Whether or not one liked the show, Beast Machines made quite an impression on the Transformers community and no matter what we do, it's here to stay. But for better or worse, one has to admit that the series definitely broke ground on several new levels, including the introduction of organics on Cybertron (however controversial it may be), having a setting that is in fact located on Cybertron itself, a heavily pseudo-religious theme integrated into it, as well as pressing the idea of two leaders who are in seriously questionable degrees of mental stability.
But there's something else in there that people gloss over, and I'm generally surprised after all the feminist ravings I've heard over the portrayals of most females in Transformers that it isn't mentioned more often: that Stryka may very well be the very first, and possibly the last, female Transformer character to appear that is anything close to what fans desire.
So who is Stryka? For those who haven't seen the second season, Stryka is a Cybertronian war general who partners with another (male) general by the name of Obsidian. She's introduced in the Sparkwar trilogy as one of Megatron's two new Vehicon generals and quickly establishes herself as a force to be reckoned with in the series. Her role changes very little through the course of the next six episodes before she is unceremoniously dumped from the series during the finale. However, even with only six or seven episodes of serious involvement and/or development, Stryka still manages to leave behind a rather interesting impression on the viewer.
What first strikes me as interesting is the completely lack of physical femininity about her. Without adequate references to her as female, I'd otherwise assume her male at first glance. Her voice reveals femininity, of course, but...