TV Review | ReBoot: The Guardian Code

March 30, 2018 (Last updated: August 27, 2018)
Oliver Buckley 28
Netflix, TV, TV Reviews
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ReBoot: The Guardian Code is a Canadian animation/live-action crossover that follows the lives of four teenagers as they start life at Alan Turing High School. The four young heroes – Austin aka Vector (Ty Wood), Tamra aka Engima (Sydney Scotia), Parker aka Googz (Ajay Friese) and Trey aka Defrag (Gabriel Darku) – are not your average teenagers. On the first day of school, they’re pulled into cyberspace where they must defend the internet from hackers, viruses and all kinds of malware. ReBoot: The Guardian Code is a Netflix Original TV Series with the first 10 episodes available on March 30th, 2018.

When I saw that Netflix was going to bring ReBoot back to my screen in the form of The Guardian Code, I had that all too familiar mix of curiosity and dread. For those of you too young (or not geeky enough) the original ReBoot aired in 1994, and was a bit of a landmark in animation. This was CGI cartoon a year before Toy Story hit the big screen. The show followed the adventures of Bob, a Guardian charged with defending the Mainframe against a host of baddies. The show started off as your typical after-school fare but by the end of its second series, it really got into its stride. ReBoot actually dealt with some fairly adult themes and definitely took a turn towards being a much darker show.

I’m told that ReBoot: The Guardian Code is technically non-canonical, but it is effectively a reboot of ReBoot. I’m sorry, I’ve been dying to use that since I first read about the show’s impending arrival. There are certainly more than a few passing nods to the original series; in fact, it goes way beyond a passing nod and is more like a big nudge and wink as several characters from the original make an appearance in some form or other.

I have to admit I was quite disappointed with ReBoot: The Guardian Code (or R:TGC as no one is calling it). The original show basically used characters and cities to illustrate the way a computer worked – the illustrations were wildly wide of the mark, but there was some internal logic. It was showing the audience life inside a machine, and it was pretty good fun. (Incidentally, if you get the chance to check out the original series you absolutely should.)

The first issue I have with the reboot (with a lowercase “r”) is that it mixes the real world and the digital world, or “cyberspace” (typing that made me feel dirty and nauseous) as it’s referred to in the show. The four heroes (Austin, Parker, Tamra, and Trey) are brought together because they’re really good at an online game and there they are thrust into cyberspace (I feel so dirty), with flashy suits and cool powers. It really feels like Power Rangers or, perhaps more appropriately, VR Troopers (does anyone bar me remember that exists?).

Perhaps I’m just too old to relate to life in high school now, but I found the bits in the real-world to be utterly cringeworthy. I think this is amplified because it’s not just the four Guardians that we follow through high school. There’s also Vera Vera (Hannah Vandenbygaart), an AI from cyberspace (ugh, I hate myself) who manages to find her way into the real-world with the help of a biological reconstructor, because why wouldn’t you connect what is effectively a 3D printer that deals in flesh, bone, blood and guts to the internet? We get a lot of the normal high school tropes and also the usual fish out of water “comedy” moments as Vera attempts to pass for human.

I found the jumps between the real-world sections and the CGI rendered worlds to just be so jarring. The high school drama stuff feels like a subpar teen soap and the bits in the machine world just feel brief. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but it felt hard to buy into the fact that these kids were actually zapping in and out of the computer. It definitely suffers from the same problems that the Power Rangers had, in that it feels like it’s two separate shows that are at odds with each other. At least Power Rangers has the excuse of actually being two shows sewn together. I really never bought that the characters inside the computer were the same people as outside the computer. Whenever the gang are mucking about in cyberspace we get very Iron Man-inspired shots of them inside their helmets, complete with a fancy HUD and the odd sassy quip thrown in (think along the lines of a substandard Spider-Man). I think this is included to try and reinforce the point that there are meant to be real people under those helmets, but in reality, it just helped to slow down the CGI action and took me out of the story even more. I’m pretty sure it was also included because Marvel have used it to quite good effect and so it’s worth throwing in there.

There are some hints around a larger story arc running in the background. A lot of which is very much story by numbers. We’ve got Austin’s dead father, who is supposedly involved with the creation of the Guardians program that sucks his son into a computer. Although I have to say (and this isn’t a spoiler, just my own thoughts all through the show) that I am not convinced that Austin’s dad is actually dead, but I’ll have to wait and see on that one. There’s an evil and mysterious hacker called The Sorcerer who seems to be attacking random parts of the internet for no real reason. I know that he was a hacker because he wore a hoodie, with the hood up, for the entirety of the show’s 10-episode run. I know he’s evil because he had a very dingy and gloomy lair and thanks to a few lingering shots on his hands, I found he has very dirty fingernails. These fingernails were far too dirty to be that way by accident, so it is definitely a stylistic choice, and the camera focused on them for too long for it not to be a character trait. I think this is what watching 10 episodes of ReBoot: The Guardian Code in the space of 4 hours has reduced me too. I was actively seeking out weird little details to distract myself from the mediocre teen drama. (“Oh no, Trey isn’t getting good grades. Oh, hold on, he’s passed the test with no real signs of work so everything is fine.”)

I really wanted to like this series but it just feels too disjointed to be really enjoyable. It tries to do two things and doesn’t do either of them brilliantly. I could have definitely done without the high school dramas and would have been happy to just see the series updated for a new internet-connected world. The possibilities for making a series like this that is no longer constrained to a single mainframe computer are really interesting. Sadly, what we actually get doesn’t really make enough of the potential. The show does at least provide some closure to the cliffhanger ending of the original series, but even that isn’t done particularly well.

I’ll probably be back later in the year when the next half of The Guardian Code is available because I’m an eternal optimist and deep down I think that show might start paying off all of the mysteries it has (clumsily) set up. I’m also a sucker for nostalgia, and if there’s a chance of more of the original characters getting more screen time I’ll have to be onboard.

I think if you’re a fan of the original then this isn’t really going to do much for you. Perhaps some kind soul online can edit out all of the real-world crap and just make a show set entirely in the digital world – that might be half decent. It could just be that as a fan of the original this was always going to be a disappointment to me, and perhaps I am just too old to enjoy this now. Ultimately, if I think about this series as a standalone property, without the baggage of nostalgia, it is still left wanting. It tries to do two different shows and neither is particularly good.

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27 thoughts on “TV Review | ReBoot: The Guardian Code

  • March 31, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    Okay, so, my issue with Reboot: The Guardian Code is, aside from the fact that it isn’t stylized ReBoot but rather Reb00t, is that the acting was just plain bad at times, and with at times, I mean all of the time. It’s painfully obvious during the segments within Cyberspace, where it cuts to shots within their helmets. It all just feels so disjointed, as if the lines were recorded without any feedback or something.

    And, like, I can take the teenage drama stuff. I mean, that’s not what the original ReBoot was all about, but hey, it’s a new thing they’re trying, and you should always try new things. And it could have worked, but they didn’t make it work. Most of the times, I wasn’t even sure what the point of the live-action stuff was, and in the episodes where it actually was clear, it felt completely rushed. Take for example the episode where Vera installed teenage emotions, that could have been executed a lot better, but it felt awkward and rushed. They didn’t use the alotted time they had to its fullest, instead handling the entire plot poorly.

    Remember, teenage drama being used as B-plot for an action-oriented show can work, there have been some live-action shows that pulled it off. I mean, they weren’t great, but at least it wasn’t as poorly done as this show. Like, Big Bad BeetleBorgs did it, and sure, the kids weren’t yet teenagers, but they did handle the kids stuff pretty well, and that was a ’90s show.

    But yeah, my main issue is the acting. I mean, I guess Megabyte is the exception, he’s been so hammed up that it actually works for him, but that’s just how Megabyte was in the original as well. And there’s another character in the last episode where it just worked. But the rest, they just played it so dry, without putting any bit of character in it. It’s mostly noticeable with Trey / DFrag. Whenever he has to sound like he’s putting in power, he just sounds like, should I do a light grunt or a more heavy grunt? Eh, let’s just go with the middle option.

    I really wanted to like the series, and, I am glad I stuck around for the last episode, because it was kinda worth it, but, I honestly wouldn’t have minded if this ReBoot never existed in the first place.

  • March 31, 2018 at 8:00 pm

    Well written, Thank you for letting me know more is planned as i just binged it but havent looked for more info, I am sure now that OG characthers shall make an appearance from now on, First 10 spend on the new once, I agree that the high school pacing made me cringe, especially because it had the dutch dub enabled lol! Furthermore bringing it like a kids show (they should target young adults and adults, Reboot would sell like hotcakes, Hipsters will love this show)

  • April 1, 2018 at 5:56 am

    You compare this series to Power Rangers or VR Troopers…but it’s honestly more like Superhuman Samurai Sybersquad, a similar show to Power Rangers/VR Troopers but not made by Saban where it mixed a high school setting with a Japanese show called Gridman where the heroes entered the computer to fight monsters sent by a hacker and an escaped military computer virus named Kilokhan.

  • April 1, 2018 at 6:11 pm

    Unfortunately your review is biased and it’s unfortunate. The original ReBoot fandom has created a massive bias. You fall into that trap and thus appear irrelevant. It will be nice to get an actual review from a credible source that takes Reboot: The Guardian Code for what it is. A kids show for 8-12 year olds. The fact that thousands of 30+ year old’s take such disdain to decent show is disappointing. I guess living in the basement for 30 years has warped their sense of reality. Time for a “Revenge of the Nerds” reboot to appease you.

    • April 1, 2018 at 9:51 pm

      I agree I’m currently watching this series and I am enjoying it. I didn’t even know it was a reboot of reboot. Since I have never watched that show. I find the show to be a very high tech version of the power rangers and love it. The high school aspect makes it more interesting to the series. You shouldn’t expect amazing acting from new actors and the acting is on level with the acting in the power rangers. Over all I find the series to be enjoyable. I am not biased as to me I’m not comparing this series to its predecessor. This is a totally different show and shouldn’t be compared to the original as this show is not meant to replace the original. This is only based on the original and remade with new ideas and as it’s own show. Over all I would give this show about 4 stars and would love to have a second season of this series. I would hate to not have a second season because of the people who are dispointed with this show because they are thinking and comparing it to it’s predecessor. This is a totally different and show not be compared.

      • April 2, 2018 at 9:31 am

        Why would they give it the ReBoot name then?

    • April 2, 2018 at 6:30 pm

      Ok, “Guardian Boob”, the show on its own merits in comparison to other shows – Sucks. It has to be compared as it is using a successful IPO and the CEO of Rainstorm even said they were hoping to attract the parents. The original did both, eeducate a younger generation while engaging an older one.This one sucks, as you “Boob”

    • April 4, 2018 at 8:10 pm

      Hey Christian? Your cousin’s acting is bland and laughable. Suggesting that everyone’s opinion is moot because it doesn’t align with your biased perspective is weak and pathetic.

    • April 4, 2018 at 9:16 pm

      The fans are mad because they left the show on a cliffhanger, and seem hellbent on never providing a resolution. Instead they attach the ReBoot name to this trash and hope that people will watch. This show could be called anything else, and that wouldn’t change the fact that it is a terrible show with awful story lines and downright bad writing.

    • April 4, 2018 at 9:17 pm

      I’m 32 and take offense to that honestly. I REVIEW animation, tv and films. If it sucks, it sucks. Every series has a few stinker episodes but an entire series? That USUALLY never happens.

      But to reboot a show and make it WORSE not better, that’s just pitiful. ReBoot and Toy Story and 95% of 90’s animation is written better than this peddled garbage and it was written as if for Adults but where a kid could appreciate it.

      That’s part of why 30+ year-old’s take such offense when it’s being pushed as a “kids” show and that’s because we were given better quality toons. Not to mention the obvious dig in episode 10 towards us BEFORE we’d even seen it.

      If I were to judge this honestly, as a show and not a rebooted ReBoot, the writing is bad, dialogue is bad, Animation I give it is good UNLESS you see what they did to the original characters aside from Hex. As a whole there isn’t a lot of competent writing. Most of the concepts present are blatent rip-offs of other shows.

      So for you to belittle the fans of the original who happen to dislike the new show, or non-fans of the old or current show and say that their opinion is wrong and yours is the correct one, that’s a bit of a stretch.

      Double standards don’t look good on you, especially with someone using the name which is going around the internet DOING these same types of response posts. I love the double standard though stating the fans seem to have irrelevant reviews because we’re too “old” and a fan of the older series. Critics ultimately make or break the show as do the fans.

      The fact that Rainmaker AND their PR company have had ZERO contact with fans OR the press, speaks volumes to their thoughts prior to release of this series. Check their social accounts and PR footprints for this show and there are very minimal efforts put forth. Even reaching out to get honest and clear information from the source doesn’t work with them and that’s just sad. I attempted numerous times to get their attention because I wanted to hear their story and be able to deliver good press on their new show. They however chose not to release ANYTHING to ANYONE.

      I have hopes for the 2nd half of the series but the more the production company craps on their fanbase, and review websites, the less people are going to actually WATCH their programs.

    • April 4, 2018 at 10:44 pm

      You certainly get around a lot Guardian Bob. It’s pretty rude to accuse the above reviewers as being biased, and discounting everybody over 30 for having an opinion. How old are you then, if you don’t mind me asking?

      • April 6, 2018 at 10:10 am

        I think Guardian Bob is one of the Rainmaker employees. There’s been a few tgsat have been caught out leaving 10 star reviews on IMDb and other sites.

    • April 8, 2018 at 11:20 am

      Why don’t you leave if you have nothing constructive to say Troll Guardian Bob .

  • April 2, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    My criticism is simpler: I wanted to see a full reboot of the original series set in actual continuity. I actually wouldn’t really have a problem of real life hackers and coders being part of the show if it was executed better, but even then that should be a minor focus especially considering clock speeds. I don’t want a power rangers knock off, I want to see cutting edge CGI of a virtual space with game cubes and, well, everything that made the original series a success. Why did they spit in the collective faces of fans who waited?

  • April 2, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    I am honestly shocked at all the hate I’m seeing for this show. I watched it, and I really enjoyed it. It vaguely reminded me of Code Lyoko. I see people saying this show ripped off Code Lyoko, but there really are only a few similarities between them. Really it’s not even close to a ripoff, because it’s building off of something that already existed even before Code Lyoko. Did it borrow a few ideas from Code Lyoko? Sure. But Digimon and Pokemon borrow ideas off of each other and neither one is a ripoff of the other. They are each their own beasts with completely different concepts. Same here. Code Lyoko was about protecting the real world from a program that used the very same supercomputer that the main characters used to fight that program. This show is about protecting the real world from a virus and a hacker that attack machines and servers through the internet. And really, why hate yourself because you said cyberspace? That word has actually existed LONG before this show was ever made. And technically, everything in the original ReBoot was in cyberspace, they just never called it that because to them, cyberspace is all there is. They didn’t know for sure if there was anything outside of cyberspace, so to them, it was just the world they lived in, “Mainframe”. Just like in the Matrix, the world the people inside the Matrix lived in was just “the world”. And technically, this show isn’t actually a reboot of ReBoot, it’s more of a spin-off or a companion series. Technically, it’s a seauel series since it’s main antagonist is Megabyte, and picks up Megabytes story where the original ReBoot left off. All the hate this show is getting is completely biased, unfair, and unreasonable. Honestly it seems like people are hating it just to have something to hate. How would you feel if a show you liked received so much unreasonable hate, that it ended up getting cancelled? So hating yourself because you used the word cyberspace when that word was NOT invented by this series you seem to hate so much is a really stupid reason to hate yourself. But if you hate yourself for getting a good series cancelled that other people enjoy? That’s a fantastic reason.

    • April 2, 2018 at 3:55 pm

      I know the cyberspace pre-dates the show it’s just not a term I like. It feels very dated, I mean the show uses ‘information superhighway’. It’s like a bingo card of old fashioned tech terms.

      I wanted to like the series but I just thought it was poorly executed. I’ll watch future seasons because I live in the hope that it’ll find its feet and improve.

      • April 2, 2018 at 7:39 pm

        Okay, I’m glad to hear your willing to continue watching it, however, I don’t think that’s a very good reason to hate the word cyberspace. Don’t get me wrong, if you want to hate a certain word, you have a right to, there’s nothing wrong with it. But hating a word because it’s dated doesn’t really make much sense. Especially considering cyberspace is technically a relatively new word if you think about it. It may have been around for a century or so, but so has the word television. And there are MANY words that have been around a lot longer. Personally, I’ve always loved the word cyberspace. It just sounds cool to me. Even the word cyber sounds cool to me. I remember when I heard about the Scooby-Doo Cyber Chase movie, and I thought it sounded like an awesome title, even though I wasn’t really all that interested in Scooby-Doo anymore. Granted I’m still willing to watch it every now and then. In fact, the reason I used Scooby-Doo as an example is because of the recent episode of Supernatural in which Sam and Dean get sucked into the Scooby-Doo cartoon. One of my new favorite episodes. But if you want to hate the word cyberspace, that’s your perogative. Just don’t judge an entire series on that, since technically, the original ReBoot took place in Cyberspace and you seem to like that series. They may not have used the word, but that’s because they didn’t know the difference between reality and cyberspace. Again, I’m glad you’re at least gonna keep giving the show a chance. I’ve watched too many shows I fell in love with, only for them to be cancelled prematurely due to low ratings.

    • April 2, 2018 at 6:38 pm

      It is not supposed to be like any Japanese show!!! It represented the cutting edge in CGI. Everyone who likes it, says the same .- it reminds them of those crap shows to which there tons! Do you see!? This show was a CGI show that did not need to copy other shows, it was its own genre – not reboot PR

      • April 12, 2018 at 7:05 am

        You DO realise that Rainmaker, the company that made the original ReBoot series is a CANADIAN company, right? ReBoot was never a ‘Japanese show’.

  • April 2, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    Honestly I really enjoyed the Original ReBoot series to be honest I never heard of it until 4 years ago when I friend told me about it and I sat down and binge watched all of it and damn I was impressed with more then half of the stuff they did in a 1994 Tv series that was fully CGI and I respected it. Now taking a new look at this reboot of ReBoot I’ve come to enjoy the moments of nostalgia and classic humor of today and yesterday (Yesterday being 1994) and honestly I’m extremely happy with what they have done, do I want a continuation of the original series to see an actual ending…hell yea but you know seeing this reboot makes me think a bit more, and bare with me here….what if once kids see this series or young adults who love this kind of stuff see this and watch it to episode 10 and see the original Guardians and them think to themselves “Wait there was a show before this?”. This being the perfect time to open a browser and search up ReBoot (The original series) and just kick back and watch that to understand the whole story…I mean maybe that’s not what they were going for but hell it would be cool to see kids what to get into the stuff we use to as kids don’t you think? Back on Topic, I love this reboot of ReBoot even if it wasn’t non-canon but seeing that they did film 20 episodes (you can find this on the IMDB page next to every actors name of how many episodes they were part of.) I feel like there will be more of Bob and the gang helping the new guardians with their mission to defeat Megabyte and Hexabyte, then help Austin figure out the mystery of his father cause come on we all know he’s not dead, that would be way to easy for the developers. I think his father is still alive and is the key to finishing this battle that Bob and the Gang from the Mainframe never finished and that they could do a fantastic set up for the perfect ending to ReBoot and ReBoot: The Guardian Code.

  • April 3, 2018 at 3:39 am

    This show had some real potential, then promptly threw it all away. The first ten episodes got progressively stupider until in episode nine they used a weather satellite to drive a storm. Where do we even begin to explain how stupid that is? As Morbo from Futurama would say “Windmills do not work that way!”

  • April 3, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    My biggest issues are when Bob and Megabyte were introduced they used updated versions of their respective original character models instead of the models seen at the end of My Two Bobs. Megabyte is obvious, but Bob, at the end has an upgraded Glitch. My other issue, besides Enzo and Dot looking really bad, is where in the hell did Hexadecimal come from. Her code was completely fragmented at the end of Daemon Rising. Those are the three things I saw that must be explained, even if it’s a completely bullshit explanation.

    • April 4, 2018 at 9:24 pm

      That’s part of where the fans are having the initial issue.

  • April 5, 2018 at 4:17 am

    Im not even going to say what i think. Watch it for yourself, make your own opinion. Its laughable that the CEO of Rainmaker and his lackeys need to post fraudulent reviews and attack people who don’t agree with them.

  • April 8, 2018 at 2:59 am

    Why would you remake VR Troopers and call it ReBoot?

  • April 16, 2018 at 7:28 pm

    I watched the original reboot back in the 90’s. Didn’t like it at first but it grew on me. That was so long ago that it didn’t even click with me that this show was linked to it until Megabyte started to ring a bell. That being said, even before things ‘clicked’ I saw this show for what it was; a cheesy teen show with a cool premise. I was drawn in by the ‘kids in a computer’ theme. So far that part of it is ok. The Sourceror is as lame as it gets. The ‘in the computer’ part has a nice Tron vibe.

  • June 12, 2018 at 6:52 am

    HEY, TO ALL OF YOU A%&HOLES WHO DON’T LIKE ReBoot: The Guardian Code!!
    I loved the original ReBoot in the 90’s. It was the one reason to come home from school.

    ReBoot: The Guardian Code may not be perfect but I think it’s a GOOD TRY!!

    Sure, it may seem like Power Rangers but it’s a GOOD TRY!!

    Some things don’t make sense like how did Hexadecimal return after her code was completely fragmented and ho Megabyte “de-grading” back to his original look before is was pulled into the WEB, but WHO CARES AT THE MOMENT!?!
    It’s the FIRST BLOODY SEASON!! After only 10 episodes you think that ALL EXPLANATIONS are going to be revealed ALREADY?? Have some patience!!

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