Last week, Netflix and Scholastic (which the former recently acquired) announced that, sometime in 2016, it would release 26 all-new half-hour episodes of 90’s cartoon favorite The Magic School Bus, calling the new series The Magic School Bus: 360°. There are 52 episodes currently, all of which are available to stream on Netflix right now.
However, rebooting the Emmy-winning series, which is based on a popular illustrated book series and originally aired from 1994 to 1997, won’t come without a few changes. Here’s what Mashable had to say on the subject:
Netflix and Scholastic Media announced in a press statement that the new series will use CGI animation to feature a “modernized Ms. Frizzle” and an “inventive high-tech bus” — so it looks like the companies are not afraid to take chances and make mistakes (and probably get messy in the process). The very 21st-century show will also focus on modern tech innovations, including robotics and wearables.
In other words, the new series will look more like the picture on the left and less like the original series on the right.
I’m cautiously excited for this release. I loved watching The Magic School Bus back in elementary school in the 90’s. In fact, it was (and still is) my favorite animated television series. Bar none. Full stop. The end. Goodbye. Period. Actually, when the full series DVD box set was released in 2012, I purchased it without hesitation, and now I re-watch the entire 52-episode series biannually. In fact, I am due for another re-watch soon.
I’m cautiously optimistic for two reasons:
#1. It has not been confirmed whether Lily Tomlin will return as the voice of Ms. Frizzle. For me, Lily is the only voice of Ms. Frizzle, and in the words of Ralphie, I’m not sure I can “stomach” someone else doing her voice.
#2. Technology has really come a long way since 1997. (Anyone else remember the Eniac Maniac computer from the 50th–and possibly my favorite–episode, “Gets Programmed”?) It’s no wonder producers want to focus on the advancements in technology. As for the other 51 topics that have been covered already, the science remains basically the same. However, with computers and technology, everything has changed drastically. This includes the technology behind animation–hence the planned use of CGI in the reboot. Here’s the catch, though: the original animation has so much character. People love the show (or at least I do), because it transports them to a simpler place (Walker Elementary) and a simpler time (the mid-90’s). What will happen when Ms. Frizzle’s class gets brought 20 years into the future? Will they age Ms. Frizzle? Will the eight students (gosh, that’s such a small class) remain the same? Will there be more students added?
I guess we’ll have to wait two years to find out the answers to these questions. Seat belts, everyone!
Are you excited with no doubts, or are you more cautious like me? Share in the comments!