Since the alphabet is the building block of our language, the Powet Alphabet is the building block of what makes us geeks.

Anyone who grew up in the ’90s should remember ReBoot on ABC. As a budding computer geek, I was fascinated by this show — not only because of its endless barrage of computer in-jokes and references, but because it was the first 3D-animated cartoon ever. This barely compares to what a teenager can do these days with off-the-shelf software, but in 1994 it was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen.

Most people don’t even know that the show survived its cancellation to have an amazing third season, and somewhat middling TV movies. What? You’re one of them? Then read more after the jump! (Or watch the video above!)

The Show


ReBoot follows the heroic exploits of Bob, a fresh new Guardian trained in the posh, upscale Supercomputer. Bob arrives in the “small town” of Mainframe as its new (and sole) law enforcement to serve and protect the system against the dreaded virus Megabyte and the various Games that invade Mainframe (nearly) every episode. Principal inhabitants of Mainframe include: Dot Matrix, the owner of the local diner (and many other businesses, as we later discover); her little brother Enzo and his dog Frisket; Phong, the system’s, and the various other mainframe inhabitants.

Binomes The system is largely populated by Binomes, “people” who look like three-dimensional zeroes and ones. Bob, Dot, and Enzo are sprites, which look humanoid, but they are apparently the only three in all of Mainframe. Whenever a game lands in the city, the Binomes it traps inside become game enemies for The User to fight. Losing the game will “nullify” any Binome or Sprite caught inside; it’s Bob’s job to race into danger every week and save Mainframe’s inhabitants by literally defeating The User at his/her own game. If you’ve ever wondered if your computer is conspiring against you to make you lose, well, now you know why!

Megabyte Megabyte inhabits an infected sector of Mainframe; the Binomes there are under his thrall, though he has Hack and Slash to do his real dirty work — not that they’re very good at it. Also, on the outskirts of Mainframe, is another virus Hexadecimal (and, as we learn later in the show, Megabyte’s sister). With her dog Scuzzy as her only companion, she’ll turn on Megabyte just as soon as she’d terrorize the populace of Mainframe.

In addition to the many computer in-jokes on a true geek could love, there were plenty of (also geek-centric) pop-culture references — mostly in the form of Binomes styled after famous actors and popular characters.


ReBoot was conceived by Canada-based Mainframe Entertainment’s Gavin Blair and Ian Pearson as the company’s first television offering. The series lasted for two seasons in the US on ABC from 1994-1996, ending with an amazing cliffhanger where Megabyte betrays Bob in their fight against an outside incursion and banishes him to the depths of the dangerous and feral place known as the World Wide Web. Fortunately, Bob left Enzo in charge as a Guardian-in-training (along withdamaged keytool Glitch — no pun intended) to defend the system against Megabyte. Wait, did I say “fortunately”??

Cartoon Network

ReBoot Season 3

US audiences would not know the fate of the system known as Mainframe until 1999, when the third season of ReBoot made its triumphant return to US television on Cartoon Network. In the interim, Mainframe Entertainment had been working on three seasons of Beast Wars, but it was clear they cut their technological (and storytelling) teeth on ReBoot first, improving all their subsequent offerings. Except maybe Beast Machines.

Unburdened by Broadcast Standards and Practices (which became the butt of many jokes on the show), ReBoot came back darker (Literally — the renders finally included shadows and gradient light texturing), and Dot’s bust returned much curvier. But the story was also taking a much more fatalistic tone. For four episodes, Enzo tries his best with his game sprite AI girlfriend AndrAIa (whom he had rescued/copied) from a game in Season 2) to fill Bob’s shoes. But his eagerness eventually outstrips his abilities, and Enzo is about to lose a game, and an eye, against The User. AndrAIa converts them both to Game Sprite mode so that they won’t be nullified when the user wins. The downside is that they are not stuck with the game and will leave Mainframe, possibly forever.

After that episode, ReBoot becomes almost an entirely different show. At the time of the internet boom, it manages to still remain relevant and entertaining with the fast-evolving technologies of the ’90s. By the end of the third season (available on DVD!), the show had reached its apex.

The movies

Bob and Bob

Despite the technical proficiency and fan acclaim, ReBoot would never be quite the same. This was due in part to a changeover in Mainframe leadership. I don’t want to say this had much to do with the awful reception of the Beast Machines show, but…

Gavin Blair and Ian Pearson had already left or were on their way out, but Mainframe was intent on making a fourth season of ReBoot. Instead, they produced two four-episode arcs that were aired on Cartoon Network: Daemon Rising dealt with cleaning up the loose ends left after season 3 ended; My Two Bobs directly referenced the changeover in Bob’s voice actor during Season 3 from Michael Banyaer to Ian Corlett (also known as Cheetor in Beast Wars/Machines), and was a much more entertaining, lighthearted romp indicative of the show’s spirit before the much darker Season 3 and Daemon Rising. We also learn the answers to a few mysteries, such as why there are so few sprites in Mainframe, and why there are SO MANY nulls running around…

Rumors spread (mostly from the creators’ mouths) about rounding off the season with a multi-part musical “movie”, but nothing ever materialized. After the departure of the Mainframe founders, the shows fate was all but sealed.



Mostly. Kind of. Almost.

In 2007, an outfit known as Rainmaker Animation announced plans on the website to relaunch the series — a Re-Reboot? — with comics and a new movie series.


It’s been really unclear since then what has been happeing. The webcomic is out and available now. The production of the first of the three proposed films has been a harrowing mess, but is currently slated for a 2010 release.

Who is Rainmaker Animation? It’s Mainframe Entertainment! Or rather, what’s left of it. Mainframe was acquired by the Rainmaker Income Fund and renamed in 2006. It’s quite clear it was done specifically with the intent of revitalizing the ReBoot franchise, but so far this fan hasn’t been particularly engaged with the process.

Even though it’s called “the official fan site”, is actually run by Rainmaker Animation, almost shamelessly using the fan community to fill its own gaps in knowledge and talent. I know it seems like they’re trying to incorporate our passion for this show into a new romp that we can all enjoy, but if their first robust offering isn’t going to be until four years after they first aqcuired the parent studio, I have to have my doubts. It sounds like Daemon Rising all over again.

Rainmaker released a teaser trailer for the movie on its website: watch it here, and see for yourself.

Don’t let me get you down. What are your thoughts? Leave them below!

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