The Magic School Bus

Scholastic Entertainment

Magic School Bus, the old version, is remarkably popular on Netflix. It teaches science in a way that transcends generations.”

Very true, Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix. Magic School Bus does transcend generations — it taught my generation all about human innards, ecosystems and the benefits of dangerous, unplanned field trips. It’s why the show continues to be re-run on TV for today’s youth, and why those same re-runs are also extremely popular Netflix streamables.

And it’s for these same reasons that Magic School Bus will be rebooted. To better appeal to…today’s youth. Doesn’t make much sense, but it might if Ms. Frizzle explained it to us.

Per The New York Times, Netflix and Scholastic Media have come together to create The Magic School Bus 360°, a new update on the classic wacky science program. Netflix has ordered a single season of twenty-six half-hour episodes, and will hold exclusive streaming rights from now until the eventual destruction of mankind. Magic School Bus 360° will premiere in 2016, although curiously enough, the Times uses the phrase “will start appearing in 2016.” A hint at a non-bingewatchable release, or just a curious turn of phrase? Once again, we should wait to form our own opinions until someone can ask Ms. Frizzle.

This will definitely be a newer, fresher reboot, as Frizzle will be “modernized,” the bus will be “updated” and the tools used by the students will be “newer.” Also, it’ll be animated with CGI, because this is a Magic School Bus for a new generation, and our newest generation has no idea that people used to make cartoons entirely by hand. There’s a piece of concept art over at the Times’ article, so we have at least an inkling of what 2016 has in store for The Frizz .

Also, another Netflix exec name-drops Carlos, so he’s probably survived the purge of modernization. Hopefully, Arnold pulls through, too (I love that goofy little bastard).

What should be obvious to everyone involved is that we don’t need another Magic School Bus. We still have the old one, and it runs just fine, even if it’s a little dated and the paint has begun to peel. If Magic School Bus was hopelessly obsolete, today’s kids (and twenty-somethings craving a good nostalgia high) wouldn’t be tearing through those old episodes many times over. But Netflix has already absorbed all of Scholastic’s old hits (Magic School Bus, Clifford, Goosebumps) into its fleshy streaming hive-mind, and the only way to get more sustenance is to make new hits for immediate absorption.

What should also be obvious to everyone is that we do need another Magic School Bus. Science has a way of updating itself every few years, and a near twenty-year old TV series has few ways of doing the same. The books continue to churn out every few years, but the original kids show stopped dead in 1997. If The Frizz wants to teach today’s youth about nanobots or Neil deGrasse Tyson (without resorting to actual reading – blecch), she’ll need a new series to do so.

Whether the children of 2016 really need a new CGI Carlos is debatable, but they’re getting him nonetheless. And besides, the only thing that really matters is if Netflix can get Lily Tomlin back. If they can, we’ll welcome the new Magic School Bus with open arms. If they can’t, we’ll burn the new Magic School Bus to the ground and spit on the ashes.


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