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Featured TV on DVD Review: Big Bad Beetleborgs: Season One, Volume One

October 12th, 2012

Big Bad Beetleborgs: Season One, Volume One - Buy from Amazon

After the success of the Power Rangers franchise, there were a lot of shows trying to capture the same target demographic, more or less. Among the many such shows were Superhuman Samurai Syber-squad, Masked Rider, VR Troopers (more on that one later). Big Bad Beetleborgs was a little late to the party starting in 1996 after more of the rest on this list has already ended. But was it a worthy addition to the genre? Or was it clear they'd run out of ideas by the time this one came along?

The Show

We are first introduced to two kids, Drew McCormick and his little sister Jo, who are riding to Roland Williams' parents' comic book store. They are all fans of the Big Bad Beetleborgs, a comic book / toyline. Although Drew is arguably a bigger fan of Heather, who works at the store. While at the comic book store, there are two brothers, Trip and Van, who are not fans of comics, but Trip also has a crush on Heather, and since their father owns the building, they act like they own the place. After getting into an argument, Trip and Van think Drew, Roland, and Jo are cowards and claim they couldn't last a minute in the supposedly haunted Hillhurst Estate. Drew accepts their challenge, on behalf of rest, and later that day, all five of them show up at the house and they have to spend one hour there. But while Trip and Van try to set up some scares, Jo runs into a real monster. While the trio try to escape the monsters, they accidentally unleash a ghost, Flabber.

Fortunately, Flabber is a friendly ghost. Unfortunately, he's also an annoying ghost. He offers them a wish for freeing him and eventually Jo decides they should wish to be super heroes, specifically, the Big Bad Beetleborgs. It takes a couple tries, but it works. Each of them is granted a super power and a cool Beetleborg armor and immediately test their powers on the monsters that were chasing them. Flabber says the monsters, Mums, Frankenbeans, and Count Fangula, are not bad guys and the two groups make peace. However, the victory is short-lived. While Flabber was able to make Drew, Jo, and Rolland Beetleborgs, just like in the comics, he accidentally released the Beetleborgs arch-nemesis, the Magnavores, starting with Noxic, Jara, and Typhus. But soon they are joined by Vexor, their leader. Beetleborgs make short work of the Vexor's minions, but they realize that since they came out of the comic books, they can summon other monsters from the comic book to do their bidding. Eventually they have to be able to defeat the Beetleborgs.

That's the basic setup for the show. How is it compared to The Power Rangers? That depends on your point of view. The show was clearly aimed at a younger audience than The Power Rangers were and the action and comedy tends to be on the slapstick side of things. The characters tend to be rather cheesy and over-the-top as well. For younger kids, this is part of the appeal. On the other hand, if you are an adult, it can get pretty difficult to take at times. Even if you were a fan of the show when it first came out, I don't think there's enough nostalgia built up to make it safe for adult consumption. Perhaps if you were a fan of the Power Rangers when it first started nearly 20 years ago, then perhaps you are old enough to have kids in the right age group for this show (about 6 to 8 years old). Or if you have kids in that range, then there's a good chance they will be entertained, cheese and all.

The Extras

There are no extras on this three-disc set. On the other hand, this DVD costs only a little more than the average Power Rangers single-disc release, so it is a bargain on a price-per-minute basis.

The Verdict

Big Bad Beetleborgs is one of many shows that tried to take advantage of the trend Mighty Morphin Power Rangers started. It's not bad compared to a lot of other similar shows, but it is not the best either, as it is aimed at a younger audience. Season One, Volume One doesn't have any extras, but the price-per-minute is hard to beat.

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