent Power Rangers Turbo. Currently, Beetleborgs has never had any official soundtrack releases.

Reuse of Monsters

Various monster suits from both Beetleborgs seasons were re-used along with un-used Juukou B-Fighter and B-Fighter Kabuto monsters as enemy monsters in the Power Rangers series:

On location

The show was filmed in a number of locations.

Power Rangers Turbo vs. Beetleborgs Metallix

In 1997, Acclaim Comics published a one-shot entitled Power Rangers Turbo vs. Beetleborgs Metallix featuring the Beetleborgs battling the Turbo Rangers before teaming with them against Divatox and Nukus.

Release history

After ending a two-season run on the Fox network, the series was rerun on UPN Kids from 1998 to 1999. In Australia, Big Bad Beetleborgs began airing on Network Ten's Cheez TV morning block during February 1998.[3] In Europe, the series aired on the international version of Fox Kids, which was later rebranded as Jetix. On May 7, 2010, as part of the sale of the Power Rangers franchise, the copyright for Beetleborgs was transferred from BVS Entertainment to Saban Capital Group. In 2018, the rights were transferred to Hasbro, as part of the acquisition of the Power Rangers brand, which included related intellectual property & content libraries previously owned by Saban Properties.[4]

On June 15, 2011, all episodes of Big Bad Beetleborgs and Beetleborgs Metallix were made available on Netflix until February 1, 2021.

There have been 3 VHS releases in the US and Australia: The Curse of Shadow Borg, The Vampire Files, and Metallix – The Movie. They were all released by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Shout! Factory began putting the series out on DVD with the October 16, 2012 release of Beetleborgs: Season 1, Part 1. Season 1, Part 2 was released on February 12, 2013. Season 2, Part 1 was released on June 11, 2013. Season 2, Part 2 was released on May 5, 2015.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
Beetleborgs: Season 1, Part 1 27 October 16, 2012
Beetleborgs: Season 1, Part 2 26 February 12, 2013
Beetleborgs: Season 2, Part 1 18 June 11, 2013
Beetleborgs: Season 2, Part 2 17 May 5, 2015[5]

Notes

  1. ^ Mums' brief Reaper form is a recycled version of Shinigamian from Juukou B-Fighter.

References

  1. ^ Mangan, Jennifer (September 5, 1996). "Get Ready For 'Beetleborgs': Kids, Superheroes And A Ghost Named Flabber". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-08-28.
  2. ^ Medina, Victor. "DVD REVIEW: Big Bad Beetleborgs Season One Volume One".
  3. ^ "Australian News - It's Toon Time". www.ebroadcast.com.au. Archived from the original on 2016-10-02. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  4. ^ "Hasbro to Acquire Saban Brands' Power Rangers and Other Entertainment Assets". BusinessWire. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  5. ^ "Beetleborgs Metallix: Season Two, Vol. 2". Shout! Factory. 2015-03-11. Retrieved 2015-03-11.