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BeastMaster
BeastMaster cast.JPG
BeastMaster cast
Format Action
Adventure
Fantasy
Created by Sylvio Tabet
Starring Daniel Goddard
Natalie Jackson Mendoza
Jackson Raine
Marjean Holden
Monika Schnarre
Dylan Bierk
Grahame Bond
Steven Grives
Country of origin  Australia
 Canada
 United States
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 67
Production
Executive producer(s) Sylvio Tabet
Greg Coote
Allan Eastman
Steve Feke
Jeffrey M. Hayes
Running time 45 mins
Broadcast
Original channel Sci-Fi Channel
Original run October 1, 1999 – May 1, 2002
External links
Official website

BeastMaster is a Canadian television series that aired from 1999 to 2002. It was loosely based on a 1982 MGM movie. The series aired for three complete seasons (66 episodes).

The series was nominated for the Open Craft Award in the category of cinematography by the Australian Film Institute in 2000, and for the Saturn Award for Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films, USA, in 2001. BeastMaster is currently running in syndication on Sci-Fi Channel in the USA, but not in any prime-time slots.

Contents

Premise

Dar (Daniel Goddard) is the last survivor of his tribe. He wanders the lands seeking his lost loved one, Kyra (Natalie Jackson Mendoza), protecting the oppressed and the animals. His friend Tao (Jackson Raine), a fearful, psychology-attracted young man, helps him in his quest. Tao is the scholar and the medicine man; Dar also meets another orphaned warrior named Arina (the athletic Marjean Holden) who first joins his quest for her own reasons, but eventually becomes a faithful companion. The world of the Beastmaster is full of lost tribes, genocide appears to be common, and all three of these characters are the survivors or last survivors of lost tribes.

The series also featured Monika Schnarre as the Sorceress, apprentice to the Ancient One, played by Grahame Bond. The regular human enemy of Dar, King Zad, was played by Steven Grives, and Marc Singer, the original Beastmaster, appears in the third season as Dartanus, the Spirit Warrior who helps Dar on his quest. The series also included many memorable guest appearances, such as the appearance of Grace Jones as the Impatra Warrior, Keith Hamilton Cobb as a Terron defector who is also in love with Kyra, and King Voden, played by Dai Paterson throughout the second season.

The general story arc of the series is that the world is changing, civilization is advancing, technology is gaining ground slowly, the old orders of magic and sorcery are fading, and the world is threatened by the supernatural being Balcifer, the Dark One, played by Jeremy Callaghan. Dar is the son of King Eldar, who was destroyed by Balcifer, and must locate and reunite his entire family, who have been turned into animals to hide them from Balcifer, in the Crystal Arc, to defeat Balcifer. It's never quite clear exactly how or why this would defeat such a powerful evil being, but it's central premise of the story in the third season.

Balcifer's agent on Earth is King Zad, who is first King of the Terrons, a savage tribe that enslaves and pillages at will, and later, when the tribe is destroyed by King Voden leading a group of Viking-like northerners, Zad re-emerges as the King of Xincha, the city at the center of the world (and Tao's former home), after deposing Voden, who fled into the wilderness at the end of the second season. There is a contrast there between the crude savage badness of King Zad and the refined, insane evil genius of King Voden, and King Zad emerges from the contest a more civilized, but still savage character.

The first episodes were violent and featured some very intense combat scenes, but as the first season wore on, the series began to take on a pacifist and naturalist tone. The series story arc should not be viewed strictly as a good vs. evil story, but rather a nature vs. technology, and nature vs. the unnatural story.

Characters

Dar is the Beastmaster, a man with the instincts and cunning of a wild animal and the emotions and soul of a man. After the Terrons destroyed his tribe, he was given sacred powers by Curupira, divine demon guardian of the wild beasts. Dar endured days of torturous trials before gaining the ability to communicate with animals and becoming a link between them and humans. Dar is a master fighter who has learned his techniques through the careful observation of all animal movement. He can approximate the attacks or defenses of eagles, tigers, cobras and numerous other creatures. Imbued with a deep reverence for life, he uses these powers only when necessary, and prefers to fight with a blunt club. He will kill only when he must. Indeed, it is Dar's natural intelligence that serves as his greatest weapon. Both fearsome and noble, Dar travels through his world, protecting the forests from the forces of evil and sorcery.

Tao has been Dar's companion and loving friend from the moment they met, when Dar saved Tao from certain death at the hands of the Terrons. Tao has none of Dar's grace, physical agility, or practical knowledge of the animal kingdom. Instead, he has an inquisitive, deductive, and educated mind. Born into a tribe of intellectuals, Tao has been sent by his people to wander the world, educating the people he encounters. His skills in reason and deduction, combined with his extensive learning, compliment Dar's natural intuition and animal instincts. Tao believes in the natural process of things, and finds the dark world of the "supernatural" both unnatural and abhorrent. Throughout his travels with Dar, Tao provides a running commentary on his beliefs—theorizing, concluding, and proffering critical assessments mixed with humor and wit.

The Sorceress has been studying and learning the ways of supernatural magic for ages. She lives to create, fascinated by the possibilities of new creatures, combinations of nature and the power to turn loose mythical forces. Moral judgment plays no part in her doings: She is amoral, concerned more with what is possible than with the potential consequences. The Sorceress is attracted to Dar and covets his ability to communicate with animals. She will go to great lengths to learn the secret of his talents. The Sorceress challenges her teacher, even defying his will. The Sorceress learned her craft under the watchful tutelage of The Ancient One. But their teacher-pupil relationship is strained when she discovers that The Ancient One robbed her of her one true love—Sharak, who was transformed into an eagle and now is one of Dar's animal companions. It is an impudence that does not go unpunished for long.

Arina Dar meets his match when he encounters the sultry warrior Arina. She works for the Nords, but is by no means on their side. Arina is on no one's side but her own. Like Dar, Arina is the last of her kind. During a terrible war, her entire tribe was wiped out—her lover, friends, family ... everyone she'd ever known. Now alone and hardened by her loss, she has turned to a life of treachery. She will fight, lie and even kill without hesitation. The only person who catches glimpses of Arina's softer side is Dar. But he knows she cannot truly be trusted and therefore resists their palpable, mutual attraction. And that's a fight which even Dar might not win.

The New Sorceress Eager to replace his former insolent pupil, The Ancient One "finds" another protégé, once again calling her simply The Sorceress. This wide-eyed student is eager to learn about the fascinating world in which she suddenly finds herself. Although the New Sorceress never takes human affairs too seriously, she doesn't mind meddling if it suits her fancy. She quickly becomes an ally to Dar, because she shares his reverence for the innocent animals of the forest. But despite her outward shows of goodwill, the New Sorceress is very much a follower of The Ancient One's teachings. She shares his cynicism and his dark magical powers, and ultimately is not to be trusted.

King Zad Having conquered his world through treachery and bloodshed, force and greed, Zad has established himself as the literal face of evil wherever the Terrons have visited. He has led the plunder of the Terrons for decades under one commandment: "Thou shalt have no other kings or gods except Zad." But Zad grew old, slow and complacent. In one fell swoop of an iron sword, he loses everything to the Nords. Losing his power to the barbarian invaders has roused his passion once more, reawakening the ambition, aggression and ruthlessness that will ensure Zad's name lives in eternal infamy.

Curupira is the guardian for all the animals of the forest. A powerful spirit-demon, she permits the killing of animals for food, shelter and medicines, but severely punishes those who abuse these privileges. Those who harm her animals never live to regret it. Curupira looks like an adolescent, charming and innocent, almost angelic, but with backward feet and an odd, exaggerated gait. But she doesn't act like a teenager. In many ways, Curupira is the most mature creature one can encounter. Curupira gave Dar his powers, and she frequently reminds him of his duty to watch over her forests. Curupira is looking to foster a new age of animal-human unity and harmony. But her powers are challenged by an evil force, and the fate of the forests is in question. Although she is extremely powerful, she was imprisoned while trying to prevent Iara from seizing control of the forests.

Iara is as deadly as she is beautiful. The buxom serpent-demon Iara rules over all water. Oceans and rivers, the muck and the slime, even the mists of dawn belong to her domain. Able to transform herself from a sexy seductress to a venomous snake, Iara sets her sights on Dar. But even the BeastMaster won't quench her thirst for power. In her lair beneath the sea, she plots one insidious plan after another. Iara is cunning, deceitful and has a destructive temper. She'll stop at nothing to seize control of Dar and the forests from Curupira.

The Ancient One is the ultimate wizard, The Ancient One reigns supreme in the mysterious world of magic and the supernatural sciences. He existed before there were animals or human beings. Though he often presents himself in a human avatar, his true, natural form is part bone and skin, part flowing amoeba-like substance, with a chaotic jumble of animal parts thrown in. He is a jig-saw puzzle of life. The Ancient One's powers are unsurpassed. He can destroy, create, and turn the world upside down for his purposes. He can cast spells that strip away emotions, memories and desires, he can twist time. He is more powerful than even The Sorceress, and as her teacher he both empowers and imprisons her. But he is also the link to a cosmos larger and even more mysterious than himself, and is destined ultimately to confront the consequences of his actions.

King Voden adopts a younger face in the visage of the mad King Voden. He unleashes his deadly wrath against King Zad and the Terrons in his sinister quest for power. As Voden's homeland is slowly but inexorably overrun by advancing mountains of ice, he leads his powerful Nord army—armed with fierce new metal weapons and an unrelenting thirst for blood—to conquer the Territories. In short order, Voden quickly becomes enemy number one for Dar, Tao and the animals.

Sharak was once a man who was deeply in love with the Sorceress. They both were cursed by the Ancient One. Sharak has been cursed to live forever and eternally roam the sky. The Sorceress was cursed to never have her memories of him or their love.

Black Apparition (Daughter of Darkness) is a former student to the Ancient One but she fell in love with him and was punished. It was in that moment the she embraced the full darkness and evil of the world into her, and became the Daughter of Darkness, her domain is the Burning Forest.

Television airings

The series is shown on the UK FTA satellite channel Zone Horror (Sky EPG No. 321). It is shown every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 11:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. It also airs on a Saturday, at 12:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

In the United States, syndication rights are held by Tribune Broadcasting. It also appears to be airing at 2:00 p.m. on Showcase HD channel.

It plays on Showcase in Canada, Monday through Friday at 4:00 p.m.

Continuity issues

There are some unclear points in the story, for example, that King Zad appears to have been alive for a very long time, as he was involved in the slaughter of Dar's father. Yet, he doesn't appear that old. This is not readily apparent in the beginning, but that sense develops later in the story, and is explainable by the fact that Zad is Balcifer's agent. Zad was apparently killed in battle and resurrected by Balcifer at some point, but it's never clear when this happened. It does not happen during the series.

There also appears to be a major gap in the series between the end of the second and the beginning of the third seasons that is never really explained. It appears that some considerable time elapses between the two seasons, and new characters, such as Zad's soothsayer, appear suddenly at the beginning of the third season without background or explanation. Perhaps the series was shortened by about a half a season, or there was supposed to be an interseason movie that never happened, hence the jump in the storyline.

External links








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