In 2014, Netflix revealed some of their early plans for an updated animated series based on the hit scientific show The Magic School Bus that ran from 1994-1997. This show has a special spot in my heart as it taught me so much at
such an early age! For example, there were many times throughout high school and even university when I would get a Frizzle-flashback (I’d like to believe I just made that up) and I would know that the cartoon had taught me this information years earlier.
Netflix Canada has had the original series available in their library for a while now and I absolutely still watch it. Obviously, I enjoy it mainly for nostalgic reasons, but I remember the episodes and characters so clearly that it feels like I’m rehashing personal stories with old friends. The nostalgic element is what makes this reboot a risky move to me; I believe that they will likely disappoint their grownup fans in order to properly hold the attention of and educate today’s youth (a valid reason).
My mixed feelings surrounding the Magic School Bus revival lie mainly in my fear that the animation will be too modern for my taste and that the writing will be less punny. I honestly loved every Carlos pun and I think
that the innocence of dad-humour played a large part in the overall likability of the show. The Magic School Bus captivated young audiences with visual learning in a way that wasn’t common in elementary schools of the 90’s. Kids today may not fully understand that teachers had to book one of maybe three tube-televisions that would be wheeled down the hall for an allotted hour or so, and that this was a big deal because you rarely got to watch videos in class. The Magic School Bus took textbook knowledge and relayed it in an entertaining fashion!
Although I have my reservations, I am trying to have faith in the reboot and I will definitely give it a watch.
Netflix has kept a lot of secrets since the reboot’s 2014 announcement, but here’s what we do know so far:
- It will be computer generated animation (this makes me nervous [I’m not always a fan]).
- Stu Stone, the voice actor who played Ralphie (one of two characters who we got to know from the inside-out), is on board as one of the producers of the reboot!
- Multiple other cast members have signed on to help in some way (I’m hoping that they pull a Degrassi-The Next Generation and have the original cast play parents)
- Top secret celebrities will lend their voices throughout the new series.
- It will likely be titled “The Magic School Bus 360˚”
The early concept art indicates that the Ms. Frizzle character seems to be a similar age as she was in the 90s. If the original Ms. Frizzle were to have aged with us, I would love for
her to still be voiced by actress Lily Tomlin and I also hope she married a woman (I just feel like she could have)!
It has been twenty years since The Magic School Bus ended, this has allowed for extensive technology advancements and many new discoveries about our planet. These changes in scientific development are enough reason to justify why the reboot’s relevance. There is a large amount of educational content to teach the modern generation that so many youth television shows are simply not covering.
Topics that I would love to see covered in the new Magic School Bus:
- An emphasis on women in STEM careers
- Wearable technology
- A new space episode talking about changes within our galaxy (*cough* Pluto)
- Global Warming
- Corrections on new discoveries with dinosaurs (our apparently fine-feathered-friends)
- Life before cell phones
- Crime Forensics (to an extent)
- Wireless everything
There are so many choices in topical scientific studies that I’m really excited to see what the creators decide to showcase. Hopefully it will be just as successful as the original series and we will have a positive program that is trusted by parents who learned from an familiar fiery Frizzle.
I think that we (as older viewers) need to either
- watch it and love it if they do it justice nostalgically (Fuller House did this well, but the original was already geared toward both kids and adults) or
- let go of our nostalgic reigns to let a new generation benefit off of an educational program aimed to please and educate kids, not adults.
The show is currently in production and I’m hoping to see it released soon!
Are there some quality scientific television shows already out there for youth today? Let me know some of them! I’m thinking of shows similar to Bill Nye, The Science Guy or the Magic School Bus for us 90’s kids.