The Magic School Bus, based on the children’s book series of the same name by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen, was one of PBS’s most popular shows during the 1990s, when it aired for four seasons – and now, not so long after the news that fellow old-school PBS program Reading Rainbow is being revitalized in a new form (to serve as educational entertainment for youngsters in the modern age), comes the announcement that Netflix is developing a reboot series titled Magic School Bus 360 degrees.
Netflix has continued to maintain its position as the top dog of the streaming entertainment marketplace – not just by expanding its reach in order to become a source for critically-acclaimed original content (see: House of Cards, Orange is the New Black), but also by re-investing in properties that have a built-in fanbase (Arrested Development, Star Wars: Clone Wars). Which is to say, rebooting something along the lines of Magic School Bus reads as being a fairly logical extension of the company’s formula for success, all things considered.
The ’90s Magic School Bus show, along with other Scholastic Media TV programs such as the animated Clifford the Big Red Dog and the ’90s live-action Goosebumps series, is a popular item of choice for watching by Netflix customers (as far as kids-oriented entertainment is concerned, anyway), according to the company’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos – all the more reason for Netflix to give the program a second chance at life, from a business perspective.
Likewise, from a more creative-minded point of view, this development – confirmed via a joint press release issued by Netflix and Scholastic Media – comes as great news; the more children’s entertainment that is geared towards making learning fun for the current generation of young ones, the better, right?
Magic School Bus, for those unaware, revolves around the eccentric Ms. Frizzle (voiced by the great Lily Tomlin in the ’90s series), an elementary school teacher who, via her “inventive high-tech bus”, would take her class on field trips to such exotic locations as outer space, inside the human body, and various other locations around (and, in some cases, beyond) the Earth, in the pursuit of knowledge. As you’d expect, Netflix’s 360 degrees reboot will account for the advancements and gains in our collective scientific knowledge/technology over the past 15-20 years.
For more on that, here is a relevant excerpt from the official press release:
The series also features the latest tech innovations such as robotics, wearables and camera technology to captivate children’s imaginations and motivate their interest in the sciences. The all-new episodes also leverage advancements in animation, science and technology in a way that will delight a new generation of young viewers, and like its predecessor, will help kids around the world discover the magic and value of exploration and innovation.
Deborah Forte, producer on the original Magic School Bus series and upcoming Scholastic movie adaptations like the Jack Black Goosebumps film, will be working alongside “Scholastic Media’s Emmy Award-winning creative team” on the 360 degrees reboot, which shall be computer-animated (per the norm nowadays) and will launch with 26 episodes in 2016. Fingers crossed, the attempt to endear a new generation to the wonders of scientific learning – by making the jump to a contemporary platform for its presentation – will prove to be successful.
The Magic School Bus 360 degrees will be made available for viewing on Netflix in 2016.
Source: Netflix/Scholastic Media