What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there are only two types of female characters in this fantasy series: old ladies and scantily clad babes (and there aren't very many old ladies). With some of the male characters walking around in heavy furs and others wearing various kinds of armor, it seems odd that the women are all so uniformly underdressed. The BeastMaster himself also wears very little, though the other male characters prefer more modest outfits. Most of the fight scenes are pretty tame, but some end up being to the death. Though the fatal blows occur offscreen, it's clear what's happening, and the killers don't always express much remorse.
What's the story?
BEASTMASTER is a sword-and-sorcery adventure show about a man who can converse with animals and is dedicated to protecting the wilds of the earth. This puts him in conflict with people who try to build anything in the woods, farmers who mistreat their animals, hunters who seem a bit too aggressive in trying to stock the larder, and anyone else who fails to recognize the beauty of the animal kingdom. Dar (Daniel Goddard) is the BeastMaster, a well-chiseled specimen who wields a stout quarterstaff and is well-versed in martial arts. His faithful companion, Tao (Jackson Raine), doesn't fight much but cooks up a mean healing potion when needed, whether to patch up his comrade or help a wounded animal. Together they set off in search of excitement in a land that's on the cusp of modernity.
Is it any good?
Despite its proto "eco-terrorist" premise, there's little that makes BeastMaster stand out from a field crowded with other brave wanderers seeking wrongs to right. In fact, one of the show's most interesting themes is the tension between progress and nature; at times it seems like Dar is trying to fight the future. Though this battle is clearly important today, it seems less critical in a series that's supposed to take place centuries ago, when humanity had far less mastery over the environment.
Ultimately, BeastMaster seems so much like so many other series about heroes looking for damsels (and others) in distress that it wouldn't seem strange to see a cameo appearance by Hercules, Xena, Krull, or any other generic, underdressed adventurer. On the plus side, since the series was filmed in Australia, it features plenty of great wildlife footage, particularly Dar's noble pet tiger (although the BeastMaster insists he doesn't keep pets, and the tiger just likes his company).
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about what shows like this one, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and Xena: Warrior Princess have in common. What other TV shows and movies can you think of that take place in a mythical era in which magic is common and adventurers wander the land in search of wrongs to right? Aside from the prevalence of magic, do these shows and movies seem like a realistic portrayal of any actual historical era? Is that really how villagers lived centuries ago? Why do you think so many adventure shows seem to take place in this type of setting? Families can also discuss the show's conflict between nature and technology. What parallels can you see between the show's plotlines and real issues today?