Interesting theory.Seibertron wrote:I've always assumed that the Beast Wars cartoon was very expensive, which is why it could only do 52 episodes over 3 years whereas they went with cheaper animation for the Unicron Trilogy, but were able to produce 52 episodes for one season (basically 3 times as many episodes for the same time period). I'm assuming that this approach was to allow more characters to be featured instead of having a smaller cast of characters which means less products featured.
On another note, regardless of CGI, there's a lot of anime out there that tend to run for 52 episodes, as that's something of a standard procedure for anime in general, with story arcs that run either 13 or 26 episodes in length. Formats of four 13-episode arcs or two 26-episode arcs, bringing the total episode count to 52, seem to be quite popular choices for anime companies.
Whereas Beast Wars's 52-episode length was something of happy coincidence since they made each season with an uncertainty of whether they'd get another season or not, and the decision to end the show happened to fall in late in the development for season 3, explaining the rather quick feeling of the last three episodes (like introducing and then quickly killing off Tigerhawk after they'd just introduced Megatron's new dragon form).