ReBoot (1994 – 2001): Looking back at the '90s best computer-animated TV Show

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When the ‘90s nostalgia hits me, it hits so hard that I sometimes feel like am re-living the past. Last week, while rummaging my room for my PS4 gamepad, I came across a worn-our DVD cover for the ReBoot TV series. A computer-animated show that taught me all I know about computers and computing!


I know what you’re thinking…

Yes, I bought the DVD version of the series so that I could watch it repeatedly when it had finished showing. Since my friends were not fans of the show then, I just had to get my copy of the DVD. It's over 25 years down the line, but the show never ceases to amaze. Unfortunately, I have no ideas where the disc itself is, I only found the DVD cover.

Since my recollection of the show is still fresh today, I thought I should take a few hours to write about it.

Let’s Jump in….

Quick Summary of the ReBoot Cartoon Series.

ReBoot was a classic Canadian computer-animated TV series originally broadcast on YTV between 1994 and 2001. It was produced by Mainframe Entertainment, Alliance Command BTL productions.
Ian Pearson, Phill Mitchell, and John Grace created the animated series with the pictures designed by Brendan McCarthy following Ian Gibson’s initial attempt to design the same. It was one of the first CGI TV series back then.

It features a Guardian named Bob and his friends Enzo and Dot Matrix adventures as they try to keep the mainframe computer system safe from viruses and risks.

The show was on the ABC Network for two years. The content of ReBoot was largely limited by the high censorship a the time. ReBoot had a hard time rising because of the weird constraints of the TV networks at the time. We used to watch the show on Saturday morning.

Season 2 of ReBoot was released when the show had become popular. A new toyline was even launched, and a video game was released by the end of the second season. The video game was called ReBoot Countdown to Anarchy. The tame was not limited to content outside the network censors. Despite this success, ABC canceled ReBoot in 1996 when Disney bought the network.

The third season was shown on the YTV in Canada. The popularity of the show continued to increase. At some point, it completely changed its target demographic to kids aged 12+ hence reaching more audiences than before. Season 3 was broadcast by Cartoon Network which made a special loop of the first and second seasons and was later on canceled after the Firewall episode.

In 1997, the show was canceled and was later revived in 2001 with two Movies that were comprised of four parts:


  • ReBoot: Daemon Rising
  • ReBoot: My Two Bobs – As seen on the cartoon network.
  • The third movie and a music episode were also released.
  • The fourth season was canceled before it was released.
Due to fan’s demand, ReBoot was revived in 2008 as a web-based comic book. They also planned to redesign the show, which created some mixed feelings for many fans of the show. The comic book successfully finished its first run but there was no addition of new comics thereafter.

Later on, the new owner, Rainmaker Entertainment did a theatrical ReBoot movie of the show which was released in 2010.

ReBoot: The Guardian Code, a reimagined live-action/CGI animated series, was released in 2015. The first episodes of the series were premiered for the first ten episodes around March of 2018. YTV broadcasted all the 20 episodes from 4th June to 5th July of the same year.

In Summary, in 2001, a total of 47 episodes, including two movies were produced during the eight-episode fourth season.

The four seasons of ReBoot were:


  • Season 1 – had 13 episodes (1994 – 1995)
  • Season 2 – consisted of 10 Episodes (1995 – 1996)
  • Season 3 – comprised of 16 Episodes (1997 – 1998)
  • Season 4 – Comprised of 8 Episodes (Oct 2001 – Nov 2001).

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ReBoot: Season 1 – Had 13 Episodes (1994 – 1995)

All the first episodes of the ReBoot Show were stand-alone (autonomous) except the last two. Here, the user would load the game, the cube drops into a random mainframe position, seal it off and transform it into a game scene.
Bob also joins the game, reboots, and battles for the gamer’s character to save the sector. Upon winning a game, the sector in which the cube dropped is lost, and the sprites and binomes that had been trapped inside become energy-draining parasites called nulls. These are considered to be “nullified” when this occurs.

The show was screened on the ABC network in the United States and would adhere to television codes and policies. This was vilified in the “Talent Night” where Prog Censor Emma See and the Small Town Bionmes sing their BS&P hit dubbed “It’s fun to play/in a non-violent way”, almost all the activities on Enzo’s group are prohibited.



ReBoot: Season 2 – consisted of 10 Episodes (1995 – 1996)

The second season of ReBoot was more or less like the first one in terms of the organization of the episodes. But it began with some highlights of the fifth episode instead called “Painted Windows”.
It featured the siblings Hexadecimal and Megabyte and who were a threat to Mainframe: the internet, which was found in scary mentions in ‘High Code’ and ‘Painted Windows.’

In the sixth episode of season 2, AndrAla, saw a new character joining the cast in the fictional AndrAla. In the last episode, we see Megabytes ships referred to as ABC.

The web-based creator from Hexadecimal’s glass-looking Mainframe (shattered by Mike the TV) joined here. The nulls of Mainframe spontaneously responded and covered it in a monster called Nullzilla, which was neutralized by the Miangrame protectors. Megabyte, the web creature who was located, took him over and forced him to merge with Hexadecimal.

Eventually, Gigabyte was also neutralized but the web creature fled into the bowels of Mainframe, where energy was stolen to remain live and grow. Mouse, a mercenary and Bob’s old mate, helped in locating the Web Creature but was nearly killed by her boss Turbo. A ‘tear’(an unstable energy anomaly) was generated from the blast, which the Web construction used to create a web portal. The Mainframe guards had to work together with Megabyte and Hexadecimal to seal the portal. An army of CPU police faces an invasion of network monsters.

Amid the confusion, Megabyte betrayed the alliance (the CPUs called the ABCs treacherous ‘dogs!’), crushed Bob’s main weapon, Glitch, and sent it to the website before its closure.


Season 3 – Comprised of 16 Episodes (1997 – 1998)

Mainframe initially thought that a movie would follow after the second season. This procedure was referred to as Terabyte Rising which was supposed to include retrofitting to destroy the Twin City of Mainframe. It was dropped but a great deal was used during the 4th season.
Season three of the show featured a major increase in modeling and animation quality because of the development in the software capabilities of Mainframe Entertainment during the period between seasons.

Small details such as eyelashes and shadows and more lifelike polygonal characters were some of the visual changes. The target demographic of the show was moved to kids over 12 during this period. This only led to the production of mature content. After the second season, the ReBoot show became one of the most popular shows at the time with a huge number of viewers and fans.

Enzo, who was upgraded by Bob during the web incursion into a Guardian nominee, defends Mainframe from Megabyte and Hexadecimal along with Dot and AndrAla. AndrAla and Frisket modified their icons from sprite to Mainframe when Enzo joined a game that he couldn’t win.

The accelerated time of the game contributed to the aging of Enzo and AndrAla. Following episodes are Enzo and AdrAla's adult version who now have a romantic relationship while looking for a mainframe from system to system.
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The older Enzo takes the name of “matrix” and carries a weapon called “Gun” and damages Glitch who belonged to Bob. Matrix and AndrAla were hardened by spending most of their time in games and away from the mainframe. Matrix developed a pathologic hat for viruses and became a muscular, shoot-first, and ask later antihero, while AndrAla became a level-headed fighter.

Matrix and AndrAla encountered Bob and the Sauccy Mare’s crew as the season progresses and return to Mainframe, which was almost destroyed by Megabyte and his powers. The team rejoins Dot and the opposition and then they go to the main office to fight Megabyte.

Photo: Digital Spy
Megabyte is defeated by Matrix causing the system to crash. The user restarted the machine resetting everything and restoring everything to default except younger and older Enzo who started to exist concurrently, since the Matrix icon was still set to the Game Sprite mode, and was not properly recognized by the system when it was restarted, thus causing the system to restore a copy of the younger Enzo.

ReBoot: Season 4 – Comprised of 8 Episodes (Oct 2001 – Nov 2001).

Two movie shows were produced after the end of the third season in 2001: the Daemon Rising, which tackled the issues encountered by the Guardians in Season Three, and the My Two Bobs, which brought back a rusty and distorted Megabyte in a big twist.
The two films, split into eight episodes was aired on Cartoon Network (Toonami). It featured most of Mainframe’s history, including Lost Angles’ creation, BOB’s machine arrival, and Megabytes, and Hexadecimpal’s roots.

The film ends in the main office with Megabytes, and the characters are dispersed and will be tracked down. The nulls still have their old feeling and intelligence: the heroes succeeded in bringing the null, the father of Dot, into the robot allowing him to move and talk the way he used to do.

Three films split into 12 episodes and the 13th musical-special episode is included in the original fourth season plans. The series was limited to eight episodes because of its shift in deals and budget. The next aim was to produce thirty minutes of episodes. These are edited for broadcast up to 21 minutes and additional scenes are added to the DVD release film version. These scenes were cut off from the scripts against the writer’s wishes.

The eighth episode was re-written to end with a big twist after his decision was taken. The creator Gavin Blair openly declined to announce the resolution plans and final episodes in the event of the cliffhanger being resolved.



The history behind ReBoot: The Plot

The series follows the exploits of Bob and his colleagues Enzo and Dot Matrix, who work to keep the mainframe computer system protected from Megabyte and Hexadecimal viruses. The plot is how the inner realm of a computer system known as the Mainframe by its residents.

It was intentionally chosen because of the technical limitations of the ‘90s. We were just getting introduced to the world of advanced technologies. The fictional world of computers allowed blocky looking models and mechanical animation to explain the concepts of how the computer works.


Facts behind the BS&P Censorship of some ReBoot Scenes

The jokes on the show were a little too much that the Board of Standards and Practices at the time was not amused. The creators had to make myriad adjustments to the scripts to fit the basic standard of a home show. This was to make the show’s content to be suitable for kids and to exclude inappropriate content that likes violence or sexual innuendos.

The Board of Standards and Practice found the character Dot to be sexualized because of the exposed cleavage. The animators were instructed to reduce the breast, make her less curvy, and to shape all the characters into lumpy monobreasts.

But this was letter replaced at the beginning of season 3 by realistic models following a division of ABC. In another instance, the word hockey was considered derogatory in some countries. In the Talent Night episode, there was a scene where Dot’s gives a sisterly kiss to Pearson on the chin. This scene was cut by the Board of Standards and Practice as they thought it promotes incest.



Other ReBoot Releases.

ReBoot Video Game (1998).
In 1998, the ReBoot Video game was released by Electronic Arts for the PlayStation video game console. It was based on the plot of the ReBoot TV series that we have described earlier.
The game featured Megabyte, thanks to Hexadecimal’s mirrors, has found a way of making use of the strength of energy tears to hit the hear of the principal office. Bob, the leading character in the game, must see to it that he repairs the tears and defeat deadly enemies in six mainframe sectors: Baudway, Cit E, Beverly Hills, Kits, Floating Point Park, and the G-Prime together with Lost Angles island.
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ReBoot Gameplay
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In this game, the player controls Bob, who begins with an ordinary gun. With very powerful weapons acquired as the player advances in the game. Bob would use several tools to mend or kill an opponent. The main tool involved the theft of enemies’ health to replenish the player; scratching the cables of the simple weapon of Megabyte, the turret, against his enemies; the freezing enemies for a certain duration.

Each level is an object which can be used to power the player’s weapon, refill the health, or temporarily invincible player. Some objects are concealed and the others emerge after an opponent has been defeated.


ReBoot: Online Comic Book
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Mainframe Entertainment changed its name to Rainmaker Animation after it purchased Rainmaker Income Fund back in 2006. Later on, in 2007, Rainmaker revealed plans to create a ReBoot movie trilogy with leading character designer Daniel Allen. In partnership with the Zero2Heroes website.

Rainmaker planned to allow fans to have greater access to film plans and the creation of a ReBoot webcomic. Fans had an opportunity, with the potential to become artists in the project, to apply their art and designs, and the input they had helped determine which one of five ReBoot slots were developed.

The winning pitch was Reboot: Arrival. Rainmaker said that it will track webcomic feedback but cannot use it as the basis for the company’s movie plans. Four fans were chosen to work as a comic artist at the Arrival. Megabyte’s Quest had grown into a Net-wide war that united many other viruses again.

The users are gone, wasting their time in an endless online multiplayer game. A sensitive device called Gnosis is developed to deter Megabyte but is deceptive and starts to enslave other systems to obtain user-style powers. Two teams of heroes are put together to stop Gnosis and get back users. This team is made up of new characters and Lens the Codemaster, who appeared in the season 2 episode called High Code. Some of the elements of this were dropped in the comic book.


Final Word

Did you have a chance to watch or play ReBoot back in the ‘90s? What did you learn from the game?
 
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Abizaga

Omega Geeze
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Jul 13, 2019
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Man it feels like forever ago when I watched this as a kid. This show was way the hell head of it's time, though!
 
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