REVIEW: The Magic School Bus Rides Again

A while back, I wrote an article about how Netflix was rebooting the Magic School Bus, one of the beloved television programs from my youth. Now, I am very skeptical about reboots because, well, they typically suck.

That’s because the producers try to rekindle the flames of our nostalgia by creating a product, which typically has very little or nothing to do with the original they’re trying to recreate, slap its name on it, and hope we don’t notice.

I was willing to give this one a shot, however, because if it even so much as remotely resembled the original series, I knew it was something I was going to want to share with my kids. Also, since many of the original cast members were returning to help steer the ship, I had my hopes that this reincarnation of the classic children’s program would be a success.

In late September, the inaugural first season of the redubbed Magic School Bus Rides Again, was released and I’ve had the opportunity to watch every episode(a couple of times).

There are some differences from the original, the biggest being a new Ms. Frizzle, but aside from that, this reboot felts as authentic as the original series which was a breath of fresh air amongst the flood of butchered retellings of some other childhood memories out there.

That’s not to say that it’s a scene-for-scene recreation with updated animations, but the formula which made the original so great is still the focal point of the show – a group of students are led by their quirky, carefree school teacher on outlandish and unbelievable fieldtrips that take them to inside of atoms or into high orbit around the earth, all in the name of science!

To be honest, if I hadn’t known any better, I would’ve assumed that this season was just a continuation of the last season, just updated for a new generation of kid. The characters are the same, with the exception of the aforementioned Ms. Frizzle, the intro music is almost exactly the same, and many of the one-liners, like Dorothy Ann always exclaiming “according to my research,” are still there too.

I can’t express just how pleased I am with this new series. It’s just as educational and fun as the original and the best part is my son loves it too!

I think a lot of Hollywood and the entertainment industry can learn a lot from this series when it comes to reboots – it’s not just about updating graphics or trying to cash in on this generation of parent’s nostalgia. If you’re going to reboot something, try to figure out why it worked in the first place and keep it intact because nothing will push an audience away faster than creating a crappy rendition of a classic.

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