The Guardians are back defending cyberspace in the second season of Reboot: The Guardian Code. This season we follow the four Guardians on their battle to save the internet and stop the Sourcerer once and for all.
“Great, they’re back.” I’m sure somebody out there must have said that about the return of Reboot: The Guardian Code, the Netflix Original series, but I certainly didn’t. When I was told that the new season was imminent and asked if I’d like to review it as I reviewed the last one, I… audibly groaned at the chance. It’s no real secret that I didn’t like the Reboot reboot, but you never know. Maybe this time it’ll be different.
I went into Reboot: The Guardian Code Season 2 with as much of an open mind as I could muster though. I wanted to view this as it’s own entity, and not judge it based on its past sins.
The season picks up where we left off last time following the exploits of four highly irritating teens as they download themselves onto the internet to act as Guardians. They basically get turned into cheap, low-quality CGI in order to fight malware on the internet, which fortunately is also constructed of cheap, low-quality CGI. Each episode sees the arch-villain of the piece, ‘The Sourcerer’, coming up with a terrible scheme based on some buzzword-gibberish; the teens go and blast some CGI nonsense and then we cut to The Sourcerer in his hoodie in a warehouse shouting “Nooooooooo”. At this point, I would also like to mention that I think The Sourcerer might be the worst name for a villain, or indeed any character, that I have ever heard in my entire life.
It’s nice to see that the creators haven’t messed with a winning formula.
I really didn’t like it any better this time around. It made me want to install some “dark code” in my brain and slowly have any memory of the show sucked into a cyber black hole, which incidentally is an actual thing in the series.
Reboot: The Guardian Code Season 2 bears very little resemblance to the original series, apart from some stylistic similarities and a few shared characters. It feels like this is a show designed to trade on the nostalgia of the original; why else would you use the name? This could have very easily been a brand new series, and I don’t really understand why it has to tie to an existing property. The most familiar aspect is probably that the graphics aren’t really any better than they were in the 90s original. But that’s not a reason for me to not like the series, I am quite happy to judge it on its own merits – the only problem is that it doesn’t really have any.
The real-world antics of the teenage protagonists is mind-numbing. It’s a series of poorly executed high school cliches with pining teens, simple misunderstandings and a terrible love triangle. They’re not given much to work with in the way of a script or story, but the stars don’t exactly bring it all to life. I just don’t really understand what the series wants to be – it certainly doesn’t aspire to be good and it’s not particularly funny, it’s not that exciting and it’s not clever.
Reboot: The Guardian Code Season 2 is a series of dumb scenarios that end up being resolved with one of the characters using a new coloured ball or something equally uninspired. The whole mess is usually wrapped up in some pseudo-cyber nonsense about “data code” or data but it’s all just gibberish. Computers and the internet are things that actually exist in reality and the way they work is pretty well understood – there’s no reason that a series like this can’t at least use words that actually mean something rather than just stringing nouns together.
The plots of the individual episodes (and the whole season) are criminally stupid and would be offensively dumb to most kids choosing to watch this. For example, there’s a botnet deployed in one episode that is made up of zombie bots. Because they’re zombie bots the solution is to chop their heads off. I know this because one of the characters says, “they’re zombie bots, they probably have the same weakness as real zombies, chop off their heads,” and that’s it, there’s your solution. No thought, no working it out, just “this will probably work… oh brilliant, it did”.
Reboot: The Guardian Code Season 2 is every bit as bad as the first. There are far better series out there for kids. This is like the original Power Rangers but with lower production values, worse scripts and less convincing acting.
Oli has been writing for Ready Steady Cut since November 2017. He has a PhD in Computer Science and he writes articles about TV, film and, very occasionally, science.