TV Series Review: Reboot: The Guardian Circle
Starring Ty Wood, Sydney Scotia, Ajay Parikh-Friese,Gabriel Darku, Hannah Vandenbygaart, and Timothy E. Brummond with Shirley Miller and Octavian Kaul
Created by Michael Hefferon (Based on Characters created by Gavin Blair, Ian Pearson, Phil Mitchell and John Grace)
Available on Netflix
My Rating: 0/5
“Reboot: The Guardian Code” is a follow-up to the original “Reboot” TV series that ran from 1994 to 2001. Even though there is ample room to expand on the ending from the groundbreaking CGI cartoon’s cliffhanger, the series squanders the potential at hand and ends up being one of the worst attempts at updating a beloved animated TV series in recent memory.
The original series was notably the first all-CGI animated TV series, and over the course of its run, set the standard for the many series that followed. Though the once state-of-the-art technology may now be a product of its time, the world of television animation would arguably not be the same without it. While word of a continuation had been around ever since the series ended its initial run, enthusiasm was significantly reduced after the initial reveals on YouTube debuted to roundly negative reception; with downvotes outnumbering likes by a considerable margin.
Now that the series has streamed its first 10 episodes, it seems the backlash from fans of the original series is justified. While the series does attempt to address the cliffhanger from the original series and put a new spin on its premise at the same time, the execution has unfortunately resulted in one of the most ill-conceived updates to an animated show ever. Not only do the liberties taken with the source material make little to no sense, the series is rife with terrible acting; a derivative plot and special effects that somehow look worse than the original series despite numerous advances in CGI over the past 24 years.
The setting, rather than the world of Mainframe, is primarily the fictional Alan Turing High School. Despite being named for a prominent figure in computer science, the series is rife with mistakes in every episode about how modern technology functions. The source material took great care to handle its world-building, and even used real computer programming terms in everything from the backgrounds to the character names. Here, the series makes numerous errors within the course of a single episode to anyone that’s used a computer; let alone tried coding. The cunning villain of the original, Megabyte (voice of Timothy E. Brummond, replacing the late Tony Jay) has been given an awful redesign and has become the plaything of the decidedly less impressive Sourcerer (Bob Frazer); who comes off like a mixture of a member of Anonymous and Emperor Palpatine from the “Star Wars” saga.
In spite of many advances in CGI since the original “Reboot” first aired, the special effects are absolutely atrocious. The action scenes resemble a low-grade Playstation 2 game, the CGI characters move like action figures and the backgrounds would not be out of place in old computer screensavers. The scenes in the real world aren’t much better, full of editing and cinematography that often resembles a SyFy Originals TV movie.
Yet, the biggest sins the show commits as an adaptation are grave ones any adaptation can have: the presentation not only shows an active contempt for its target audience; but also has a finale that seems to insult the fans of the original while also trying to cater to them. Cameos from the original cast also seem superficial at best when the show is a more of a mish-mash of many other similar works that have come out over the past 24 years. They include, but are not limited to: the film “Tron Legacy,” the “Power Rangers” sister series “VR Troopers;” and fellow cult favorite animated series “Code Lyoko” (which was not lost on the creators of that series as part of a Twitter backlash against this one).
Although the series has streamed ten episodes of at least 20 planned ones, it’s hard to imagine the series lasting past its first season with critical and fan reception being almost universally-negative; and for good reason. “Reboot: The Guardian Code” is arguably one of the worst re-imaginings of a beloved animated series since “Dragonball Evolution.” If you’re looking for an animated Netflix relaunch that respects its lineage while also welcoming new audiences, go watch “Voltron: Legendary Defenders.” Far from the “alphanumeric” heights of its groundbreaking namesake, this relaunch is stuck with a “blue screen of death” on arrival.