One of my all-time favorite cartoons was 1994’s ReBoot, the first fully computer-generated half-hour technological adventure comedy. Taking place “inside the system” so to speak, the show revolved around Mainframe, the digital city inside of a computer’s CPU. The citizens were comprised of many different Formats: varying from Binomes, the simpler formats shaped like ones and zeroes, to Sprites, the humanoid avatars of the all-digital world. Viruses like Megabyte and Hexadecimal were most commonly humanoid as well, but their sole function was disruption of the System.
Added to the Sprite’s troubles was the frequent penchant for the User (the human in possession of their particular computer) to play Games, which in this universe would cause damage to Mainframe if the user were to win the game. It was up to the boldest Sprites and Mainframe’s designated Guardian, Bob, to beat the user at his or her own game to prevent Sectors (basically Mainframe’s city blocks) from being destroyed by a win. Guardians come from the Net — the vast connective pipeline of different Systems — and are part of a legion of sworn protectors.
The series initially aired two consecutive seasons from 1994-1996 and returned (stateside) for a third in 1998. Two feature-length movies were eventually split into 8 episodes to comprise a fourth season in 2001. A return to the series has long been rumored to be taking place but it appears that now, in 2015 (or 2016, since a solid release date has not been confirmed) we’re finally getting our long-awaited return to the ReBoot universe with ReBoot: The Guardian Code!
Vancouver’s own Rainmaker Entertainment Inc., which produced the original series, has dedicated a new division to the production of the series titled Mainframe Division. Last fall, a new logo for the forthcoming series debuted, but further details have been scarce until now. There will be 26 (!!!) half-hour episodes, which could either mean one really long season, or perhaps two 13-episode seasons mirroring the length of the first two seasons.
The unfortunate, but understandable, news surrounding the series is that involvement from fan-favorite original characters like Bob, Dot Matrix, Enzo Matrix, and AndrAIa (the latter two are seen above in the featured image) is likely to be important to the plot, but could be minimal in terms of screen time. As technology and its wide-ranging user applications have evolved into incarnations far beyond the PC, so too will the story of Mainframe. Four teenagers–Austin, Parker, Grey, and Tamra–are going to be the protagonists of the new series after they’ve discovered that they are the next generation of Guardians.
Interestingly, since the series is billed as a mixture of live-action and animation, it would appear that the Guardian Protocol has extended to Users/humans, with the four young new guardians entering cyberspace in order to save the real world. The premise sounds a bit like the polarizing Real Adventures of Jonny Quest series, also from the 90’s, which saw Jonny and his pals enter cyberspace for a large portion of their world-saving adventures.
TWC/Dimension Television will be in charge of distributing the series to a brand new generation of viewers. Fans of the original series are sure to enjoy the return to Mainframe, but should expect the series to hew closer to the tone of the first two seasons and be less dark than the later seasons.
Yesterday’s press release from Corus Entertainment explains the hybrid nature of the forthcoming ReBoot reboot:
Transcending age groups with appeal to kids, tweens and teens, ReBoot: The Guardian Code is an adventure-comedy series about four teens (Austin, Parker, Grey and Tamra) who discover that they’re next-gen Guardians with a mission to save the world, by defending it in cyberspace. The Internet revolutionized the world, but it also left it vulnerable to attack. With the help of VERA, the last surviving cyberbeing from the original Guardian Program, our heroes stream into cyberspace where they use their awesome code-based powers to battle viruses that have been unleashed by a ruthless hacker. Known only as the Sourcerer, he seeks to rule the world by controlling cyberspace. Original fans of the show will be happy to hear that Megabyte will be back and he’s getting a major upgrade. ReBoot will showcase leading edge technologies and bring coding into the mainstream for kids.
When Austin, Parker, Grey and Tamra are not trying to stop viruses from overloading a nuclear power station, or remotely opening a dam to flood a city, or playing Criss Cross Crash Hour with a city’s transportation grid, our heroes are being typical teens: arguing with their parents over curfews; dealing with crushes; or trying to avoid getting suspended for skipping class when they’re really on a cyber mission to save the world!
Thanks to TheMarySue for pointing out that the reflection in the unidentified Guardian’s helmet above features FREAKING MEGABYTE! I hope we’ll be seeing his twin virus Hexadecimal as well. She may have started out as a queen of chaos in Mainframe but she became quite the anti-hero in the end. Still… FREAKING MEGABYTE!
IMAGES: Rainmaker Entertainment, Inc.