You’ve got your good shows, your great shows, and your gamechanging shows. Before ReBoot happened, the idea of a weekly television series created entirely with CGI seemed ridiculous. This was a time when CGI was a trick that filmmakers used sparingly as background enhancements or for the occasional touch up. Enter Mainframe Entertainment. The studio set out to do what no other animation producer had ever done: they created a show that took place entirely inside a computer. All of its characters and locations were based on computer language. The show featured games that would disrupt the lives of the heroes inserted by an omniscient user.
ReBoot has become a cult classic. Though it ended on a cliffhanger due mainly to budget constraints, hope has never died for a series revival. Those hopes will bear results, as a new series titled ReBoot: The Guardian Code will hit Netflix and is set to introduce new characters as well as bring back some beloved old ones. In light of this announcement, interest in the original series has returned. As we take the time to go back and watch ReBoot again, let’s also take a look at 15 facts about the original series that are guaranteed to shake up your memories.
15. THE REBOOT WIDOWS CLUB
Nobody had ever done anything like ReBoot before. In the beginning, the staff spent long nights in the office working on the show — some of the employees even slept there. To give themselves a break, they would write cheats into the script. Many of the characters turned to stone in the third episode. It was a clever plot twist, but it was also a way to save on costs and time.
Andrew Grant, an employee at Mainframe at the time, remembers his wife bringing him fresh clothes and food at the office when he couldn’t come home. The wives of the employees even gave themselves a clever nickname: The ReBoot Widows Club. That’s a pretty dark way to remember your favorite childhood TV show.
14. BOB’S ORIGINAL NAME WAS CHIP
Many of the names from ReBoot were puns. Mike the TV was named after Mike Teavee from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Mouse was named after a mouse. get it? Bob’s name was the exception that proves the rule. After they named him they decided it would mean binary object, but at first it was just Bob.
Our favorite guardian wasn’t always going to be called that though. When the show was in its infancy, Bob’s name was Chip — like a computer chip! It probably wouldn’t have had a huge impact on the show. The creators liked Bob better, and it has a nice ring to it. It may not be the most memorable name, but it has an every man feel to it and fits Bob’s lighthearted personality perfectly.
13. BOB WAS VOICED BY TWO PEOPLE
Here’s something that might rock your world. The hero of the show wasn’t voiced by only one person. For the first two seasons, Bob was voice by Michael Benyaer. During the production of the third season, Benyaer moved to LA and was unavailable and Ian James Corlett took over from there. Here’s where things get really meta. During his time in the web, Bob’s appearance changed. His suit began to deteriorate and his hair grew longer and shaggier. However, during the fourth season, original Bob came back.
Original Bob turned out to be Megabyte in disguise. When he was revealed, Glitch flew from his arms back to the real Bob’s. Bob then regained his original appearance and Benyaer took his mantle back once more. It’s enough to make your head spin.
12. ABC CENSORED DOT
The ’90s were a sheltered time. After School Specials about the dangers of pretty much everything ruled the airwaves. Hysteria from parents about media having a negative effect on their children’s minds was at an all time high. ABC was a premiere source for children’s entertainment — they enforced a lot of guidelines on their shows.
Poor Dot Matrix suffered the most from these regulations. Everything about her was deemed inappropriate. At one point, they even forbid her from kissing her brother on the cheek and even her body was deemed too much for the children’s show. Apparently, a woman having a chest on a children’s television show was unacceptable. Her chest was animated as a lump for the first two seasons. Once ReBoot left ABC, Dot’s body became a little more realistic.
11. BOB AND HADJI SHARE A VOICE
Michael Benyaer’s voice has popped up everywhere. He’s been in all kinds of cartoons for both children and adults, as well as a ton of video games on his resume as well. He’s even shown up in a few live action films — you may have caught him in Deadpool, where he played Warlord.
With a career that varied, his characters can’t all be the same. But many will be surprised to learn that the voice of the hero from ReBoot and the mild mannered Hadji from The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest. Benyaer was extremely proud of that role. At the time ethnic characters were rarely portrayed as good guys. According to Benyaer, Hadji is “for the sensitive kids out there. He’s the outsider in all of us.”
10. THE MUSICAL EPISODE THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN
Fans remember ReBoot’s cliffhanger finale all too well. Megabyte had just returned from the web, and had been posing as Bob and almost married Dot. The virus then took over the Principal Office and announced that he was ready for a hunt. The fourth and final season was made up of two films: the first was Daemon Rising and the second was My Two Bobs. A third film was initially planned to finish the series off that would also have been split up into four episodes.
We don’t know what the third film would have entailed. Series creator Gavin Blair has refused to share that information in case he ever did get the chance to finish it. One thing that we do know is that the final episode would have been a musical.
9. THE UK DEEMED THE SHOW UNSUITABLE
If you thought ABC was bad for censorship, at least they agreed to air the show. After the shows debut more than 50 countries picked it up — it was an undeniable hit. However, the powers the be in the UK were not quite so keen on it. They aired all of the first two seasons, but it was with the third season that there was trouble. They aired six episodes in a timely manner, but then the company that funded the show sent a note stating that they were not obligated to air all episodes and would only do so if the ratings were high.
Much of season three and all of season four were never aired. Another letter from the same company simply stated that the content was deemed unsuitable. The letter also said that any future movies would not be aired on TV or in cinemas.
8. HACK AND SLASH IMPROVISED A LOT
ReBoot gave us lots of memorable characters. From Mouse to Phong, the show oozed with personality. Perhaps none were as beloved as Hack and Slash. They were an inseparable duo and provided much of the comic relief the series became known for.
Though they started off as Megabyte’s henchmen, they were never as malicious as their boss. They were eventually rebuilt as good guys by Phong. He gave them icons, officially removing Megabyte’s influence. Their mission became to protect Dot Matrix. Slash was voiced by Gary Chalk and Hack was voiced first by Phil Hayes and then Scott McNeil. What some people don’t know is that the chemistry between the actors was so natural that a lot of the dialogue between these two characters was improvised.
7. THEY TURNED DOWN SHREK
You may never even have heard of Mainframe Entertainment. In the ’90s, they were responsible for a lot of what we see in film and on television. ReBoot was the first series of its kind — no other show or film had ever been entirely created with CGI. The folks at Mainframe had large aspirations. They wanted to supplant Disney and Pixar as the primary source for animated entertainment. So lofty were their goals that they turned down a chance to work on the film Shrek. This was when it was still to star Chris Farley.
The reason for this was that they were dead set on releasing their own slate of original films. Unfortunately, the monetary realities of the industry reared their ugly heads and such a film never materialized. Today, Mainframe Entertainment is known as Rainmaker Studios.
6. THEY WORKED OUT OF A CLUB A LOT
The first two seasons of ReBoot are full of wholesome entertainment. Family and friendship were key components in stopping most threats. Even as the show grew up, its core values remained intact. So much so that young Enzo Matrix was always considered the heart of the show.
Outside of Mainframe, the users responsible for creating the show were not quite so virtuous. While the animation rendered, they spent a lot of time at a nearby gentlemen’s club called The Cecil. So close to the creators’ hearts was The Cecil that they even named one of their characters after it. That character was the waiter at Dot’s Diner. Hey, the show was being censored like crazy, the creators had to feel like adults somewhere. The Widows Club was probably not thrilled with it though…
5. FROM REBOOT TO BARBIE
Mainframe Entertainment’s ambition was limitless — what they accomplished with ReBoot was unprecedented. They accomplished what Pixar had done on Toy Story with a fraction of the time and the budget. However, as their aspirations became loftier, so did their need for revenue.
So it was that they began making merchandising deals. Aside from ReBoot, their biggest claim to fame in the ’90s were the shows Beast Wars and Beast Machines. From that, they made most of their cash from toy sales. But it wasn’t enough to fuel the ever expanding machine. By the early ’00s, they were having trouble keeping themselves afloat. For their remaining years, they made most of their cash producing Barbie films and they’ve produced at least one a year every year since.
4. “HOCKEY” AND “WUSS” ARE BAD WORDS
As we’ve already mentioned, ReBoot’s first two seasons were heavily censored — there was no violence of any kind allowed. For an action adventure show, this posed a lot of problems. But the regulations went far deeper. There were even certain words that were forbidden. The word “hockey” and the sport itself were both banned from appearing on the show. According to the Board of Standards and Practices, the word had come to mean something vulgar. Similarly, the word “wuss” was banned from being spoken on the show.
When Disney bought ABC, the network canceled ReBoot outright. The later seasons were aired on the Canadian network YTV who allowed the show runners to get away with more. The series features many hidden jabs at the original censorship.
3. DAVID DUCHOVNY REFUSED TO GUEST STAR
ReBoot may have been a kid’s show, but that didn’t stop the creators from throwing in all kinds of references only adults would get. During the show’s run, over 30 video games were referenced, as well as references to horror movies like Evil Dead. But a major one came at the end of season two. The episode “Trust No One” introduced two very familiar looking characters named agents Fax Modem and Data Nully. The X-Files references could not have been more packed on.
Dana Scully actor Gillian Anderson actually voiced the character of agent Nully. Her partner, David Duchovny, refused to do the guest spot. To him it wasn’t worth it because it was just a “silly kid’s show.” At the time, Anderson was married to an employee of Mainframe Entertainment.
2. MEGABYTE’S VOICE PASSED AWAY
Megabyte is a classy, off-beat, intelligent and menacing villain. Much of that is due to the work provided by voice acting legend Tony Jay. You may also recognize him as the voice of the villain from the classic Disney film The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
In August of 2006 he passed away due to complications from a surgical procedure earlier in the year. Needless to say, he will unfortunately not be returning to voice Megabyte in ReBoot: The Guardian Code. A voice clip surfaced that same year of a new actor taking on the role — that actor was Timothy E Brummond, and by all reports, he will be taking on the mantle of Megabyte. Fan reaction so far has been lukewarm, but in all fairness we haven’t heard more than a few words.
1. EVERYONE MIGHT HAVE BEEN A BINOME
There are three types of characters on ReBoot. The Binomes are the small ones that come in a variety of shapes. Sometimes they’re shaped like numbers, other times they’re just three cubes stacked on top of each other. Then there are sprites and viruses. Sprites are much more human characteristics, while viruses resemble monsters. These characters are much more detailed.
When the show was originally planned, the creators weren’t sure if they would be able to detail the characters in a human way. As such, every character was going to be a binome. Ultimately they found they were able to convey human features even with their limited technology. For everything else, the lack of detail was explained away simply by the fact that the show took place inside a computer.
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