Cult CG classic ReBoot gets contentious re-imagining
Mainframe Entertainment’s ReBoot animated series broke new ground by being the first fully CG-animated half-hour television show when it originally debuted in 1994. Now, nearly 25 years later, the franchise is back in ReBoot: The Guardian Code. Produced by Rainmaker’s Mainframe Studios label, the first ten episodes of the new CG-animated/live-action hybrid series will debut internationally on Netflix on March 30th. Canadian audiences will receive the show on YTV starting in June.
ReBoot: The Guardian Code is a thrilling hybrid live-action/CG-animated original series following the journey of four teenagers, Austin, Parker, Tamra, and Trey. On their first day at Alan Turning High, these unsuspecting teens discover they’ve been preselected to become the Next-Generation Guardians of Cyberspace with a mission to save the world – by defending it in cyberspace. With the help of VERA, ReBoot’s heroes digitize into cyberspace where they use their code-based powers to combat viruses unleashed by a merciless hacker. Known only as ‘Sourcerer’, this devious hacker seeks to rule the world by controlling cyberspace, and it’s up to the Guardians to stop him.
The 20-episode first season was shot in the Vancouver, Canada over the period of August 2016 and March 2017. In what the production companies are calling a first for a television series, The Guardian Code is rendered using Epic’s Unreal 4 video game engine after modelling, rigging and animation was handled in Maya. The series will be available in 4K resolution and is produced by Wow! Unlimited’s Rainmaker under their Mainframe Studios label. Global distribution, licensing and merchandising rights are held by Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana.
The use of Unreal Engine 4 for the show’s animation has allowed the team to easily export show assets to other projects, including a virtual reality experience for mobile devices. A digital trading card game is also on the way.
Fans haven’t taken too kindly to the new show. As of this writing, there are over 10,000 dislikes on the YouTube trailer to under 1000 likes. The major complaint is the feeling that the show has little to do with the original and seems more derivative of shows like Zixx, Code Lyoko, VR Troopers and Super Human Samurai Syber-Squad (with a bit of Ironman imagery thrown in). ReBoot wasn’t about high school, hackers or even in live-action. Some are even criticizing the design of MegaByte and the quality of the animation, claiming the show looks worse than the first series.
Speaking to Indiescreen, showrunner Michael Hefferon said: “The show we eventually created is certainly inspired by the original ReBoot, but I don’t think of it as a ReBoot reboot. Rather, we tried to imagine that ReBoot had never been made, and we were making it for the first time for today’s audience.” In 2015, when the new series was first being pitched, Hefferon commented that “I talked with broadcasters around the world. The one [resounding] thing — and I hate to break it to the fans — was nobody wanted the reboot of what [the show originally] was. Nobody was willing to buy it.” The original ReBoot animated series ended in 2001 after 4 seasons and a stunning cliffhanger. There have been multiple failed attempts to revive the show since. Notably, The Guardian Code doesn’t feature any of the key creatives behind the original series.
If you’re one of those fans looking to erase what they just saw, the original ReBoot animated series is streaming for free on Shout! Factory’s website.