So I guess if there was one thing that could bring ReBoot back from the dead, it’s Netflix and their infamous necromancy powers. The new ReBoot is quite a bit different from the original as you can see. Four teenagers at Alan Turing High School are recruited by an AI named Vera to defend cyberspace. They were recruited by being the best team in some smartphone game, which was apparently guardian training in disguise. One of the kid’s father was a teacher at the school, and created the technology to send humans into cyberspace. A mysterious human hacker, code-named The Sourcerer, reactivated the virus Megabyte from the original series to aide in his endeavors to “send humanity back to the dark ages”.
If it all sounds kind of inane, it’s because it is. Ugh… Honestly, the trailer disgusted me. Not because it’s not classic ReBoot, but because it just looked, in the words of Bob, “This is bad. This is VERY bad.” Nonetheless I went in with an open mind because trailers can mislead and I’d love to be wrong about it. Unfortunately I wasn’t. This show is legitimately terrible. The story is pretty generic and reminiscent of so many IP’s, namely Power Rangers, Super Human Samurai Syber-Squad, and most notably Code Lyoko. I’m not overly familiar with Lyoko, but from what I’ve read and clips I’ve seen this show is borderline plagiarism. Story-wise there is nothing really intriguing here. Every episode is “bad guy has a scheme, the kids show up and solve the problem before class starts, bad guy gets mad and vows revenge, rinse and repeat.” There is no depth to any of it.
The characters themselves have the personalities of cardboard. The actors portraying the guardians seem to have no idea how to portray their characters beyond their bland stereotypes, which I blame on the flimsy script rather than their acting ability. Their sudden acceptance of being guardians make no sense and they don’t even question the existence of this technology. Everything about them is presented in the most lazy way. Character development is limited to one-time experiences with the lasting impression of a cheesy after-school special. As for the AI turned teenage girl Vera, if I were the actress I’d refuse to play this role it’s so bad. There’s literally nothing to the good guys.
And the bad guys? Well, at least Megabyte is kind of cool. The voice actor does a decent imitation of the late, great Tony Jay but often loses the tone of the cunning virus when he raises his voice. But when he gets it right, it’s awesome. The Sourcerer however is a total cheese ball of a villain and looks like a drunk homeless guy wandering around a warehouse. His dialogue is the worst in the series, and his bad hygiene and scenes of drinking rotten looking milk and eating ramen noodles with his hands do not instill any kind of fear. It just makes him look legitimately disturbed. Also, ten bucks says The Sourcerer is Austin’s father. I bet he got infected by a cyberspace virus. I would expect nothing less from a show this flat.
I realize a show about defending cyberspace from the inside is inherently scifi, but this show manages to beat the failed CSI: Cyber in terms of technological floundering. So much of the series’ use of tech is absurd beyond belief, such as when The Sourcerer takes control of the show’s Siri knock-off and nearly crashes Austin’s mom’s car with nothing more than a bluetooth connection to a several year old Nissan. Or when he uses a weather satellite to build a tropical storm into a hurricane. The pinnacle of this is a computer The Sourcerer steals that has, and I quote, “30 cores, 60 threads, a monster cache, unlimited speed, 100,000 terabyte bandwidth and it can connect to the Internet without Wi-Fi.” Wow. There’s scifi, and then there’s nonsense.
All this drags on for nine episodes until we get to the tenth one, where we get a half-baked homage to the classic ReBoot. Megabyte locates his old home of Mainframe, which appears to be shut down. He plans to recruit Hexadecimal to his newfound cause. We get to see her as well as Bob, Dot, Enzo, and Frisket once again. I will be honest, it was cool to see these characters on screen again even if their new character models are somehow inferior to their 1994 counterparts. They also don’t really act like themselves, such as Dot hiding behind Enzo in fear of the name Megabyte. Hex’s presence also doesn’t add up to the events of the old show, but I digress. It was made even more special by the original voice actors returning to their roles. We also get to see the game Starship Alcatraz portrayed once more, complete with one of the original monsters. It was the one thing in this series I enjoyed for a few minutes.
Sadly this homage to the original is immediately followed by the most blatant raised middle finger to fans I’ve ever seen. When Mainframe comes back online, the “User” is informed. He is portrayed as a stereotypical obsessed, nerdy, middle aged guy and bizarrely proclaims to live in his mom’s basement. His room is full of ReBoot posters and action figures. So ReBoot was a show, but the User actually exists and was playing the games dropped on Mainframe? Also, the User was playing these games on a remote computer 20 years ago? Yeah, we’re long past logic by episode ten so whatever.
This shoehorned in situation really seems like retaliation for the overwhelmingly negative reception Rainmaker and this new series have gotten. My jaw dropped when I saw these scenes. Instead of trying to win fans back with an awesome homage, they do this. I know fandoms can be a bit trying at times, but to do this just shows that the fans were right. Forget the lies over the years or the quality of this show, Rainmaker really are just flat-out bad people. What a disgusting stunt to pull. Even more confusing is the User is portrayed by Mark Leiren-Young, who was a writer on the original ReBoot and Beast Wars: Transformers. He should be ashamed for participating in this stunt.
So yeah, in the end I wish ReBoot would have just stayed “offline”. There is absolutely nothing in this series worth supporting. It has almost nothing to do with the original series, and the new stuff is poor. Aside from being completely unoriginal, it’s just bad. The story is flat and boring, the acting reflects the script, and to top it all off, the CGI is very unimpressive. It’s amazing how the 1994 ReBoot series trumps this one in looks in every way. I really don’t think I care to watch any more of this show. If the mediocrity didn’t do me in, the snub at fans sure did. Maybe if they go back to Mainframe again I’ll have a look for nostalgia’s sake, but otherwise, this series is nullified.
Seriously, what idiots at Rainmaker. ReBoot has been off the air for over 16 years and the fanbase is still so active. You could have been heroes to us. You could have made a great product, captivated a whole new audience and take our long-waiting money. We were ready, and you did this. Incredible.
You can catch this show on Netflix if you care to see it. Personally I encourage you to watch the original ReBoot instead.