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ReBoot is a Canadianmarker CGI-animated action-adventure television series that originally aired from 1994 to 2001. It was produced by Vancouvermarker-based production company Mainframe Entertainment, and created by Gavin Blair, Ian Pearson, Phil Mitchell and John Grace, with the visuals designed by Brendan McCarthy after an initial attempt by Ian Gibson.

It is the first full-length, completely computer-animated TV series.

Background

Setting

The setting is in the inner world of a computer system known by its inhabitants as Mainframe. It was deliberately chosen due to technological constraints at the time, as the fictional computer world allowed for blocky looking models and mechanical animation. Mainframe is divided into six sectors (moving clockwise): Baudway, Kits, Floating Point Park, Beverly Hills, Wall Street, and Ghetty Prime. The names of Mainframe's sectors are homages to famous neighbourhoods, mostly in New York Citymarker or Los Angelesmarker. However, the Kits sector is named for Kitsilano, a neighbourhood in Vancouvermarker, Mainframe Entertainment's home city. Also, Ghetty Prime is a reference to Frank Herbert's Dune, as Giedi Prime is the home world of the villainous House Harkonnen. Mainframe is populated almost entirely by binomes, little creatures that represent either 1s or 0s, as well as a handful of Sprites who are primarily humanoid creatures of more complex design and are the main characters of the series.

Plot synopsis

The first season of ReBoot was highly episodic, with each installment being a self-contained episode. Most of the episodes established characters, locations, and story elements, such as the gigantic game cubes. When The User loads a game, a game cube drops on a random location in Mainframe, sealing it off from the rest of the system and turning it into a gamescape. Bob frequently enters the games, reboots to become a game character, and fights the User's character to save the sector. If the User wins a game, the sector the cube fell in is destroyed, and the sprites and binomes who were caught within are turned into energy-draining, worm-like parasites called nulls.

The second season featured an extended story arc that began with the season's fifth episode, "Nullzilla". The arc revealed that Hexadecimal and Megabyte are siblings, and that Megabyte referred to his pet null, Nibbles, as "father". It also introduced an external threat to Mainframe, the Web. A creature from the Web entered Mainframe from Hexadecimal's looking glass (which was shattered by Mike the TV), bonding with her. Mainframe's nulls reacted spontaneously covered her to form a monster dubbed Nullzilla. The protectors of Mainframe defeated Nullzilla and neutralized Hexadecimal. The Web creature located Megabyte, took him over and forced him to merge with Hexadecimal, forming a next-gen super-virus called Gigabyte. Gigabyte was eventually neutralized as well, but the Web creature escaped into the bowels of Mainframe, where it began stealing energy to stay alive and grow. Mouse, a mercenary and old friend of Bob's, helped to find the Web Creature, but was almost destroyed by a bomb set by the person she was working for, Turbo. Bob took the bomb a safe distance away so that nobody would be harmed. The explosion created a tear (an unstable energy-based anomaly) which the Web creature used to create a portal to the Web. The protectors of Mainframe had to team up with Megabyte and Hexadecimal to close the portal, but when they were about to defeat the Web creatures that had entered the system, Megabyte betrayed the alliance, crushing Bob's keytool, Glitch, and sending him into the Web portal before closing it.

For the show's third season, there was a marked improvement in model and animation quality due to the advancement of Mainframe Entertainment's software capabilities during the time between seasons. Subtle details, such as eyelashes and shadow, as well as generally more lifelike sprite characters, were among several visual improvements compared to previous ReBoot episodes. In addition, the show shifted their target audience to children aged 12 and older, resulting in a darker and more mature storyline. After severing ties with ABC following the second season, the show actually reached a greater number of households through syndication.

The season started with Enzo, freshly upgraded into a Guardian candidate by Bob during the Web incursion, defending Mainframe from Megabyte and Hexadecimal with Dot and AndrAIa at his side. When Enzo entered a game he could not win, he, AndrAIa, and Frisket changed their icons to game sprite mode and rode the game out of Mainframe. The accelerated game time matured Enzo and AndrAIa far faster than the denizens of Mainframe. The following episodes follow adult versions of Enzo and AndrAIa as they travel from system to system in search of Mainframe. The older Enzo adopts the name "Matrix," (previously his and Dot's surname) carrying the aptly named weapon "Gun" and Bob's damaged Glitch. The time spent in games and away from Mainframe has hardened both Matrix and AndrAIa; Matrix has developed a pathological hatred of Megabyte, and has grown into an overly muscled, shoot-first-ask-question-later hero, while AndrAIa has turned into a calm and level-headed warrior. Matrix and AndrAIa are also shown to have developed a romantic relationship by this time. As the season progresses, Matrix and AndrAIa are reunited with Bob and the crew of the Saucy Mare and returned to Mainframe. Upon return, the heroes fight a final battle for control of Mainframe. Megabyte is defeated in a confrontation with Matrix, but not before Megabyte's handiwork causes the system to crash. All final problems in Mainframe were dealt with by The User restarting the system, setting everything right and restoring everything as it was again for our heroes, with one major exception: younger and older Enzo now exist simultaneously, as Matrix's icon was still set to "Game Sprite" mode. Because of this mishap, he wasn't recognized properly by the system when it rebooted, so it created a replacement of his younger self.

After the end of the third season, two TV movies were produced in 2001: Daemon Rising, which addressed the problem the Guardians were facing in season three, and My Two Bobs, which brings back Megabyte in a cliffhanger ending. The two movies, broken up into eight episodes in its U.S. run on Cartoon Network's Toonami, revealed much of Mainframe's history, including the formation of Lost Angles, Bob's arrival in the system, and the origin of Megabyte and Hexadecimal.

Initial plans for the fourth season included three films broken into 12 episodes, followed by a 13th musical-special episode, although the final five were never produced, prompting the series to end with a cliff-hanger.

Revival

Following its acquisition by the Rainmaker Income Fund in 2006 Mainframe Entertainment was renamed Rainmaker Animation. In 2007, Rainmaker then announced plans to create a trilogy of ReBoot films with illustrator/animator Daniel Allen as the lead character designer. Rainmaker Animation executive vice president Paul Gertz stated, ReBoot's legions of fans have been incredibly loyal and continue to keep the property alive on dozens of fan sites." In conjunction with the website Zeros 2 Heroes, Rainmaker announced an intention to allow fans greater access to the development of the movie plans and also in development of a ReBoot webcomic. Fans were given the chance to submit their own art and designs, with the potential to end up as an artist on the project, and their feedback helped decide which one of five ReBoot pitches won.

The winning pitch was ReBoot: Arrival. Rainmaker will monitor feedback for the comic but may not use it as the basis for their movie plans. Four ReBoot fans have been chosen to work as artists on the Arrival comic. According to the pitch at the Zeroes2Heroes website, Megabyte's Hunt has developed into a Net-wide war so pervasive even other Viruses are united against it. The Users have gone, spending their time in an unending MMOG. A sentient System named Gnosis is created as a way to stop Megabyte, but goes rogue and begins enslaving Systems in its attempt to gain User-like powers. Two teams of heroes are assembled to stop Gnosis and bring back the Users, which will include new characters and Lens the Codemaster, who appeared for one episode in Season 2. Elements of this would be dropped in the comic.

The official ReBoot website was updated with a countdown, which ended on May 30, 2008, at 12:00am EST. At 12:00am PST, the site was updated to include information about the first webcomic to be created by the Arrival team, and continuing the community input initiated during the "voting phase". The comic, now named Code of Honor, was viewable after signing up for an account, or using an existing Zeros 2 Heroes account.

The first Paradigms Lost issue (Paradigms Lost) opens with the aftermath of the Hunt: Mainframe is devastated and overrun with Zombinomes, the User is missing, and the entire population is being evacuated to the Super Computer. Worse still, the weakened Guardian Collective is facing viral attacks and uprisings across the entire Net. Turbo blames Bob for this, saying his views on viruses has become widespread and left them weakened. Enzo Matrix, meanwhile, is a star pupil in the Guardian Academy. The viral threat is ended when the Codemasters—first introduced in the episode "High Code"—pledge their help, offering a firmware named Gnosis. Gnosis is uploaded to every System on the Net, erasing all viruses and ending the crisis. The first issue ends with the Codemasters' Guildmaster activating a "Phase Two" for the implemented Gnosis.

The second and third issues had the heroes, now joined by Lens, try to stop the Codemasters from using Gnosis to access the Code itself, allowing the Guildmaster total control. However, Gnosis swiftly decides that it can complete its task better with the Guildmaster deleted, and following that it takes out the Guardians. Mainframe and 36 other systems are enslaved, being used as power sources to power its mission. While Dot tries to carry out rebel action in Mainframe, Bob and Lens have to retreat to the bowels of the Super-Computer to hide, while Enzo is one of those captured and discovers Megabyte (his code retained by Gnosis) is a key Gnosis advisor.

Bob is recruited by Exidy, an entity that is the source of the Code and trapped by Gnosis in the Net: intent on restoring balance and stability, she gives Bob the ability to wield the Code. While the main heroes link up and Bob is sent to take on Gnosis directly, Enzo verbally battles with Megabyte for influence over Gnosis, pointing out to the weapon that it could be getting more power more quickly if it asked Systems and was co-operating. When Gnosis comes around to this, Bob decides to allow the weapon to live and just reprogram it, and has it restore the Net to the way it was. That done, he frees Exidy and returns home.

A new countdown appeared on the official ReBoot website on August 18, 2008 to launch the second installment of the comic. Updates to the comic will appear every Monday, with 2 pages each update. The Comic ended shortly after Christmas, and Surveys for users to fill in are on the site.

The Art of ReBoot, a 104 page hardcover artbook was published in February 2007 by Beach Studios containing various rare and never before seen conceptual artwork. Brendan McCarthy's artwork was the major focus of that book.

On July 24, 2009, a new countdown on http://www.reboot.com finished, and the site was upgraded into the official ReBoot fansite. The comic is now freely available.

Film trilogy

On June 1, 2008, it was announced that there will be a trilogy of ReBoot films coming to theaters. Jon Cooksey was assigned to write the script for the first film, but as of August 2008, he was dropped due to Rainmaker deciding to take a different direction with the story. At this time, it is unknown who will replace him. The films are expected to follow a different story from the comic, but the overall plan is to continue the methodology in terms of engaging the fans.

The movie is currently listed as in development on the IMDB website. It is currently listed for release in 2010.

A teaser trailer for the film was released on October 5, on Rainmaker's official site.

Main characters

The main characters included:

  • Bob – Guardian #452, acts as the guardian of Mainframe.
  • Phong – The original COMMAND.COM of Mainframe, serves as a mentor and adviser to its inhabitants and works with Bob in defense of the system.
  • Dot Matrix – Originally owned a local diner and many other "businesses" (as seen at the end of one episode in the first season). Took over as COMMAND.COM in the third season.
  • Enzo Matrix – Dot's younger brother who idolized Bob as a hero, later grows up to become the renegade simply known as Matrix.
  • Frisket – A dog that belongs to Enzo.
  • AndrAIa – A game sprite and friend (and later girlfriend) of Enzo introduced in season two. The "AI" in her name refers to "Artificial Intelligence."
  • Megabyte – A "command and conquer, and infectious" computer virus, and the series' main villain. He is the opposite of Hexadecimal, and is an "Order Virus." Once came from the virus known as Killabyte. When merging with his sister Hexadecimal, they form an even more powerful virus called (as one might guess) Gigabyte. Has an English accent.
  • Hexadecimal – Megabyte's twin sister (came from the same viral strand: Killabyte), a "chaotic" computer virus, whose face is represented by a series of masks, each portraying a different emotion. She is the opposite of Megabyte, and is a "Chaos Virus."
  • Mouse – A freelance Hacker who originally was mentioned briefly, then worked for Megabyte in a one-shot early in the season, but then later switched sides and joined Dot and Enzo to defend Mainframe when Bob was trapped in "The Web." Speaks with a southern U.S. accent, and uses the word 'sugah' a lot as a term of endearment.
  • Hack & Slash – The two most commonly seen Henchmen in Megabyte's employ. Neither of them is very good at problem solving. During the 3rd season they switch sides and join the "command.com" of Mainframe.


Cast



Distribution

Television broadcasts

ReBoot was first broadcast on Saturday mornings in Canadamarker on YTV and in the United Statesmarker in 1994 by ABC. It was canceled on ABC when the Walt Disney Company purchased the network. Episodes continued to air in Canada. Episodes from the second season could still be seen in the U.S. when Claster Television distributed them for a short period of time during the 1996-97 season. It would be a year before new episodes aired on YTV due to Mainframe's involvement in Transformers: Beast Wars and Shadow Raiders, and the third season aired only on YTV at the time. In March 1999, years after Canadian audiences saw the third season, U.S. audiences saw the episodes on Cartoon Network. Cartoon Network aired season 3, and then looped to seasons 1 and 2.

Production on other series delayed the fourth season of ReBoot, the eight episodes of which eventually were released in the U.S. as two 90-minute direct-to-DVD features that ended on a cliffhanger season finale. Series creators Blair and Pearson resigned from Mainframe Entertainment in 2004 to form their own independent studio, The Shop.

The show also aired in the United Kingdommarker in the mid-1990s, on the ITV strand CITV. It was broadcast on CITV's available time slot of 4:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., every Thursday. In 1997, CITV aired the first 6 episodes of series 3. CITV stated that they had only bought the first 10 (out of 16) episodes of the show, and would buy the rest if the high ratings continued. On February 12, 1998, CITV aired the show again, from the episode "Trust No-one". When "To Mend and Defend" should have aired, the episode "Firewall" aired in its place instead. When "The Edge of Beyond" (Episode 10) should have been aired, no ReBoot episode was aired. Apparently, they showed an earlier episode one week later, that had previously been unaired (Painted Windows).Possible reason for the abrupt end was the increasingly dark and violent themes in Series 3, deemed by the broadcasters as unsuitable for the younger viewers.

A spinoff called Binomes was planned towards the end of 2004, featuring a family of Binomes who lived on a "chip farm". The series would have been composed of 52 11-minute episodes and aimed at a pre-school audience, but nothing of this project came to pass after the initial announcement.In Germanymarker the show was aired in 1998 on Kinderkanal.

The show was also broadcast in Malaysiamarker, and Italymarker (Rai Uno) in the mid-1990s.

The show now is aired on Teletoon Retro, and has been broadcast up to season three.

VHS and DVD release

In Canada, four VHS tapes were released in 1995 with individual episodes from the first season through Polygram Video. Each release contained a single episode: "Medusa Bug", "Wizards, Warriors, and a Word from Our Sponsor", "The Great Brain Robbery", and "Talent Night". The UK received two VHS releases, but with two episodes each: Volume 1 contained "The Tearing" and "Racing the Clock", while Volume two had "The Quick and the Fed" and "Medusa Bug". In Australia there were four VHS releases with each containing two episodes, comprising the first eight episodes of season one. However, all the VHS tapes have long gone out of print.

The second season was never released, even though Polygram retained the rights to publish the episodes on home video with their deal for the first season. Despite this, in 2000 Mainframe struck a deal with A.D. Vision to release the third season on DVD Spanning four volumes, all sixteen episodes were published, separated by each story arc of four episodes: "To Mend and Defend", "The Net", "The Web", and "The Viral Wars". ADV planned to re-release these DVDs at a lower price in 2005, but changed their plans as they decided to cancel several of their titles at the time. Some time afterward, the company lost the publishing rights. Much like the first season VHS tapes, the third season ReBoot DVDs are now out of print and considered rare.

Anchor Bay Entertainment released the fourth season in its original form as two films (Daemon Rising and My Two Bobs) on one DVD entitled "ReBoot v4.0" which went out of print in early 2007. It was improperly mastered as the 25 fps source material was treated as 24 fps film speed material, meaning 3:2 pulldown flags were encoded into the MPEG stream, which resulted in the video playing back 4.096% slower and all the voices sounding deeper. Anchor Bay corrected and remastered the fourth season disc and made it available by contacting them for a replacement; these discs are now also out of print. The fourth season has also been released in Australia in its original PAL video format, which is still in print. Germany has DVD (PAL format) releases of all of season two. Russia has DVD (PAL format) releases for the first three seasons (though the first few season three episodes are counted as season two).

Universal still owns the rights to publish the first and second seasons on home video and will maintain those rights until 2009. As of October 2009, Universal has not released the first and second seasons on DVD.

Season four is no longer available on DVD from Mainframe's web site due to their acquisition by Rainmaker Entertainment.

Unaired special

"Fast Forward: The Making of ReBoot" is a 23-minute episode. The title sequence on the sequence says "Date: February 27, 1995", putting its completion date between the first two seasons.

The show begins in Megabyte's lair, where Megabyte has hacked into the principal office and has created a portal into a parallel universe (our universe), taking him into the offices of Mainframe Entertainment. There the producer, writers and animators discuss how the show came about, how it is scripted, voiced, and animated, and what the staff does in its spare time.

An animation test from 1990 shows an early Bob flying on a surfboard, and an early version of Megabyte, as well as a 1992 test piece from the "Wizards, Warriors and a Word from our Sponsor" episode. It also shows the band Def Leppard's CGI "Let's Get Rocked" music video, which the ReBoot team created.

The special was announced and due to be aired on CITV (during the original broadcast of season one in the UK, ) but was subsequently pulled from the running order without explanation. It was deemed too violent. It was also aired on YTV at least once.

This program surfaced because in 1995 a British ReBoot fan directly contacted Limelight productions in London after it didn't air and they agreed to provide a VHS copy for review purposes.

Awards

ReBoot has been the recipient of several awards. The show received Gemini Awards for Best Animated Program Series for three straight years between 1995 and 1997, as well as a 1996 Outstanding Technical Achievement Award. Other honors include the 1995 Award of Excellence and Best Animated Program from the Alliance for Children and Television and an Aurora Award in 1996.

Other Gemini Award nominations include "Best Children's or Youth Program or Series" in 1998, and "Best Sound - Comedy, Variety, or Performing Arts Program or Series" for My Two Bobs and "Best Sound - Dramatic Program" for Daemon Rising, both in 2002.

Miscellaneous

References to computer technology

Several major characters are named after computer terms:
  • The character Phong's name is an allusion to the game Pong—he has a rule that any who seek his advice must first play him in a game of physical Pong, shown on-screen in the first few episodes—and to phong shading, an interpolation method used in three-dimensional graphics rendering. Phong shading was used to render this character , as opposed to the simpler Gouraud shading used on other characters.
  • The villain Megabyte is named after the megabyte unit of data measure. Near the end of the second season Hex and Megabyte are fused, creating the new virus Gigabyte. In Daemon Rising, Gigabyte is revealed to have evolved from a virus named Killabyte (a play on the unit Kilobyte). The power of the virus reflects the magnitude of the unit used as its name. 1,024 kilobytes make 1 megabyte, and 1,024 megabytes make one gigabyte.
  • Hexadecimal, the benign virus, is named for the hexadecimal numerical system.
  • Hexadecimal's pet, Scuzzy, is named for a common pronunciation of the acronym SCSI.
  • Dot Matrix's name is a reference to dot-matrix printers and displays.
  • Citizens of Mainframe who were in a game won by the User become Nulls, and the area on which a game touched down is "nullified." In computer science, a null is a pointer reference to essentially nothing, giving rise to the idea that the characters are deleted. (This definition was played on in a line from an early episode: "There's nothing worse than having to ask a null for directions.")
  • A Frisket is a means of moving an image in a program (like Paint) that protects it from the background.
  • The null, Nibbles, is named after a simple yet popular worm-like game. A nybble is also a unit of data equal to half a byte.
  • Most of the citizens of Mainframe are binomes - either round balls with arms and legs, or a stack of 3 cubes with arms and legs. These shapes represent the 1s and 0s of binary code.
(Oddly, the name of the hero himself, Bob, is not based on any computer term, but is instead an oblique Blackadder reference.)

Additionally, throughout the series the episodes are littered with script references and sight gags based around computer terminology. For references to computer terminology in the episodes, see List of ReBoot episodes.

Network censorship

The show's early jokes at the expense of BS&P came from frustration encountered by the show's makers by an abundance of script and editing changes that were imposed upon Mainframe before episodes were allowed to air. These changes were all aimed at making the show appropriate for kids, and to prevent even the slightest appearance of inappropriate content, imitatable violence or sexuality.

The character Dot was considered too sexualized by the BS&P even though she was "never one to expose much cleavage" so the animators were forced to make her breasts less curvy and form them into a lumpy "monobreast", as lightly referred to by the staff. However, starting with season three, the "monobreasts" of all adult female characters were replaced with more anatomically correct versions. In another case, the word "hockey" was banned from all episodes as in some countries it was supposedly used as a vulgar slang term. In the episode "Talent Night", one scene of Dot giving her brother Enzo "a sisterly kiss on the chin" was cut due to BS&P's fear of promoting incest, an insinuation which Pearson described as "one of the sickest things I've heard."

ReBoot The Ride

There have been two IMAX Ridefilms based on ReBoot. The first, "ReBoot — The Ride," opened at Sega City@Playdium (now simply called Playdiummarker) in Mississaugamarker, Ontariomarker on October 17, 1997. Viewers sit in an 18-passenger vehicle mounted on an orthogonal motion base. The film is projected at forty-eight frames per second onto a fourteen foot 180° spherically curved screen. The ride played at Circus Circus Las Vegasmarker and then later was moved down the strip to The Luxormarker, where it ran until 2007.

The second, was named "ReBoot — The Ride V. 2: Journey Into Chaos". This was subsequently opened at Playdium in Burnabymarker, British Columbiamarker and ran for a brief time.

See also



Footnotes

References



External links




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