Grab your bottle and jump on the nostalgia train. The Paramount+ revival of Rugrats has arrived!

The new Rugrats is a real blast from the past. It’s been modernized from its 1991 debut, but in a way that feels completely natural to the characters and the tone of the series. (Other reboots, take notes!) 

You can tell the creative team behind the series really thought about what bringing the Rugrats into 2021 would mean. And sure, there’s the obvious technology updates (smartphones and dating apps, doorbell cameras and FaceTiming) and some social updates as well (Phil and Lil’s mom Betty is gay).

But in general, these are all background considerations that do very little to shift the core plot and the focus on the Rugrats themselves. And that’s why the update works so well! It doesn’t matter that these kids live in a world of smartphones. Tommy will still break out his trusty screwdriver to save the day. Angelica will still convince Chuckie he’s going to turn into a worm. Phil and Lil will still find their joy in getting messy and eating things they shouldn’t. Their adventures remain their own, and that only adds to the nostalgia factor. At the end of the day, kids are just kids. Their imagination and unique way of seeing the world is the real appeal of Rugrats.

But not all updates are good

2021 technology elements aside, by far the most jarringly different thing about this new Rugrats is the animation. The original 2D characters have been reimagined in a new 3D style.

And I kind of hate it.

To be fair, this was a conclusion I drew before I ever watched the new series. When Paramount+ released the promo images, I had a viscerally negative reaction. I think for me, these bulbous 3D rendered babies start to toe that uncanny valley line. The features look just real enough that it makes their cartoonish exaggerations feel wrong. I realized at one point I had hyper-focused in on Tommy, because I could so clearly see him breathing. That should feel like a triumph in animation, and for sure I admire the skill behind creating that. Still creeped me out though.

If you don’t look at the still images from Rugrats and think Nope! however, you’ll probably be fine with the animation overall. I did like how the new version preserved the original look of the characters, just translating it into a 3D style. The coloring as well is bold and distinctive, reminiscent of the original cartoon. I did adjust to the animation more over time, but I never really liked it.

Still, the overall tone of Rugrats and the reliable traits of your favorite characters will bring fans an enjoyable dose of nostalgia. If you loved the 90s cartoon, you should give this one a shot.

Rugrats is streaming now on Paramount+.