The original, 1994, all-computer-generated animated series ReBoot is a cult-classic cartoon. It took advantage of cutting-edge CG tech to bring to life the denizens of a computer system by the name of Mainframe. Led by the Guardian program Bob, the team of Dot Matrix and her younger brother Enzo and various other characters defended Mainframe from both the nullifying effects caused by losing to the User in a game as well as damage caused by computer viruses like Megabyte and Hexadecimal. It was a self-contained series that never ventured into the real world outside of the computer system itself and was beloved, in part, because of that.
Now, 24 years later, ReBoot: The Guardian Code attempts to rekindle the computer-generated magic the original series inspired while folding in a new, modern audience who might find the mid-90s animation laughable and archaic. To do this, Mainframe Studios (which was the same studio responsible for the original series, just under a new name these days) opted to blend live-action with CG animation for a new approach to a similar story. In this tale, a hacker by the name of the Sourcerer (Bob Frazer) is causing all sorts of havoc by corrupting internet-connected devices and systems like power plants and mobile-phone networks. It’s up to four high school students to take on the avatars of Guardians, port into the computer world, and defend it from this new threat.
That’s the idea anyway, and it’s honestly not a terrible one. Shifting away from the all-CG animated original was reported as being a necessary one in order to get investors/distributors/producing partners to sign on. It could also be argued as either a cost-saving measure or a storytelling decision meant to better connect audiences with the flesh-and-blood protagonists. Unfortunately, the execution is severely lacking. ReBoot fans have savaged the new series on IMDb, whether they’ve watched all 10 available episodes of the 26-episode order or not. I have, so what follows below is a breakdown of ReBoot: The Guardian Code‘s strengths and weaknesses to see if it can be salvaged or if it’s destined for the scrap heap.