ReBoot ReTurns
May 30, 2008 10:28 AM   Subscribe

ReBoot's back! A new online comic book is now available*, and three feature-length films are in development. Remarkably, the comic was developed as a combined effort between producers and fans; fans voted on five different stories and even contributed art. ReBoot was one of the first TV shows to feature 100% digital animation and has a warm place in the hearts of many children of the 90s.
* sign-up required and their web-viewer is a pain, be warned.
posted by PercussivePaul (28 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I think someone is missing the shtick of ReBoot. Why the hell are the characters being hand drawn like characters from a Marvel comic. Shouldn't they all just be 3D renders? You know, so they look like the TV show. That just seems almost as stupid to me as trying to make a live action version of ReBoot.
posted by MrBobaFett at 10:44 AM on May 30, 2008

Wow I forgot how much I hated that show. Canadian Content laws indeed.

Okay so it's not a WARM place in my heart. More like a thorn.
posted by rokusan at 10:46 AM on May 30, 2008

Reboot, like so many things I once liked, went downhill. The original had a cartoony innocence. Then cane "Reboot Reloaded" or whatever and it got all... I dunno. sexed up or something. Each time a concept like this returns it's like exhuming the body of your wife for "once more night of love". It's not cool. It's horrible.

Please go create something new instead.
posted by GuyZero at 11:16 AM on May 30, 2008 [3 favorites]

Each time a concept like this returns it's like exhuming the body of your wife for "once more night of love".

I got that vibe, as well. The series ended in 2001. Enough already.
posted by MissNefertiti at 11:31 AM on May 30, 2008

That's quite a...vivid simile.
posted by DU at 11:42 AM on May 30, 2008

Also, I cannot type. Geez. "One more night of love". "Then came...".

And is there ever a bad time for a necrophilia simile?
posted by GuyZero at 11:52 AM on May 30, 2008

This could have been cool... I loved that show, and was apparently not exposed to the poison of Reboot Reloaded, as I've never heard of that. But seriously, what's up with the drawn look? That was the whole point! They were game sprites! Did the creators of the show not see their own show? Or ask any kids about it? And these "fans" who contributed didn't think anything about the generic (new) nickelodian style?
I call shenanigans on this whole thing. This one isn't being made by 90's cartoon pioneers with newfound creative control, it's being made by the studio. John K. is foaming at the mouth right now. I mean more than usual.

No, sir. I don't like it.
posted by cmoj at 12:16 PM on May 30, 2008

Oh wow I loved that show (and I've never heard of Reboot Reloaded). I for one will be paying my £8 to see that first film.
posted by cardamine at 12:29 PM on May 30, 2008

No good can come of paying close attention to fans.
posted by Artw at 12:32 PM on May 30, 2008

Man, I remember that show. I also remember being so whacked-out on sleep deprivation* once that I thought a newspaper box on the corner was Dot.

She was hot, for a robot chick.

* seriously. No sleep for like, 50 hours. Without any chemical help.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:49 PM on May 30, 2008

Reboot occupies the same place as Cornation Street in my mind, very good viewing for an immobilizing hangover. Less interesting the rest of the time...
posted by Deep Dish at 1:00 PM on May 30, 2008

Oh come on, the Thunderbirds epsiode is like one of the most awesome things ever!
posted by Artw at 1:02 PM on May 30, 2008

I remember the clever episode about the paint program. Loved it. Haven't seen the show since it went dormant (never saw the Reloaded version), but I suspect it wouldn't hold up as well as I remember. But for the time it was quite good.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 1:12 PM on May 30, 2008

I liked Reboot, too, but its gimmick was to work in a parody of a popular computer game. When game concepts were still new (as was the fully rendered animation) this was fun. Later, Reboot developed a lengthy plotline where several characters become lost in the Web and have to find their way home just in time to take part in the final apocalyptic showdown with Megabyte (a personification of the evil forces that want your computer to crash). This plotline is what GuyZero calls "Reloaded". He's saying that it was as lame as the Matrix sequels. I beg to differ. ("Matrix" was Dot and Enzo's last name, incidentally, two years before the Wachowskis used it.) The new story kept Reboot from Formula Hell (where it was headed) and, anyway, computer gaming had lost its freshness by then. And I liked the series' ending, too.
On the other hand, I agree with the necrophilia simile. Let dead concepts lie undisturbed. Honor their memory, but don't fuck with them.
posted by CCBC at 1:15 PM on May 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Damn it. I loved Reboot, especially the later episodes where things got less innocent and cartoony and the real shit started to go down. I'm surprised by how many people seem to have absolutely hated that part. To each their own, I guess. I'm still unsure, though, if I really want to check out the link. It will no doubt disappoint me... but of course, my curiosity and frustration with how the show ended on a massive cliffhanger will prod me on...
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 1:34 PM on May 30, 2008

This plotline is what GuyZero calls "Reloaded"

Yes, it wasn't actually called that literally. Sorry for the confusion. But that was my sentiment exactly. The best way to keep it from formula hell would have been TO STOP. Once you run out of jokes, pack up and move on.
posted by GuyZero at 1:36 PM on May 30, 2008

Oh hey, you know what's always bugged me about Reboot, at least in the early days? The ending of the opening sequence.
"They say the user lives *outside* the web. No-one knows for sure... but I intend to find out." Reboot!
Except the show had absolutely nothing to do with finding out anything about the user. Sigh.
posted by PercussivePaul at 1:38 PM on May 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Why the hell are the characters being hand drawn like characters from a Marvel comic. Shouldn't they all just be 3D renders?

I've seen comics done that way - the results are pretty uniformly static and nasty.
posted by Artw at 1:38 PM on May 30, 2008

PercussivePaul - you'll be bitching that the Cylons don't have a plan next.
posted by Artw at 1:39 PM on May 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

AH HA! But, annoying as that viewer is (now take that and imagine how their creation systems must be to work with) they've FINALLY LAUNCHED IT!!

That means that soon, soon now (he cackles) they'll be able to launch a bunch of other, non-Reboot content, including stuff I wrote! Like BiosFear, a kind of apocalyptic commando adventure seen through a weird and mystical lens. We started describing it as Tom Clancy rewritten by Philip K. Dick. Original idea by Greg Allen, but I was hired to develop characters to fit in his world and write several short comic "trailers."

And then, once it's done, my own Black Jack O'Breen! A western fantasy in which a wild west gunfighter returns home to Ireland to rescue his brother, who's been taken by the Wild Hunt. It's got romance and action, cowboys and faeries, blazing six-guns vs. ancient pagan magic! (And we got a hellaciously good illustrator too, though too little of the art is available for viewing at the moment.)

Here's the original pitch materials with character breakdowns and some sample script pages.

And a hint of the art with more coming all the time.

(Okay, in yet another indication of how annoying Zeros2Heroes' systems generally are to work with, those will actually take you to an intermediate intro page. Once you get there, click the graphic tile in the upper left to launch a new, window with the actual content.)
posted by Naberius at 2:00 PM on May 30, 2008

I'm surprised by how many people seem to have absolutely hated that part.

I liked those episodes too, but it really limited their fan base. It's was too grown up for kids, but still hung on to too many kids show elements to have a wide adult appeal. So it seemed like an odd direction to take when the ratings were already shaky.

Also, the uncanny valley starts WAY sooner when you're trying to portray sexy women.
posted by Gary at 2:05 PM on May 30, 2008

Naberius - You're kind of making me glad that the comics work I do is in no way "webby".
posted by Artw at 2:14 PM on May 30, 2008

Dot IS hot!
posted by Dizzy at 2:22 PM on May 30, 2008

I was more referring to how they made AndrAIa all grown up for the last season.
posted by Gary at 3:05 PM on May 30, 2008

I tried to register in fall of 1996.

/little trivia
posted by autodidact at 3:38 PM on May 30, 2008

Reboot was corny as all get out, but if you learned to love the corniness and deal with the fact that these were people who cared a lot more about computer animation and pop culture references than they did about script writing you could learn to like it. (Same trick is good when watching the Star Wars prequels).

It isn't going to open your mind to new wonders unheard of on our mundane sphere, but for television it wasn't that bad.

Hexadecimal particularly had some of the best and worst moments.

I agree that hand drawing the characters is just wrong.
posted by SomeOneElse at 8:00 PM on May 30, 2008

So far, to my knowledge, there have actually been three eras of Reboot.

The first was when the show was aired on ABC television, Saturday mornings. Notable for the time not just for having completely computer rendered graphics, but for being much deeper and more interesting than a children's show had any right being. It's easy to forget that the show had a huge backstory, much of which only slightly alluded to on-screen. For example, Mainframe once had a sister city that was destroyed due to some accident, which is how Dot lost her father. This was mentioned, to my memory, in ONE episode in all this. Further, both Megabyte and Hexadecimal changed over time; Megabyte wasn't all bad, for example, and gave Enzo a guitar at his birthday party. And the setting was fairly unique and original, with characters who seemed to have actual lives off-screen instead of existing to fill slots in whatever wretched story template was being aired this week.

But it was still Saturday morning formula stuff, for all this, if fairly well-written formula stuff. And as with many kid's shows, Standards and Practices did their level best to ruin what of it they could. That was why Dot had a monobreast in the old days.

Then came the second season, and things CHANGED. Bob is lost on the web, and Enzo takes over as city guardian. Even so, that progressed seemingly normally for a while until the big event happened, which I don't think was actually aired on ABC Saturday morning. Enzo messes up big in a game, loses an eye, and he, AndreAIa (sp) and the dog escape into the web with the game instead of get "nullified" (e.g., Saturday morning speak for die). What follows is several episodes with an adult Enzo and AndreAIa trying to get back to Mainframe.

These episodes definitely have their moments (one episode, I hear, is a parody of The Prisoner), but overall it's not as good as the original. They find Bob and make it back to Mainframe, where it seems Megabyte has taken over. The last episodes are them beating him, and then the user reboots his computer and restores from backups... which results in a little kid Enzo and adult Enzo both existing in the city. Following that is a great Gilbert and Sullivan-like recap of the second season, and the series ended.

Now. This is not the end of Reboot, and it's not fair to call it Reboot Reloaded because Mainframe Productions went back some time afterwards and made more episodes, for air on Cartoon Network's Toonami programming block (which was cooler back then). These went more into the subplot that the web had been taken over by a kind of megavirus, and had the guys fighting against that. I know little about these except that what I saw of them I didn't like. They were going more in the direction of the second season than the first, which paradoxically enough is probably more formula than the first season was.

In other words, the comic and new series represent no less than the third revival of Reboot. It's a show more deserving of revival than most, but really, it's unlikely it's going to recapture the charm of the first season.
posted by JHarris at 8:20 PM on May 30, 2008 [2 favorites]

JHarris: I had forgotten the Toonami stuff -- it was shown as a movie (two movies?) in Canada. I saw part of it, didn't get into it at all. For me the series ended with the Gilbert and Sullivan recap which was great (like you said). And, you're right, there's no way the "charm" can be recaptured. Part of it was that so much computer stuff was brand new then. Much of Reboot's appeal was that it used words that were brand new to most people. Megabyte, DotMatrix, Hexadecimal -- this was new vocabulary then. The Web episodes began about the same time as the great expansion of that Beast whose belly is now our dwelling place. And the game parodies -- animated games were new and it was cool to see these guys in, say, an animated dungeon crawl, or the Evil Dead one where Enzo is zombified. Even cooler, these characters were the AI that you played against! That was a key concept that gave everything a neat twist. Could Bob and Enzo defeat the User and keep Mainframe going? Or would the User triumph and all our sprites be only memory?

You had to be there. There's no recreating it.
posted by CCBC at 5:16 PM on May 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

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