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Fatal Disc Error: "ReBoot" Boots Up a Bumpy Season 4

by on May 3, 2004

ReBoot has had a troubled past. It enjoyed good ratings on ABC before being canned by Disney. The third season wasn’t even shown in the US until Toonami accquired it. After getting monster ratings on that block and on Canada’s YTV, a fourth season was produced. It currently looks like we won’t be gettiing a fifth season, but you can buy the fourth season on DVD courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment.

ReBoot cover artThe series centers on the adventures of a group of sprites that live in the city of Mainframe, which is inside a computer in Vancouver. Bob is a Guardian, a group whose motto is “to mend and defend,” except that in “Daemon’s Rising,” one of the two story arcs in season 4, he has to defend Mainframe when his fellow Guardians become infected by a super virus named Daemon. That plot is then continued in “My Two Bobs,” in which a new Bob shows up, causing confusion as to which one is real and which is fake. To make matters worse, an old enemy returns with some new powers to cause even more trouble.

For the most part, season 4 is a pleasant ride. Cartoon Network broke the show up into separate episodes, but this disc puts them together into two feature-length stories. Unfortunately, producer Mainframe had only eight episodes to play with instead of thirteen, so in places it feels rushed and cobbled together. Llong-time fans might also be troubled by some gigantic logic holes, and they will also be infuriated by its cliffhanger ending, a tease for a fifth season that has yet to materialize. But the DVD release also gives us the story in widescreen (Rejoice! No foolscreen for ReBoot!) with a decent transfer that suffers only from slight pixelation and blurriness.

Sound-wise, though, we have a problem: For some reason the voices are much deeper than they were on the TV broadcasts, so deep that Dot sounds male and Mouse’s accent sounds even more fake–and (whether this is a blessing or not), the unnaturally deep voices are rendered by a crystal clear audio track. On the upside, of course, excellent audio presentation is a good in and of itself, and it enhances the sound effects and music. And those with Dolby Surround 5.1 will be pleased to note that the DVD supports that sound system.

Another major problem: The disc is a flipper. I mean, my God, even Warner Bros., though addicted to snapper cases, has had the decency to move to multi-disc sets instead. I don’t care if they are cheaper: it’s just too easy to damage a flipper (especially when you don’t know what you’re doing) or to put it in wrong-side up. Extras are virtually non-existent as well, with the disc offering character bios and nothing more.

Recommendation? With seasons 1 and 2 not slated for an early release, with season 3 out of print, and with season 5 not even a gleam in the producer’s eye, this is the only ReBoot disc you’re going to get any time soon. It’s the franchise family’s ugly sister. Pick her up at your own risk.

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