If you liked Power Rangers in the ‘90s, chances are you may have also been a Beetleborgs fan as well. This bizarre children’s action program – also co-produced by Saban and Toei – was a familiar staple of the legendary Fox Kids block that dominated TV airwaves for the better part of a decade. Yet despite the similarities to its more popular cousin (and older brother VR Troopers), Beetleborgs was a unique show all to itself. It was, perhaps, the single weirdest ameri-toku program ever broadcast. (Trust me. That’s saying a lot.)
What makes it so weird? Um, you mean, besides the concept itself? Three kids sneak into a haunted house and unleash the unholy spirit of Jay Leno and Liberace’s secret love child that grants them the power to transform into robot beetle soliders from their favorite comic book. That doesn’t sound strange to you? Yeah. Well, it’s pretty friggin’ weird. The murky Halloween theme and the flashy Japanese superhero footage was an odd combo, but it was as addictive as peanut butter and chocolate sometimes. Just not every episode. That’s why we’ve thrown together this guide to help you navigate through the wild and crazy mythology of Big Bad Beetleborgs and its sequel series Beetleborgs Metallix.
Without further ado, let’s blast these beetles.
Episodes 1-2: “Beetle Rock” Pts 1 & 2
Drew, Jo and Roland sneak into Hillhurst Mansion on a dare from bullies Trip and Van. (Think Bulk and Skull without the charm.) While inside, the kids are chased through the house by the monsters who live in it and release a ghost named Flabber who was trapped in a pipe organ. With his otherworldly Liberace-meets-Leno magic powers, Flabber offers to grant them a wish in return. They choose to become Beetleborgs, their favorite comic book superheroes. This spell also inadvertently releases their arch-nemeses (the Magnavores) from the comic book as well, who start wreaking havoc on the town of Charterville.
So yeah. All of the carnage that takes place here and in all future episodes of this series is these damn kids’ fault. Just because they wanted to be like their favorite heroes, they fuck up the world. Great lesson. Very millennial.
And is it just me, or does Flabber’s chin looks a lot bigger here than it does later on? His nose too. Good god.
Episode 19: “Convention Dimension”
The kids go to comic-con. Unfortunately, so do Jara, Noxic, and Typhus. There they meet Art Fortunes, the creator of the Beetleborgs comic series, and give him a mental breakdown after they transform into his creations and fight monsters in front of him. This episode is nothing to write home about, but it’s a required watch since it lays the groundwork for the rest of the series major storylines. And get used to Art – he’s basically a full time cast member by season two.
Hey, look! It’s Spider-Man! That’s because Saban had the television rights at the time because of the animated series they were also producing. Also, keep your eye out for Janperson, a completely different Metal Hero tokusatsu series to be spliced in out of nowhere. Just because. (Actually, I think it was from a B-Fighter team-up episode…)
Episode 26: “Curse of the Shadow Borg” (Part 1)
Here’s where the legendary Shadow Borg saga begins, which can be likened to this show’s version of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ “Green With Evil” mini-series, but it’s not nearly as intense or game-changing. The Magnovores steal a piece of Drew’s Blue Blaster Beetle armor so they can create their own evil Beetleborg named, you guessed it, Shadow Borg. Meanwhile, a new kid named Josh wanders into town, and Drew’s big crush Heather starts to fall for him. Ruh oh.
Episode 27: “The Rise of the Blaster Borg” (Part 2)
While Shadow Borg rampages across Charterville, blowing up entire buildings with just one shot of his laser gun (gotta love toku logic), Josh continues to sweep Heather off her feet – literally – by taking her to the hospital after she sprains her ankle while she was doing all that damseling.
Drew, Jo, and Roland somehow get themselves to Urbana City where they bully Art Fortunes into coming to Hillhurst to help sketch up a new weapon to stop Shadow Borg. After being chased around by the house monsters a bit, Art sketches up a design for the new White Blaster Beetle Borg. And unfortunately for Drew, the rest of the team wants Josh to take on its powers.
The prospect of a new Beetleborg is exciting as hell…but what will the show do with it?
Episode 28: “The Revenge of Vexor” (Part 3)
Vexor orders Jindrax, Noxic and Toxica to collect all Beetleborgs comic books in Charterville to raise his new dark army. But the kids are on a mission to convince Josh that they’re the Beetleborgs, and that he can become one too, if he follows them to Hillhurst. Eventually, he gives in and Flabber gives him the power to become the White Blaster Beetle Borg – and just in time to have a showdown with a recharged Shadow Borg! Oh poop.
The debut of the White Blaster is one of the fondest memories I had from the series. (I especially loved his design.) But it’s interesting to note that his counterpart in B-Fighter, whose name is Kabuto, is barely seen and doesn’t even have a human alter ego whatsoever. His character is more wacky than anything else, which is the complete opposite of Josh Baldwin’s temperament. Surprising, too, how underused he was in the parent series.
Episode 29: “A Friend in Need” (Part 4)
Josh backs out of being the fourth Beetleborg because Flabber is that annoying. I don’t blame the kid. It’s like having caffeinated Mike Meyers as a very nosey and flamboyant stepdad.
The kids are disturbed by the news about Vexor’s new army approaching, so Art draws up another new weapon: the Thunder Stinger. Of course, only the Blue Beetleborg can use it. Why? Chalk it up to his blue privilege I guess. Anyway, it’s still not enough to stop Shadow Borg who winds up being fended off by Josh, who decides to stick around after all. Yes! We have a fourth member now. Please let it last!
Episode 30: “Raiders of the Tomb” (Part 5)
In the fifth installment of the Shadow Borg mini-series, Drew and new guy Josh aren’t quite getting along, seeing as “sixth rangers” tend to disrupt the team dynamic according to the laws of tokusatsu. Yet according to these same contradictory laws, they must put aside their differences to help the team find the Energy Axis, an artifact found in older issues of the Beetleborgs comic that can amplify their powers.
So the boys sneak into the Magnavore’s crypt where it’s hidden away to recharge Shadow Borg. An enraged Vexor catches them and attacks them with a monster. Drew uses the Energy Axis on himself to become the Mega Blue Blaster Beetleborg, the most powered-up borg yet.
The Mega Blue Blaster power-up is one of the better ones featured on the show, even if it wasn’t seen as much as it could have been. Maybe that’s because it was introduced towards the end of B-Fighter? I’m literally shrugging right now because I don’t know.
Episode 31: “Big Rumble in Charterville” (Part 6)
The entire Shadow Borg arc ends on a high note. Vexor makes an unwelcome visit to Hillhurst to invite the Beetleborgs. He proposes a challenge: if they defeat Shadow Borg in one final battle, he’ll send all of the Magnavores back to the comics. The borgs agree. The next day after school, each one faces off against his minions in fateful (and goofy) battle.
After lots of hiya-s, sparks, inappropriate fight music and poorly rendered comic book sound effects, Drew finally blows Shadow Borg the fuck up with the help his new Mega powers and the Thunder Stinger. Unfortunately, this also extinguishes Josh’s White Blaster Beetle powers too. How convenient, Beetleborgs. Thanks for getting our hopes up like that.
Anyway, Vexor doesn’t keep his end of the deal and takes on the remaining Borgs by himself. They kick his ass and Art Fortunes goes back to Urbana City a changed man. Josh Baldwin is never seen or heard from again. My guess is Drew strangled him with piano wire and let the monsters feed off his fresh young corpse.
Why are you so shocked? They eat kids! It’s a plot point in every friggin’ episode.
Episode 39: “Jo’s Strange Change”
Jumping ahead, our next essential installment is also one of the show’s most head-scratching.
While screwing around with Flabber’s Phantasm Handbook, Wolfie accidentally casts a spell on Jo that completely changes her appearance. Flabber and the gang look for a way to reverse the effects, but as their hands get full with a new monster to handle and Trip, Van, and Heather sneaking into Hillhurst, they begin to realize that Jo’s new look is here to stay.
So what was up with this sudden casting change? Shannon Chandler, the original actress to play Jo McCormick, had to leave the show when she was cast in another Saban production – the direct-to-video sequel Casper: A Spirited Beginning. To do so, she was required to join the Screen Actors Guild which forced her to give up her role on Beetleborgs because it was a non-union show. Thus Brittany Konarzewski, the new Jo stepped in. And nobody batted an eye.
I think we need to take a moment to give Shannon Chandler some respect for her role on the show and in the weird Casper sequel starring Steve Gutenberg that nobody asked for. She was a fine child actor that brought a lot of gusto to her role. I don’t see much activity on her IMDB profile past a Mary-Kate and Ashley movie in the year 2000, so I wonder where she’s at now.
With that said, Brittany Konarzewski redefined the role of Jo and made it her own, adding a new flavor to the team’s chemistry. She’s in it for the long haul, so don’t worry about any other major casting changes with her role or anyone else’s. Scout’s honor.
Episode 50: “Brotherly Fright”
The ghoulish inhabitants of Hillhurst Mansion have a new fitness obsession all of a sudden. Noxic calls upon his muscley younger brother Super-Noxic to be Hillhurst’s resident personal trainer. He disguises himself as a crazy medieval gimp and starts making the house monsters get physical. Soon enough, the kids figure out what’s going on and call upon the power of Drew’s Mega Blue Blaster form to send him back to the comics.
Okay. So this is not the most important episode of Beetleborgs ever put to film, but meeting a minion’s brother is kind of a big deal for this show. I think?
Episode 52: “Borgslayer”
The two-part finale to Beetleborgs’ zany first season (and end of the “Big Bad” era) begins with Vexor and the Magnivores storming into Art Fortunes’ office in Urbana City to find a powerful new monster to summon. They ransack his filing cabinet and find concept art for a new character named Nukus.
Art protests, saying that he didn’t draw him in the first place, but the Magnavores don’t listen and waltz out with it. Meanwhile, Flabber gets imprisoned inside of the pipe organ again thanks to the antics of the house monsters. It seems as though we’re coming full circle here, don’t it?
Back at the crypt, Vexor summons forth this Nukus fellow who turns out to be a lot more dangerous than anyone expected. After shrinking Toxica down and taunting her, he raises an army of past Magnavores from the dead to lure out the Beetleborgs by – what else – destroying Charterville. It takes just about their whole arsenal, but the Beetleborgs manage to destroy them all.
Jindrax accuses Nukus of failing, but the strange new warrior reveals the next step in his plan: using the energy from the Beetleborgs’ blasters to fuse together the remains of all Vexor’s creatures to create Borgslayer, an unholy mega-monster the likes of which the kids have never seen before.
The stakes are higher than they could ever get in a series such as this. The show starts showing signs of developing a reasonably competent over-arching narrative that sets up significant changes for the following year. I guess Saban had a crash course in rebranding a year before when Mighty Morphin transitioned to Zeo, so the move to Metallix was a piece of cake.
Episode 53: “Vexor’s Last Laugh”
Borgslayer proves to be too much for the trio, so they retreat to Hillhurst where they find the monsters have prepared Art Fortunes to eat for supper. The kids intervene and finally figure out a way to get Flabber out of that damn organ again.
Nukus carries out his plans to bomb Hillhurst and the Beetle Base immediately. The Beetleborgs summon Gargantus to help defend their turf, which is exactly what Nukus wanted them to do, and Borgslayer absorbs its energy and destroys it in the process.
After an exhausting battle, the Beetleborgs triangulate their laser fire around Borgslayer to blast him to pieces. Fortunately, this act also sends all Magnavores back to the comic books for good – including Jindrax, Toxica, Noxic, and Vexor himself.
The kids’ victory celebration back at the haunted mansion is cut short when Flabber asks them to return their powers because their job is now finished, since there are no more bad guys to gently beat up. But as soon as they hand them over, an angry voice calls them from outside – it’s Nukus, and he’s looking for revenge…
And here endeth the Big Bad Beetleborgs as the world knew them.
Next up is Season 2, which is a different (and better) beast than its predecessor.
Still here? Good!
Season 2 – Beetleborgs Metallix
Compared to Big Bad, which suffered from a noticeable lack of momentum in the story department, Metallix is an improvement across the board. Why? Two reasons. One: the confidence levels of the cast and crew. They now had an incredible amount of synergy to work together and have silly fun doing it. Two: the gorgeously strange B-Fighter Kabuto source footage, which happens to be infinitely more eventful than the series it spun-off from.
Of course, Metallix can most certainly be accused of not doing Kabuto’s footage any justice at all and I completely agree with that. Although it’s a Metal Hero show, Kabuto should be ranked up there with the best Super Sentai entries Toei cranked out during the ‘90s, so to see it adapted into a funnier, more exciting version of Goosebumps was a disservice to its greatness. But compared to the season of Power Rangers that it aired in the same programming block with (Turbo), Metallix was pretty solid.
Season two features an accelerated storyline that gets more and more serialized towards its end with little to no filler in between. The writers may have approached some of these later episodes as filler in some respects, but they just couldn’t escape the epicness of the source material they had to work with. So, they were forced to write their version of a highly serialized storyline. This new pacing reinforced Metallix’s action heavy image, rewarded Beetleborgs’ core audience for sticking around, and lured new viewers in with its smorgasbord of insane gadgetry that would make their spandex-clad cousins jealous.
Episode 54: “Crush of the Crustaceans”
Guess what? The regular Big Bad Beetleborg powers are not enough to stop Nukus and are soon destroyed by their new foe. The kids try to fend him off using their other super abilities, but it’s no good. He enters Hillhurst mansion and turns Flabber into a badly computer generated ice sculpture anyway. He then finds Art hiding in a closet, clutching onto a sketch of Nukus and whimpering. The comic book mastermind freaks out and tells the Crustacean that he’s not the one who drew the sketch, his brother Les Fortunes did. And he’s locked up in the Charterville Prison where he apparently spends his days drawing evil monsters and naming them after subphylums of arthropods.
As Nukus heads over to the big house to find this wacko, the kids get proactive and use the Phasm Handbook to search for a way to stop Flabber from melting. In the process, they learn a new spell – “Bug Out” – which turns them into actual, real-life, honest to goodness beetles! The kids use this to their advantage and infiltrate the prison where Nukus and his new pal Les summon two more Crustaceans, Horribelle and Vilor.
Despite the kids’ attempts to persuade Les not to follow along (in their little beetle form!), he doesn’t comply and joins forces with his nefarious creations. He’s loyal like that.
By the way, Les Fortunes (played by Marshal Hilton) is a wonderful addition to the cast. Ameri-toku shows are almost always made better by introducing original, non-suit actor villains to mix things up. Divatox, Astronema, her spiritual cousin Tenaya 7 and Heckyl all come to mind. Les’ chemistry with Nukus and the rest of the Crustaceans makes their scenes exponentially more lively and entertaining than watching the Magnavores mime and gesture like they’re talking when they’re just being dubbed.
Episode 55: “Metallix Rising”
The Crustaceans break Les out of Charterville Prison and cause a riot in the process. If that’s not sucky enough, they trap our heroes (and a bewildered Art Fortunes) in one of the cells. Sounds kind of intense for a kid’s show, does it not? On paper it is. In action, it’s not. Anyway, they escape using Jo’s super strength and dash back to Hillhurst to rescue Flabber from melting. Les and Nukus hijack the comic shop where Art pleads his brother to stop being a maniac so they can be a family again. Needless to say, Les declines.
After the kids return Flabber to normal, Art announces that he’s developing a new, super-powered version of his heroes: the Beetleborgs Metallix. Their flabulous friend manifests their new powers on the spot, and they’re soon tested out to save Nano and the rest of the city from a sudden wave of monsters. So they’re going to stop that giant worm tank that’s heading their way…how, exactly?
The original Big Bad/B-Fighter suits will always have a special place in my heart, but there’s something downright beautiful about the Metallix/Kabuto upgrades. Their design signals a shift from the “lighthearted“ nature of the RGB color scheme to the mystic shimmer of metallic armor. Drew’s new Chromium Gold getup is more noble looking than his former Blue Stinger garb. It feels like a reward for his accomplishments of being such a good little leader in the past season. (Or not, whatever.)
Roland’s Titanium Silver suit also fits his character better than Green Hunter did, mostly because it emphasizes that he’s the calm one of the team. It also might be my favorite of the three in appearance.
Platinum Purple, Jo’s Metallix makeover, is more elegant and contoured and therefore “cuter” than Red Striker’s busty frame. However, I tend to prefer that to her new purple look. That’s just me though.
Oh, the Data Bonders! We can’t forget to mention those puppies. Beetle Bonders were dope, it’s true, but Data Bonders were doper. The extra “input…card!” step was added in because widget-slinging makes any henshin sequence that much more exciting. Same thing with the Data Lasers. “Input…card!” You had to call it out before pulling the trigger, otherwise it wouldn’t fire properly. You just had to! (At least that’s how it worked in my head.)
Episode 56: “Battle Station Alert”
Remember a few episodes ago when the Beetle Battle Base exploded, destroying the Beetle Assault Vehicles along with it? Those Magnavores were such dickheads. Well, that would come in handy to stop that giant worm tank that’s still coming their way, wouldn’t it?
The kids rescue Art from being tortured at the cemetery by Nukus (!). He thanks them by sketching up a new Battle Base and the Beetle Force which is made up of B.V.s (Battle Vehicles). That’s a whole lotta beetle goin’ on.
This new artillery gets the job done, and the Hillhurst crew feels safer now that they have a gigantic aircraft hull beneath their front yard again. Now that they have a full arsenal back at their disposal, the house monsters can go back to trying to stir fry children’s tender flesh for supper – but in a cute way!
Episode 57: “Ghoul Trouble”
Everybody’s hunting high and low across the mansion for Flabber’s missing Phasm Handbook. During their search, the kids run into Little Ghoul, a new house monster that they assume is one of the Crustaceans at first. While the Beetleborgs take time out of their search to stop Nukus’ latest creation, the rest of the house votes on whether or not Little Ghoul should be allowed to live in their basement or not. (Spoiler: she does.)
Episode 58: “Totally Slammin’ Sector Cycles”
Nukus hypnotizes the youth of Charterville with the mystically annoying voice of Les’ new singing monster The Hag Fish of Gar, the Beetleborgs break out their new Sector Cycles to break his spell and maybe cruise around for while. Hey, why not?
Episode 64: “Extra…Beetleborgs Revealed”
When a hotshot investigative journalist discovers the Beetleborgs’ true identity, she has the scoop of the century on her hands. But will the Crustraceans let her live to talk about it?
This episode is proof of how Metallix continued to raise the bar and set a new standard for the show’s modest thrills (again, mostly because of B-Fighter Kabuto’s great footage). This particular episode is filler, sure, but its one of the most memorable Beetleborgs episodes of all time because of its climax which takes place in a burning skyscraper.
Episode 66: “Attack of the Brain Suckers”
Les Fortunes and his Crustaceans invade the office of comic book publisher Rudy McDougal. There they pitch a new comic book called Brain Sucker, based on the adventures of their latest monster of the same name who really does suck brains. In fact, he sucks the brain of the big man in charge and makes him order all Beetleborgs comics to be discontinued and replaced with Brain Sucker Comics. What’s a borg to do?
Episode 75: “The Lost Comic”
Now this is where things get really interesting.
Nukus decides that Les Fortunes is completely worthless and sends him back to prison. But Les stops him from going through with it by mentioning that he’s the only one that knows where the Astral Sword is. Sounds neat, but what the heck is it? We find out in a flashback that reveals both of the Fortunes brothers made a comic book together when they were kids – their only known collaboration. It contains the Astral Sword, a mystical sabre that summons Roboborg the giant beetle warrior.
Also buried in the pages of this missing comic are the Astral Coins, which contain the essence of the Astral Borgs and the evil Mantrons which Les created.
Both our heroes and the Crustaceans race to dig up the lost comic book so they can claim the Astral Sword and Coins for their own. When all is said and done, the kids claim the sword and a handful of the Astral Coins for the side of good. Meanwhile, Nukus calls up the evil Mantrons to fight off the Beetleborgs in a fierce battle.
And so begins the Astral Borg Saga, the final (and best) chapter of the series.
Episode 76: “Enter the Dragonborg”
Drew, Jo and Roland sneak into the Crustacean’s crypt to steal back the Astral Coins, but they get away with only four of them. To play it safe, they keep one and bury the rest in the park. While the Mantrons ransack Hillhurst looking for the coins, the kids bring forth Dragonborg using the Dragonfly Astral Coin. This Astral Borg, who might be a Sean Connery impersonator in his spare time, protects the hidden coins by locking them up in Little Ghoul’s secret safe along with the Astral Sword. He also gives the Drew a new weapon to defeat the Mantrons: the Astral Laser.
Episode 77: “To Foretell the Truth”
The Astral Coins have gone missing. Flabber brings a psychic medium named Madame Myra over to find them, which leads to – you guessed it – corny gags galore. Horribelle and Mantix wreak havok across town to draw out the Beetleborgs while Vilor attacks the mansion demanding the Astral Sword.
Flabber eventually discovers that Mums has the coin with the Firebug emblem on it and sends it to Jo. She uses it to summon Fireborg who gives her the Astral Pulsar. This nifty gadget can restore damaged Beetleborg armor in addition to fucking shit up.
Episode 78: “Wolfie’s Wild Ride”
Wolfie is revealed to have the Lightning Bug Astral Coin, but he’s not going to give it up without a negotiation with his agent first (who is just Fangula in a suit making Jerry McGuire references). Their terms: Wolfie gets to go into battle alongside the kids to fight the bad dudes, they’ll get their coin. Drew is like, hell to the no.
Over at the crypt, Les Fortunes makes a deal with Vilor and turns him into Super-Vilor! Following his lead, the Mantrons storm Hillhurst, again, to find the Astral Sword. (They should think about sketching up a full-time security staff to help out.) Super-Vilor is so super he gets his hands on it and the Firebug Coin too.
When Nukus launches another attack, the Beetleborgs agree to let Wolfie come along and fight. The werewolf manages to be more helpful than expected, grabbing the sword back from the Crustaceans and taking it back to the mansion. Ha. Yeah. Like it will be safe there.
The team calls upon Lightning Borg (who is more or less Troy McClure as a lightning bug robot). He kicks Super-Vilor’s not-so-super-after-all ass with his sonic disruption rays and dual katanas. He gives Drew the Data-Dex and tells him to combine it with his Data Laser, the Astral Laser and the Astral Pulsar to form the Astral Blaster. (Whew.) Drew uses it to zap Super-Vilor back to being just good old regular Vilor again.
Episode 79: “Lady and the Champ”
Aww. Fangula’s not feeling too well and the rest of the house tries to make him feel better. Horribelle disguises herself as a nurse to infiltrate the mansion and steal the Astral Sword. Yes, she succeeds.
Long story short, the reason Fangula wasn’t feeling well was because he had swallowed the Ladybug Coin. When they get it out (somehow), the kids summon Ladyborg and her Astral Bazooka to help them in another knock down, drag-out fight with the Mantrons. Good stuff!
Episode 80: “Astral Ransom”
The Crustaceans and Mantrons hold Flabber hostage in a municipal parking lot (?) so the kids will hand over all the Astral swag they still got. They give everything back except for one of the coins, but it’s okay because the bad guys don’t keep their end of the deal either. While the kids stop Nukus’ worm tanks from doing their thing, Dragonborg gets into a brutal fight with the Mantrons that should not be missed. But the action ends abruptly when a suddenly freed Flabber asks them to regroup at the mansion.
Episode 81: “Astral Ambush”
The House Monsters are fed up with the escalating astral conflict that’s constantly disrupting their homelife. And who can blame them?! So while the Beetleborgs are off duking it out with the Mantrons for the umpteenth time, they offer Nukus the only Astral Coin the kids have for protection. When Little Ghoul is sent to deliver it, Dragonborg and the Beetleborgs intercept and get involved in yet another vicious showdown with the Mantrons.
In their most desperate moment, the rest of the Astral Borgs show up to save them and the kids once again have the Astral Sword and all eight Astral Coins in their possession. Fuck yeah!
Episode 82: “Roboborg”
Now that they have everything they need, Drew, Jo, Roland and Flabber put the all Astral Coins inside the sword to call upon Roboborg for a test drive – but Little Ghoul runs up and steals it before they can. Claiming that it rightfully belongs to her and the house monsters, she uses it to wreak havoc on the mansion, trapping the kids in the basement.
To make things worse, Les Fortunes dresses up like a junk man and stops by Hillhurst to convince the monsters to trade the Astral Sword for a trunk full of fresh bugs. The kids transform and escape only to find Les flying off with the magic weapon because the house monsters can’t find fresh bugs on their own in an abandoned house, apparently. When he returns to the cemetery, Les wields the sword in front of Nukus and his minions, claiming that it is his and his alone. The Beetleborgs soon break in after dealing with a handful of monsters in the graveyard and steal it back once again.
If this sounds like a lot of back and forth to you…well, that’s because it is.
Tired of being chased by the Mantrons and the Crustaceans, Drew decides to finally summon Roboborg to save their asses. Finally! Yes! Summon Roboborg! Jesus Christ. The giant beetle warrior descends from the heavens and tears through Nukus’ army of Worm Tanks like a boss. And so ends the great Astral War…for a couple of minutes, anyway.
Episode 83: “Mega Spectra Beetleborgs”
The Beetleborgs catch Nukus and his crew planting dynamite all over Charterville in hopes to destroy it once and for all. Not having any of that, our heroes immediately call upon Roboborg but are kinda worried about how much damage he could potentially do to the town in the process (something that strangely no Power Ranger has ever been concerned about).
As a gift with purchase, the colossal Megazord-analog turns their Sector Cycles into Mega Spectra Sector Cycles. Roboborg is such a nice guy!
Feeling a case of power-up envy, Nukus brings Les’s Trangsmographier device to life and turns himself into Mega-Nukus! Of course he forbids the other Crustaceans to use it. But Vilor does anyway, turning himself into – get ready for it – Mega-Vilor!
Mega-Nukus destroys the device before Horribelle can get her Mega form because he’s a – here it comes – Mega-Asshole! Then he goes out to pick on the Beetlebrats compulsively as he tends to do. The kids get pissed and blast them with lasers from their Mega Spectra Cycles, but it doesn’t seem to do much, so the kids summon – you guessed it – Roboborg again. He scares the Crustaceans away.
Afterwards, they ask the beetle themed behemoth if he could maybe upgrade their armor to Mega Spectra mode, too. The gentle giant agrees and zaps them with his Mega Spectra energy. Then he takes off, even though their armor looks the same as it always has. Huh.
The kids spend the rest of the day trying to figure out why their new power-up isn’t working (while Fangula manages his own psychic hotline, by the way.) But no matter what phrase they say, it won’t activate. They get another chance to test them out when Mega-Nukus and Mega-Vilor show up. Jo suggests saying, “Go Mega Borg”…which seems to work just fine, actually.
And so the Beetleborgs finally transform into their new Mega Spectra mode which, judging by the color, is a mash up of both the Big Bad powers and Metallix powers. Plus wings. This is an American only, Saban created power-up that wasn’t featured in B-Fighter Kabuto at all. Even if it makes your eyes bleed a little, it’s still adequately badass and should be considered a precursor – if not the inspiration – for future Power Rangers Battleizers.
(Fun fact: The first battleizer would debut in Power Rangers in Space, which aired a year after Metallix. Coincidence? We think not.)
Plus, giving the Beetleborgs the ability to fly isn’t just cool or appropriate, it fits right in with the loose comic book theme. Bonus points for that.
The Mega Spectra powers overwhelm Mega-Nukus and Mega-Vilor until they run away. Again. We’re starting to notice a pattern here…
Episode 84: “Battle of the Giants”
This episode starts off uncharacteristically with a training session the Beetleborgs set up to test out Roboborg’s shooting skills. Then we cut to Nukus telling Les Fortunes that he’s ready to get rid of him. Les comes up with an idea off the top of his head to save his ass: he’ll sketch up the Astral Axe, a weapon that will summon yet another huge robot named Boron who can fight Roboborg. Just as Mega- Nukus forces him to do this, Horribelle comes around the corner and offers Les a deal: if he finishes his drawing, she’ll grab the Axe as soon as Mega-Nukus conjures it up and they’ll make a run for it together. He agrees, and they carry out their plan.
Back at Hillhurst, Little Ghoul refuses to come out of the basement for some reason, leaving the rest of the house monsters with empty stomachs because it was her turn to cook breakfast. The kids don’t have time to deal with that, though. Horibelle double crosses Les Fortunes and calls forth Boron herself. Mega-Nukus quickly stops her, reclaims the Astral Axe and orders Boron attack Urbana City.
In an epic Megazord-sized battle, Roboborg stops this from happening. The kids wail on the Crustaceans with their new power-ups and they run away again.
Oh, and Flabber finds out Little Ghoul was hiding in the basement because she developed a fear of giants because of the ten story mecha roaming around these days.
Episode 85: “Robo Rumble”
While the kids are forced to deal with a werewolf hunter setting traps for Wolfie around Hillhurst, Les Fortunes steals the Astral Axe to play a sinister game of Simon says with Boron that leads to another mega sized rumble between the good kids and the bad guys. The Mega Spectra powers take on Mega-Nukus and his gang on the ground and Roboborg and Boron fly off to have their fateful showdown on the surface of the moon. Just in case their first fight wasn’t epic enough. If you can’t already tell, this episode is freaking awesome.
Episode 86: “Super Fang”
Flabber allows Fangula to think he has superpowers and the count becomes Super-Fang. Besides that, Mega-Nukus and Horribelle storm the comic shop looking for the kids. Jo and Drew transform to stop them so Roland can watch after Nano. Super-Fang rallies up the rest of the house monsters to go to the Crustacean’s crypt to steal the Astral Axe.
When the Beetleborgs have to bail them out, round three of Roboborg Vs. Boron begins…
Episode 87: “Experiment in Evil”
The penultimate episode of Beetleborgs introduces us to Frankenbeans’ creator, Baron Von Frankenbeans. He arrives at the mansion carrying a huge egg. This is an evil experiment he’s conducting that will help the win the war against Nukus. Surprise! The Crustaceans kidnap him and help him hatch his egg for their own nefarious purposes while distracting the Beetleborgs with another Boron attack.
When the kids finally get to the Baron, they discover that the egg has hatched into a huge evil monster with tentacles that doesn’t even look like a friggin’ plant. (That’s because this “evil experiment” is actually Mother Melzard, the final monstrous big bad of B-Fighter Kabuto.)
Episode 88: “Mega Borg Power”
In the final episode of Beetleborgs ever, Mega-Nukus and the Crustaceans mix toxic sludge from the Charterville sewer system with Les’ drawings to create an army of mutants and Repgillian, the ultimate monster. Their attack on Urbana City is so severe that a major evacuation occurs. After a fateful showdown, the Beetleborgs claim the Astral Axe and Boron for themselves once again, Les Fortunes voluntarily heads back to jail, and Frankenbeans is revealed to not have a brain inside his big thick skull.
This finale is a bittersweet note end things off on. It’s certainly aware that it’s the end but downplays it. Although it’s arguably the most eventful episode in the show’s entire run, it still refuses to take itself seriously whatsoever. It’s an open-ended non-ending, much like the final episode of Power Rangers Zeo. But it’s more satisfying because you know that since none of the main villains have been destroyed, there will still be more adventures to come. Even if they never do in this reality, they will in our imaginations. That’s what counts.