Title  : ReBoot
Platform  : DVD
Publisher  : Mainframe Entertainment, Inc.
Distributed by  : ADV Films
Rating  : Suitable for all ages
Review by  : Ken Gagne

Ever wonder what happens inside your computer? ReBoot, possibly the first Saturday morning cartoon to utilize solely computer-generated animation, first gave us a look inside the digital realm six years ago. Its third and most recent season is now being released on DVD by ADV Films. 

Set inside the computer Mainframe (also the name of the show's animation studio), ReBoot personifies computer programs and processes into a battle for good and evil. The evil virii, Megabyte and Hexademical, and "game cubes," inputted by the unseen user, are only a few of the threats constantly thwarted by the heroes: Bob, a Guardian from the supercomputer; the entrepreneur Dot Matrix; and her little brother, Enzo. The show uses technical terms as common lingo: a nanosecond is forever, "low density" is an insult, and something that's awesome is "alphanumeric." 

ReBoot: Season III comprises sixteen episodes, divided among four 4-episode discs. Each is a short story arc unto itself. The first disc picks up where the second season cliffhanger left off, with Bob, the show's protagonist up until then, gone, lost in the World Wide Web, leaving young sprite Enzo and artificial intelligence AndrAIa to defend Mainframe. These first four episodes are what viewers of earlier seasons would come to expect: wacky games, conniving villains, and devious plots. 

It's after the first disc that Season III becomes entirely unlike its predecessors. The second disc begins ten years later and features an adult Enzo and AndrAIa, who, in their own version of "Sliders", have been trapped outside Mainframe, hopping from system to system to find a way home. The eager, young boy we once knew has been replaced by a gun-toting, one-eyed, tattooed renegade. 

Being away from home for ten years has made Enzo cynical, and even viewers will find themselves longing for the familiar locales of Mainframe. One episode finds our heroes in an odd, random amalgamation of Star Trek and the Legion of Super Heroes; another is based on the old television series "The Prisoner". ReBoot has always been unpredictable, but in a familiar way; but with each new system Enzo reaches, we have no idea what to expect. 

But as the season continues, some fine storytelling occurs. The third disc takes place in the Web, while the fourth and final disc brings our heroes back to Mainframe in a series of climatic conflicts that will have fans on the edge of their seats. 

Every episode features top-quality computer animation, but it's the show's quirky sense of humor that makes it such a hit. Though the characters in Season III may be darker, the situations in which they find themselves are no less zany. The show's producers fill every episode to the brim with inside jokes, obscure references, and other gags to reward the careful watcher. 

It's curious that ADV Films decided to release only Season III of ReBoot in DVD format. The earlier episodes are less continuous and easy to pick up and watch without having seen the previous episodes. However, with a fourth season currently in production, it's possible ADV decided to allow viewers to catch up to where the new episodes will begin in as few discs as possible. 

Though collectors and enthusiasts will appreciate having ReBoot on DVD, both will be disappointed in the lack of significant extras included on the discs. The character tests and concept sketches are only a few seconds long each, and contain none of the amusement that can be derived from any moment of a finished episode. Character bios provide a few interesting details on the disc's special guests, while trailers advertise ADV's other DVD titles. 

ReBoot is a television show and was not originally recorded in 5.1 sound; the DVD audio is in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo with English-only tracks. 

ReBoot is a fun and gorgeous cartoon for all ages. Anyone who missed ReBoot the first time around should try to catch the first seasons in reruns on Cartoon Network and the latest episodes on DVD; not only are they worth viewing, but Season IV is something you'll want to be prepared for. 


This article is copyright (c) 2001, 2007 by Ken Gagne. All rights reserved. Not to be distributed without permission.

Original publication: Sentinel & Enterprise, 05-Feb-01