ReBoot: The Guardian Code Reminds us of Many Things, Unfortunately None of Them are ReBoot.
Ah ReBoot, among the likes of Battletech and Beast Wars it was one of my favourite childhood shows. And on rewatching as an adult I gained a whole new appreciation for it. So you can imagine my excitement when I first heard there was to be a new series made. Especially after spending most of my teen to adult life (17 years apparently) with the unresolved cliffhanger from the last season. Oh boy was I in for a shock when the first trailer dropped recently. Pity it wasn’t the electro-shock therapy I’ll now need to erase all memory of that abomination from my memory.
ReBoot was created in 1994 by Canadian company Mainframe Entertainment. A pioneer of its time, being one of the first completely CGI animated shows. During its initial run, the channel ABC was known to be very heavy-handed in forcing the show to be kid-friendly. But later seasons got much darker and more complex stories. The bad guys’ attack fighters were named ABCs in this honor, and much fun was poked at their expense.
Around 2006 Mainframe was acquired by Rainmaker. This newly formed Rainmaker Animation dangled hints of a ReBoot continuation in front of us for the next few years. Up until about 2008/2009, a film trilogy was referenced. And A fan Webcomic competition was run. None of these ever came to much, however, and many of us fans were left to wonder if the series would, in fact, remain in this limbo forever. Around the 2012 Michael Hefferon was named Rainmaker president. He announced The Guardian Code in 2013.
For those unfamiliar ReBoot depicts the world inside our computers, via an array of anthropomorphic characters to represent the various components. This world is separate from our real world, which isn’t directly perceivable. Except indirectly via the game cubes that drop at random. Now the first thing you’ll notice in the trailer is most of it is live action. The story seems to follow a bunch of teenagers somehow able to put themselves into the world of ReBoot.
Now I understand computers and computing have changed quite a bit since 94. No one uses dot matrix printers anymore, and the internet is no longer this dark spooky unknown only a few lucky people have. As such it is obvious any new show would need to update, or change, these and any other dated in jokes to make sense to the current generation. But I feel this could be done without having to mess with the established setting. Opening the world to the real world just breaks the continuity.The people in the Outside world were the Users, these malevolent god beings to the perspective of the series. Now they just a bunch of kids, and the protagonists?
My own take on the Trailer puts it as some sort of Power Rangers meets Tron, while many others have commented on similarities to Super Samurai Squat, VR Troopers, and Code Lyoko. Some of the animations even looks more dated than that of the 90’s episodes. I’m hoping that was a failed attempt at nostalgia and not a sign of the quality (or lack thereof) to come.
It seems for the very many things the new ReBoot looks/feels like, its own predecessor isn’t one of them. Further, rumours on the interwebs state that most of the known characters will have hardly any screen time. Other rumours speculate Hefferon is very single-minded in making the show he want’s the way he wants. I can’t verify any of these of course. But the trailer makes it look like they have some substance. If this is the show Rainmaker wanted to make, they are perfectly welcome to do so. But let it be its own IP. Slapping the ReBoot logo on just feels like a cashing in on the franchise.
ReBoot: The Guardian Code is set to air on Netflix later in 2018. Strangely enough only later in the year in its home country. We’ll see what it comes to when it does. But for now I’m not holding out much hope.