This year marks the twentieth anniversary of Reboot, a Canadian television series that ran sporadically for four seasons from 1994-2001. It is notable for being the first fully computer animated television series in history. I loved the series as a child and still love it today.
Both children and adults can enjoy Reboot. It depicts Mainframe, a computer system inhabited by binomes, sprites, and a Guardian named Bob who are under the threat of two viruses named Megabyte and Hexadecimal who plan to infect and take over the city. They must also defeat the User in downloaded games. Reboot is a series that got better and darker as it progressed. Reboot is full of interesting visuals, great characters, sharp writing, and pop culture references. Rainmaker Entertainment, who now own the rights to Reboot, have been saying for years that they are bringing back the series. Recently, Rainmaker reassured viewers on their website that this project is still happening and in development.
Season 1 (1994-1995)
The first season is highly episodic and is standard Saturday morning cartoon fare. However, there are a few great episodes in this season.
Season 2 (1995-1996)
This is when Reboot really hits its stride. Every episode in this short season is great. It becomes clear that the series is becoming less kiddish and more mature with its storytelling. The season opens in the episodic manner that dominated the first season until continuity rises with the arrival of AndrAI, an excellent character whose introduction signals the beginning of a story arc that would continue until the end of the series.
Season 3 (1997-1998)
This sixteen-episode season is made up of a large story arc, which includes four separate four-episode arcs, each with their own flavor and themes. Enzo Matrix, Reboot’s best character, is able to really shine in this season.
The censorship at ABC limited what the show creators could do in the first and second seasons. However, ABC dumped Reboot after its second season and for its third season, Reboot was made exclusively for Canada. This gave the Mainframe creative team more lead way in terms of what they could do. Co-creator Gavin Blair has said that season three is the series that they always wanted to make. It truly is an excellent season, most of its episodes among my favorites.
The Films (2001)
Even though the two feature films, Daemon Rising and My Two Bobs would later be separated into eight episodes, I prefer them in their film form. It is amazing to see how far Reboot has come since its humble beginnings.
The following is a list of my favorite episodes of Reboot in chronological order. Alphanumeric!
1) Wizards, Warriors, and A Word from Our Sponsor (Episode 9)
Bob: “Stay frosty.”
Logline: Bob, Dot, Enzo, and Mike the TV enter a role playing game in which they must work together to defeat the User.
This is Reboot’s first truly great episode. It becomes evident that the animation is already improving. The writers seem to let loose and have fun with this installment, which is full of great humor and showcases one of the series’ most interesting supporting characters: Mike the TV.
2) Infected (Episode 14)
Megabyte: “I haven’t felt this good since my first…infection.”
Logline: Megabyte masquerades as a system upgrade in order to gain access to Mainframe’s core.
This season two opener is a huge improvement over any episode from the first season in terms of its visuals, storytelling, and music. It is ironic that the episode concerns a system upgrade when in fact; the series receives an upgrade with this installment. As a season opener, it serves as an excellent re-introduction to the series, its characters, and the world of Mainframe. I especially love the dialogue between Bob and Dot and the scene in which Dot battles Megabyte in her exoskeleton suit which parodies Sigourney Weaver’s suit in Aliens. Megabyte is a fantastic villain with incredible voice work by the late Tony Jay. This is Megabyte at his best.
3) Bad Bob (Episode 17)
Herr Doctor: “Mein Digits!”
Logline: Megabyte attempts to steal Mainframe’s energy causing the corruption of a Mad Max game cube in which Bob, Enzo, Frisket, and Phong find themselves.
I love The Road Warrior so naturally I really enjoy this episode. I love that the writers find new ways to raise the stakes in the games. At times, Reboot can be very funny. This episode has one of my favorite comical moments from the series in which Frisket denies Bob the front seat.
4) Painted Windows (Episode 18)
Enzo: “Hexadecimal? A plan? Dude!”
Logline: Hexadecimal gains access to the paint program and feeling like an unappreciated artist, decides to use all of Mainframe as her canvas.
Hexadecimal is an amazing character and this is Hex at her absolute best. This episode is wildly imaginative and is chock full of art references. It is a truly unique installment and one that only Reboot could do properly.
5) Nullzilla (Episode 20)
Dr. Frankenome: “It’s compiled! IT’S COMPILED!!”
Logline: Mike the TV inadvertently releases a black entity from Hexadecimal’s looking glass that causes the nulls to launch an offensive on her, creating a giant null monster in the process.
I absolutely love this episode, which parodies the Godzilla movies and Power Rangers. It’s funny and an absolute delight to watch.
6) Gigabyte (Episode 21)
Dot: “Well, what should I do?
Mouse: If you’re not too busy, honey, you could fix me an energy shake.”
Logline: The entity has now corrupted Megabyte who merges with Hexadecimal to create the next generation of virus, Gigabyte.
This episode is action packed and continues to move Reboot toward its thrilling season finale. I love watching Mouse and Dot clash here.
7) Trust No One (Episode 22)
Fax Modem: “There is no User. That’s just an induced mass psychosis engineered by the Guardians.”
Logline: CGI agents Fax Modem and Data Nully investigate the disappearances of several Mainframers including Dot and their prime suspect is Mouse.
This great episode is a parody of The X-Files, another favorite series. Gillian Anderson, who played Dana Scully on The X-Files, provides the voice for Data Nully.
8) Web World Wars (Episode 23)
Phong: “We will fight you to the last, Megabyte.”
Logline: Now that the portal to the Web has been opened and Mainframe is under attack, Bob, Dot, and Mouse must team up with Megabyte and Hexadecimal in order to save their city.
There is not much plot in this second season finale. It is more of an action-oriented piece full of battles. The real magic, though are in the final moments, in which Bob is shot into the Web by Megabyte and Enzo accepts his new role as Guardian. Enzo is my favorite character of the series. His arc is the most interesting of all the characters and beginning with this episode, his role in the series becomes even greater.
9) To Mend and Defend (Episode 24)
Dot: “He’s just standing there, shooting at things!
Enzo: I know! And in the next level Sprites are zombies. They’ve got flesh on their bones!
Dot: I don’t even want to think about that. I mean, what kind of sick creature gets enjoyment out of playing this sorta game?!”
Logline: Megabyte and Hexadecimal continue their attack on the Principal Office where the group has taken refuge while an Evil Dead inspired game interrupts their efforts.
Reboot’s maturity is evident from this season opener, which includes one of my favorite games in the series: The Evil Dead inspired game, Malicious Corpses.
10) Firewall (Episode 26)
Enzo: “Why haven’t you rebooted?!
Cyrus: I don’t know how!
Enzo: Just double-click your icon and say the magic word.”
Logline: Enzo must prove himself in a James Bond themed game while the group attempts to trap Megabyte and Hexadecimal inside a firewall.
This is an excellent episode with an amazing James Bond-inspired theme song opening.
11) Game Over (Episode 27)
Hexadecimal: “I was just picturing what I will do to you once I am free from your little toy. You have no idea the power you try to control! Chaos will always triumph over order! It is the way of things.”
Logline: Enzo, AndrAI, and Frisket enter a fighting game that they cannot win while Megabyte uses Hexadecimal’s energy to penetrate the firewall.
As if things couldn’t get more shocking after Bob was shot into the Web at the end of season two, Enzo loses a game and his eye at the end of this episode. Also, it’s a great Mortal Kombat inspired game.
12) Number 7 (Episode 30)
Dot: “M’lord, the defendant is charged with believing the ends justify the means and for becoming everything he claims to hate.”
Logline: Matrix is ready to give up any hope of finding Mainframe when he, AndrAI, and Frisket enter a game that appears to be in the form of the city and when the pair reboots, they take the form of Megabyte and Hexadecimal.
This is a great character study of Matrix, who must confront his demons and the person he has become. It is a surreal episode especially the trial scene. When Matrix wakes up, he has a newfound incentive to find Bob and Mainframe.
13) The Episode With No Name (Episode 31)
Matrix: “You got a deletion wish?”
Logline: Matrix, AndrAI, and Frisket enter a system with ports to the Web.
An action-packed episode with some great bar scenes and a showdown between AndrAI and one of the Guardians inspired by The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
14) The Return of the Crimson Binome (Episode 32), 15) The Edge of Beyond (Episode 33), 16) Web Riders on the Storm (Episode 34), and 17) Mousetrap (Episode 35)
Captain Capacitor: “Shiver me templates.”
Logline: Matrix, AndrAI, and Frisket join forces with a web surfer named Ray Tracer and Captain Capacitor and the crew of the Saucy Mare to find Bob and return to Mainframe.
An excellent story arc full of fantastic visuals and the return of one of Reboot’s most iconic characters.
18) Megaframe (Episode 36), Showdown (Episode 37), 20) System Crash (Episode 38), and 21) End Prog (Episode 39)
Megabyte: “Why, yes, it is young Enzo Matrix, home from the games. My, how you’ve grown-and such toys. Does your sister know you’re playing with them? Where is that annoying chatter of yours? Mega-breath this and Mega-barf that. Why don’t you put that gun away, boy, and try fighting like a real sprite.”
Logline: Glitch Bob, Matrix, AndrAI, and the crew of the Saucy Mare return to a devastated Mainframe where they must confront Megabyte and save the city from a complete system shutdown.
This is the action packed final story arc of the third season. The final battle between Matrix and Megabyte does not disappoint and the epilogue in which the binomes perform a musical rendition of the events of season three is classic.
22) Daemon Rising (feature film)
Welman Matrix: “I know I have my critics, that some sprites say there are no other systems, but just stop a cycle and process that statement. Can you really believe we are alone?”
Logline: The inhabitants of Mainframe must stop the supervirus known as Daemon.
Daemon proves to be a formidable foe in this action packed film that does not disappoint.
23) My Two Bobs (feature film)
Mouse: “He played you like a movie file, honey.”
Logline: A second Bob appears and no one is sure which is the original and which is the copy.
Things lighten up after the defeat of Daemon until Megabyte reappears towards the end of the film. I especially love the Pokemon inspired game. Even though it is frustrating that the series ends on such a big cliffhanger, I await the reboot of Reboot and hope that this story will be resolved.