BLOG Looking back at ReBoot

Blogger John Cooper can’t wait for Tron Legacy, so sates his appetite with some retro CGI action

Every so often I get not just excited, but unhealthily over-thrilled about something to the point where my adrenaline-induced imaginings threaten to overbear the actual “thing” itself, preventing said thing from living up to my unnatural level of expectation. This happened recently with the new series of Doctor Who and it’s suddenly happening again every time I see a new still from Tron Legacy. Having watched the original movie many times and played the under-rated Tron2 game, there’s something about the world of Tron that is sexy, mad and dangerous all at once. It sets my head spinning over how that world will have evolved and what the official sequel will hold.

How will the web have affected the world of Tron? Twenty eight years since the original with all our social networking, iPhones and mobile internet cravings, can it bear any resemblance other than visually?

As a way of alleviating my excitement I’ve put myself of a retro-diet of ReBoot.

If you’re not familiar with it, ReBoot was fully CGI animated kids’ show from back in the ’90s that was set inside a mainframe computer. Each week guardian Bob would defend Mainframe against games sent from “the user”, in the form of big purple blocks then – as the series progressed – against crashes, viruses, AI’s and the web itself.

As a kids show ReBoot rocked. It was fun, witty and full of nods to other genre shows. It progressed from series to series both in terms of graphics and narrative, and as technology in the real world evolved, so too did the show and the characters living inside Mainframe. By series two, resident bad guy Megabyte was already being overshadowed by more threatening faceless tentacled viruses of unknown origin, and by series three there were moral questions, the switching of sides and a full-season story arc with scarred world-weary sprite Enzo Matrix searching for a missing Bob in the unknown space of the web itself – like Jet Set Willy getting lost in the plot of a Technicolor Apocalypse Now. Being shown at 4.45pm.

Only we didn’t get to see it all. At least not back then in 1997 in the UK – ITV stopped showing series three at episode nine, a good seven episodes before the end! My guess would be that the show’s greatest strength was perceived as a weakness by the bods at CITV, who probably didn’t quite get the worth of it when whole episodes were beautifully themed on The Prisoner, The X-Files and James Bond but aimed at kids. Series four was never shown. Even today it’s not that easy to get hold of (I have series one to three on dusty VHS) and I believe only region one DVDs are available.

But if you can find it, it’s well worth a punt. ReBoot!

Addendum: it was announced in 2008 that there’ll be a trilogy of ReBoot movies. There’s a tiny teaser trailer here on the production company’s website.