Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

The Magic School Bus Rides Again and It’s a Mixed Bag

Photo+courtesy+of+Netflix%27s+YouTube+channel.+
Photo courtesy of Netflix's YouTube channel.

Photo courtesy of Netflix's YouTube channel.

Photo courtesy of Netflix's YouTube channel.

Danielle Anzures, A&E Editor

When watching a piece of media that’s been remade for a newer audience, it’s always important to go in with a fresh mindset. With that being said, Netflix’s The Magic School Bus Rides Again premiered September 29 and it’s rollercoaster of emotions for its viewers, especially for those who grew up with the original PBS 90s show.

The start of the 13 episode season opens with the class and the audience being introduced to Ms.Fiona Felicity Frizzle, voiced by Kate McKinnon, who is Ms.Valerie Frizzle’s little sister and replacement. Along with Fiona comes new student, Jyoti, who seem to replace Phoebe from the original, of course not all the students are happy with the change which leads to the plot of the first episode.

Overall the show is decent, the main issue with it is the animation. Now it’s worth noting that the original was a fairly popular show when it came out so it had the budget to do more, but it doesn’t excuse the poor quality of it. There are times where the animation looks fine and there are times where it just looks choppy. There are moments of hard work and the backgrounds are really the saving grace of the otherwise lackluster style, which is a bit surprising when looking at Netflix’s other animated shows.

As for the voice acting it’s fine with most of the kids just sounding like kids, there is really nothing special aside for McKinnon who gives the most charm to her character and is an interesting contrast to the original Ms. Frizzle.

The theme song also has been updated with Broadway star Lin-Manuel Miranda and it is just as good as the original and is arguably one of the show’s best attributes.

Along with the theme song, the setting has been updated to match a more modern style, not only do the characters’ 90s garb get a modern spin, but the school is given new gadgets that fit the classrooms of this new decade. This is a bit strange and does bring up questions about why the creators didn’t just create new students for the show, especially since this is meant for children of this generation.

Regardless the show does use the students from the original, who currently seem to be based more on character traits, but this is a children program which the main objective is to teach kids science at a level they can understand while still making it fun and engaging. And for the most part, it does that.

So far none of the lessons from the new series appear to be replicas of the original, they are instead new which does follow similar beats of the original. At the end of each episode, they even bring back the end segment where any scientific mistakes are cleared up during a phone call and it’s nice that they gave that part to Ms. Frizzle.

If you’re looking for a shock of nostalgia maybe stay away from this series and just watch the original that’s also on Netflix. If you’re thinking of letting your children or younger siblings watch it let them give it a watch make the decision for themselves.

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The Magic School Bus Rides Again and It’s a Mixed Bag