When I got the call to write for the reimagination of the classic series ReBoot– ReBoot: The Guardian Code there was only one possible response. ALPHANUMERIC! I hadn’t written a cartoon in about five years and I hadn’t written for ReBoot since… damn… I’m old…
Then I went to ReBoot: The Guardian Code HQ in Vancouver and my old friend, showrunner, Larry Raskin, blew my mind.
I’d heard the new show was entirely different from the original series. There were rumours it was a mix of live action and CGI — something I’d written for the BBC series Ace Lightning – but in the words of 1,000,000 clickbait headlines I couldn’t believe what happened next.
Larry wasn’t just offering me the chance to write an episode of this new show, he was offering me the chance to revive Bob, Dot, Enzo and… the digital woman of my dreams… Hexadecimal.
Yes, he was also offering me the episode old-time fans were most likely to consider an act of sacrilege, but that never stopped JJ Abrams from rebooting… everything.
When Larry warned me I might take heat from the #Notmyreboot movement, I asked, “which ReBoot is that?”
I wrote the last two episodes of the original ReBoot– the kid’s show for ABCKids. After ReBoot Classic was cancelled by ABCKids, it went into syndication and was rebooted for the new market with Enzo levelling up from Robin to Nightwing, AndrAia going from adorable sprite to PG-13 warrior princess and Bob (who I’d kinda killed at the end of season two) going AWOL, then returning with a new cosmic look like he’d left Mainframe to join an eighties hair-metal band. The show pulled off one final (very cool) shortened season after that, then vanished.
I knew about several attempts to revive ReBoot and that Canada’s TV pitch graveyard is littered with rejected proposals and scripts by some of the country’s best TV writers. Guardian Code creator, Michael Hefferon, had done what no one else — including the original creators — had been able to pull off since season two of the original series. He came up with an idea that landed a broadcaster.
If Twitter had been around when ReBoot relaunched for syndication it’s a safe bet fans of “the real ReBoot” would have taken one look at Enzo with stubble, Amazon AndrAia, Cosmic Bob and the newer, nastier games and complained — just like Hack and Slash did in the show — that this was not their world.
As a Canadian TV writer I would have joined the charge because a major behind-the-scenes shift between seasons two and three was an almost total switch from Canadian freelancerwriters to American freelance writers.
Because ReBoot: TheGuardian Code is tightly arced, most of the story beats for my episode were set before I signed on. Megabyte would invade Mainframe to recruit his psycho sister, Hex, and encounter his old enemies. The new Guardians would meet the original Guardian and get caught in a game cube with him.
I was thrilled when I heard this wasn’t just Bob, it was Bob Classic (aka Michael Benyaer). My second ReBoot script was infamous because I “killed” Bob. Now, over 20 years later, I was being invited to bring the original Bob back to life.
As a freelancer the choice to go with vintage Bob and Dot and cute, goofy Enzo versus butch, broody Enzo was above my paygrade, but it made sci-fi sense to return to Dot’s Diner.
Since the next gen Guardians were switching on the computer containing Mainframe it seemed logical to boot into the original world. And TV is a business so I get the logic behind returning to the series that was broadcast on ABC, not the world shown at the end of a final season that had limited distribution.
I had my assignment. It was time to binge every episode and find a game for the Guardians to fight.
ReBoot: The Guardian Codeis broadcast on YTV in Canada and worldwide (except Canada on Netflix).
To be continued (next Alphanumeric Easter Eggs)…