So hard was the fall, Mainframe doesn’t even exist any more. Let’s take a look, shall we?
First off, Mainframe followed up the excellent-ass Shadow Raiders with yet another toy-pimiping shit-fest for Fox Family called Weird-Ohs. The series revolved around a bunch of super-deformed fuckhats in the town of Weirdsville, just off Route 66, naturally. They liked racing their retarded cars.
This show sucked such an ungodly amount of ass that Fox Family pulled the plug on this collection of Oddworld rejects after just 13 episodes. For once, Fox made the right decision in cancelling a series.
So, once they realized that didn’t work, Mainframe went back to the well and dug out the rotten corpse of Beast Wars. Working some arcane Canadian voodoo, they reanimated the poor show for a sequel, Beast Machines.
After the end of the previous series, some of the surviving Beast Wars characters have somehow made it back to Cybertron, which is mysteriously empty and patrolled by the Vehicons, weird stupid Transformers with no spark.
It’s revealed that while the Maximals were all asleep (WHY?!!), Megatron rolled in and took over the place, and the Vehicons answer to him. It’s also implied that the Vehicons were once some of the Beast Wars characters but that makes no fucking sense because if it’s a new body with no spark/soul how can they be the same character? EXPLAIN, MEGATRON! EXPLAIN!
Anyway, the Mamixmals realize they can’t transform, and so they run and hide underground, where they conveniently find the Oracle.
The Oracle reformats everyone so they’re cyborgs, with biological parts instead of just machines, and for some fucked up reason they can transform again. Optimus and the others stage a rebellion to overthrow Megatron and figure out what the fuck happened to them.
Yes, show, I’d like to know what the fuck, too.
That brings me to another thing wrong with this series. I understand they wanted a more organic look. I understand the transformers changing in appearance over time. What I do not understand is why everything had to look so stupid. Megatron looks like an idiot in shower curtain, and the Maximals…..
WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? Why is everything super deformed? What’s with the Tron color scheme on Optimus? Why so much fucking purple? WHY? WHY ?WHY?
The series was entirely serialized, which for me is a point in its favour. The problem is, this story is the Matrix Revolutions of the Beast Wars continuity. It tried to explore philosophical ideas through a cyberpunk-y action-science fiction setting, but they just got too far up their own ass. The story makes no sense and it just feels preachy and self-important.
Despite all these problems, Beast Machines ran for two seasons. I have no idea how or why. I suppose the Transformers name will put butts in seats, no matter how bad the show is, right?
Next, Mainframe collaborated with MTV to bring us the 2003 Spider-Man animated series, which, like Weird-Ohs, was cancelled after 13 episodes. I don’t have much to say about this series, because I barely ever watched it. I hear that it’s remembered fondly, but to be honest the art style really turned me off.
From here on out, it was nothing but shit. We got such gems as…
The creatively named Action Man, about an extreme sports brah who was also part of a spy organization, Team Xtreme. Even at the age of 10 or so, I thought this was just boring. For a show called Action Man, there wasn’t much action to be had. Not only that, it was a pretty obvious rip off of a similar series, Max Steel, which Mainframe later worked on for a few episodes.
Then came Heavy Gear, an anime-ish series based on a Canadian tabletop strategy game no one’s ever heard of. This is another show I never saw much of, but if it makes any difference to ya, I did try watching it when it aired and got bored enough to tune out and never come back.
Beyond this point, there aren’t many notable series to discuss. Mainframe was obviously getting desperate for money by now because almost everything was extremely shitty licensed material.
Scary Godmother, a shitty cartoon based on shitty books, Casper’s Haunted Christmas, a shitty cartoon based on Bill Pullman based on a shitty cartoon…
…Stuart Little 3: No Real Actors Want Anything to Do With This….
…and a movie about Tony Hawk being abducted by circus freaks. Yes, really. I may have to sit down and watch this one, because it sounds awesome.
Aside from a few one-shot specials for Inspector Gadget, Harriet the Spy, and Arthur, Mainframe’s last production was a two-season television series called Zixx. It was awful. Big surprise.
For the first time, Mainframe incorporated live action footage into the show, and it was just as bad as the animated segments.
So, basically, there’s this alien named Zixx. She crashes to Earth, like every alien does at least once in their lifetime. It turns out the evil empire is already here doing whatever the fuck they do. Zixx accepts the help of a couple of Earth kids (because children are just so darn competent) to combat the big bads.
But this war is fought in the Network, which is basically just the space internet. So the series is basically about Tronning themselves into and out of the digital world to stop the forces of alleged evil. Look, after sitting through this crap to research this article, I think I want to just let them win.
The only other work Mainframe did after this was Hot Wheels or Barbie straight-to-DVD movies for Mattel. Yay!
And then they went bankrupt.
In 2007, to bail themselves out, Mainframe merged with Rainmaker Income Fund and was rebirthed as Rainmaker Entertainment. Given a second chance at life, what wondrous animated works have they given us? MORE FUCKING BARBIE MOVIES!
In 2009, Rainmaker released this teaser, with a potential 2010 release date:
I was so excited. I was absolutely down for more ReBoot. I was ready to forgive. I was ready to heal.
But 2010 came and went. And still nothing. Not even a cancellation announcement. Fuck you, Rainmaker. Fuck you forever.
Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed our look back at a once-great animation studio, and I hope some of you will check out their (better) series for yourselves!
Next week: Total Drama Island