It’s been a few days since the new Reboot: The Guardian code dropped on Netflix, and it has taken this writer some time to figure out exactly how to put his thoughts into words. I’ve come to the dilemma since I was a huge fan of the original series but like all the other shows I’m nostalgic for I have to look at this with new eyes and for what its worth, and that is basic.
This show follows ALL the obvious tropes on how to make an ensemble teenage superhero show. Some things it does well but some are so poorly done, it’s cringe-worthy. Reboot: The Guardian Code has been picked up for 20 episodes and I hope that the producers listen to those of us on the internet after the first 10 episodes and redirect slightly. The reason I say slightly it because this show is on a razor’s edge of being great, in my opinion. Yes, I might have said basic but they do get some things right.
As always there have been the obvious trolls on the internet saying it’s a rip off of Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad and Code Lyoko. This is what I have to say to them: it’s been 24 years since the first episodes aired, the show chose to stay with the times and current technology. With everything so connected, it would seem really out of place to have a show on a stand-alone computer.
Let’s break it down and yes there will be worse than good but these are things they can fix.
The Cyber Guardian game is all the rage and at Alan Turing High school four students are chosen to become the next evolution of Guardians and uploaded to the net to stop the evil “Sourcerer” from taking us back to the dark ages before digital technology he recruits and upgrades Megabyte from the original series to do his bidding to take down the net with his dark code.
Cookie Cutter Characters: the cast of this show is generic and the characters they play are just as a typical.
Austin had the usual reluctant crybaby moment then turn around the story, plus his Guardian persona Vector is the most balanced character, think Mario. Plus we also find out he has also created the new guardian protocol so between his “Daddy Issues” since his dad is “gone.”
Trey has just transferred to a school that he is obviously not cut out for and yes he has the “I’m not good at a certain class episode”, plus how could he just walk out of basketball practice when he truly is the star player. As for his Guardian persona D-Frag he’s a tank all brawn some brain to his credit.
Tamara is a plucky vlogger and she has no character development at all. Her Guardian persona Enigma is just like 90% of BAMF female characters all speed and ninja skills like Cammy and Chun-Li from Street Fighter and a bit of Ivy from Soul Caliber.
Parker is obviously Austin’s best friend, and hits every single nerd check on the list! I could go on and on about this one. To be honest his Guardian persona Googz is the character type I would play as most often. He’s the tech guy, not much in offense but makes up for it in skill. He even has an episode that he hacked his way to a higher level weapon and we then got the cheaters never win………. Blah. Then he gets an “upgrade” in the same episode, for something that was already on his back?! Last time I played a game the gear you have is what you use. Plus he has a crush on VERA and finally mans up to no avail in the last 5 minutes of the last episode.
The CGI in this show is fantastic! Yes, they might have reused a few sequences to save time and money, but they at least use a different background and camera angle to fool the untrained eye.
This 5th character is the support to the main group and acts like the Alpha 5, NOT 6! She started off in the first episode as a program and because of Parker pushing the big red button he made her come to life in the physical world in some weird iron lung looking machine. She has the usual “I want to be a real girl” issues as any artificial life form would have. But the actress I think played her so well. She also had an episode where she tested out emotions and her timing was spot on cycling thru them. For those of you who remember back in the 80’,s she reminds me more of Vicki from Small Wonder more than Data from TNG. She also has a love of cats and happened to “procure” one and named it HASHTAG! The only thing I didn’t like was when she would receive a signal and cock her neck it looked forced, I could tell if she had to fart or was having a stroke.
Tony Jay, the original voice of Megabyte passed back in 2006 but he lives on thru Timothy E. Brummund. He is still as menacing as before and hits all the right notes but his new upgraded form kept that familiar jaw line for abut took away that perfect proboscis for flat face like you would see on Transformers Rescue Bots.
Got your nose!!!
Title Cards: I think this show has a page in its bible to have at least 4 title cards show up per episode. A good way to kill time and flat acting.
In suit copycat: 10 years ago this certain ironclad superhero showed up on screen and now every superhero in a helmet has to use the same HUD.
The Rules: the show doesn’t follow its own rules; the Guardians do the Power Ranger-esque calling out of their personal weapons. But as I said about Googz getting an upgrade with the stuff already on his back. Enigma we just have to take at face value being able to pull swords off her back and attach them together or having these “cyber skis” which look like a pair of digital leg prosthetics to enhance her speed and jumping skills. She only called out her “stealth mode” once.
Because we can: Like I said the show goes very atypical with the character types and guardian personas to match. But I would have liked a little more understanding of what their abilities are not just you’re the best 4 players in the world and go jump in the internet. Vector has a time stopping ability; thankfully it’s not overused. The other guys have no special ability and I’ve already commented on the pass that Enigma got.
The Clandestine Government Agency: Yep, we got another case of black suits they have no idea what’s going on the web but did send back up once but sadly since they are part of the “government intelligence” they started attacking the guardians too. In a later episode, they introduced Mark as Dad’s old friend and possible love interest for Austin’s mom, but it seems he has a hidden agenda.
The Sourcerer: As the main villain goes he again is a cookie cutter character. Lives in an abandoned warehouse and has terrible hygiene and eating habits. Plus for a guy who can write the infamous DARK CODE how come every time we pull up a VidWindow to talk to Megabyte its looks as bad as an old Gameboy Camera?! I do appreciate the play on words as Sourcerer is a type of coding.
The Music: Each episode had some band playing over the credits I couldn’t stand it. I think it must have been a friend of the producers.
Episode 10 The Fanboy Menace
I haven’t talked much about particular episodes because they honestly didn’t deserve it, but this one absolutely does, not for the right reasons. It’s bittersweet at most the way they handled this homage to the original series. Mainframe it self-looks exactly like it did in the original, all the way down to Lost Angles. But apparently the Original Mainframe computer just happened to be in Room 0 (the Guardians Command Center) just back and to the right, cause no one decided to check out the entire room over the course of ten episodes!? After Parker and VERA stumble upon the tower and call it a collector’s item, parker resets mainframe. In the digital mainframe the lights come back on as Vector and Enigma are searching around they are stopped by Bob, yes I said Bob! He questions them and they explain that they are users, ala Tron, and can’t take off their helmets. We get the classic line from Bob from the original opening so I might have fanboyed a bit there. Next, they head off to see Dot and Enzo. The best part about seeing Bob and Dot is the original actors came back to voice themselves, obviously, Enzo’s actor has grown up since then. At the same time Megabyte goes to recruit Hexadecimal to join him taking over the net, her new design is fantastic but they broke a cardinal rule about HEX. She must always swipe her hand across her face to change faces. 85% of the episode she did but the other glaringly obvious 15% her faced moved like any other sprite! The textures and the use of lighting was spot on! Sadly Enzo, Bob, and Dot were so over-rendered I would have preferred to go back and watch an original episode.
A few minutes later in the real world, we are in what looks to be an apartment with the world’s greatest Reboot fan, complete with toys on the wall still on their backer cards, posters and even a six-foot statue of good old Mic TV! Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the original user all grown up! Just like all the other stereotypical archetypes we’ve seen so far this one hits the stay at home nerd right on the spacebar! His gaming computer (that’s at home) wakes up saying that the MFE (Mainframe) is back online, so was the mainframe a server 20 years ago? We were under the impression back then this was a personal computer, right? So did he have a separate phone line hooked up to his 28.8k bandwidth modem online for 20 years waiting to play a game?! He then proceeds to load up Starship Alcatraz from an old Xbox case on cd format and Googz, Vector and Bob get stuck in it. Bob is the only one able to reboot to the game settings while the new guardians are at a huge disadvantage and can’t reboot so the tools they have are useless in the game. Googz thinks it’s from the game being so old like 64-bit but the rendering on the show looks more modern than retro. Luckily our heroes stop the user by remembering an old “cheat code” Austin’s dad taught them “back in the day” and yes you see the anguish on the users face after 20 years and he still can’t win. Outside the game, Enigma tries to fight off Megabyte and Hex, but they got away back to the net. We got all the usual lines like “stay frosty” and “mend and defend.” This being the last episode of the season was so flat at the end with no real cliffhanger except what we already knew that Hex and Megabyte were teaming up.
As a whole, this show is like I said, basic in every possible sense. It would be good to watch on a random afternoon when you’re stuck at home with the flu and you don’t really want to think about anything. Or maybe put it on as a distraction for your younger kids in the house. Hopefully, the next ten episodes will ramp up the story and direction and end on a high note or this show will easily be as memorable a Tattooed Teenage Alien Fighter from Beverly Hills.