was the smash hit of the 1994 SatAm kids TV season. It was also the
first weekly series made entirely on computer (CGI). The SF animated
adventure show ran on ABC in the US, YTV in Canada, and in numerous
other countries. After the second season, it was pulled off the air
when Disney bought ABC, along with other non-Disney shows. There was a
third season, never seen in the US until 1999, when Cartoon Network
showed all three seasons. A few early shows made it out on VHS, and
season three was released on four DVDs. A fourth season, released on
DVD, actually consisted of two feature length films. Finally, in 2011, ReBoot returned, when seasons one
and two were at last released in a DVD set. In the meantime, it's also
been released as a Playstation video game, ReBoot the Ride, which was
named "Best New Attraction" in 1997, and "ReBoot: Journey into Chaos"
for the IMAX Ridefilm motion simulator. Bill Gates indicted ReBoot into the Smithsonian in 1998
as the first 100 per cent computer-generated weekly TV series.
Above: Frisket and Enzo, detail from the cover of a coloring book.
Above left: Irwin toys from season
three: Captain Capacitor and the Web Mare. Right: Lieutenant Chauncey
and Armoured Binome Carrier.
Below left: carded Commander Dot
action figure. Middle: carded Hack and Slash action figures.
Right: carded vehicles (shown above).
|Above left: DVDs for season four,
and the fourth volume of season three. Middle: Bob as Matrix from
season three. one of five large, articulated action figures released by
Irwin in 2001, shown with two variations of Frisket. Right: Six cards
from the 1995 Fleer Ultra ReBoot card series. Below: four pages of
dazzling ReBoot toys from
the Irwin Toy catalog.
was created by Mainframe Entertainment, Vancouver BC. Mairi
Welman, Director of Communications, commented on ReBoot's return to US TV in 1999:*
"The Cartoon Network has exclusive
rights for the first year, and exclusive cable rights for the second
year. They bought all three seasons--39 episodes, and are running it in
the Toonami block, five days a week."
"Every day it was off the air we
got mail from people asking when ReBoot
was coming back. The lasting power of this series has been quite
"Disney bought ABC and all the
independent productions had their contracts cancelled. The really
ironic thing is that when we went into syndication after that, the
Disney-owned ABC channel in LA bought ReBoot
and aired it."
"Irwin was the original licensee
for manufacture of figures and toys for ReBoot, and they did season one and
two figures. Because we were unable to sell ReBoot season three into
the US at the time it was airing in Canada, the licensees dropped away.
In this industry licensees are not interested in a property that is not
going to be airing in the US, pure and simple. The Canadian market is
simply too small. So, because we didn't get a broadcaster in the US,
the toy, poster, and apparel contracts for the 1997 season didn't get
"Lots of companies are interested
in the toy contracts now. But it depends on what broadcaster you go
with what company makes the toys; it's all political and it's all tied
up between the networks. Certain companies work with certain
"So there was a whole third season
that was unsupported in merchandising and licensing that we actually
ended up losing money on, because it was fairly high end."
"For the third season, though, we
were out from under the network Broadcast Standards and Practices yoke."
"When we were on ABC we really had
to dumb the show down. They wouldn't let us show any imminent jeopardy,
nobody was allowed to be shown getting hurt or killed. The shows were
all one-offs, which is to say that the story line didn't carry on; they
were aiming it at really young kids."
"We went with it because we got it
on the air; we got the first season produced. Year two we pushed it a
bit because we were in syndication, but that was when all the
broadcasters were going through the big process with Congress in the
states, and the whole broccoli TV issue. So the stations were under a
risk, and they wouldn't let us go too far."
"Then we got to season three. We
didn't have a US broadcaster for it, and we said, let's go fo it, let's
make ReBoot what we always
thought it should be, which is an action-adventure series for kids age
eight and up. Season three is a vast departure from seasons one and
two. American fans have been pleasantly shocked and surprised."
"People who have seen it love it.
It's a bit darker; it's a continuing story arc through all sixteen
episodes, which breaks down into four chapters of four episodes each,
and it's got a lot more imminent jeopardy in it. It's like a sci-fi
series. Our goal was to see season three into the US because we needed
to make that money from the show. Hopefully it will do as well there as
it did elsewhere. If it does, maybe Cartoon Network or someone will
say, "How about another season?"
Mainframe Entertainment was also
the producer of Beast Wars
Transformers, the top-rated syndicated kids' series of the
late '90s, and War Planets/
Shadowraiders, based on Trendmasters toys.
* Excerpts from "Due South: An FPS
Interview with Mairi Welman" by Gord Wilson, © Gord Wilson, from FPS: Frames Per Second, Number 16,
1999, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Used by permission.