The main reason why reboots occasionally suck? Because they lack that elusive sprinkle of magic that made them so great in the first place. So it's reassuring to hear that Magic School Bus 360°, the Magic School Bus reboot, will feature original stars from the show. The Netflix project was first announced way back in 2014, and things had been pretty quiet for a while. But when producer Stu Stone (who voiced Ralphie Tennelli on the mid '90s animated series) opened up about the reboot, his words got us totally overexcited again:
It's a very top secret field trip that Miss Frizzle is taking the kids on. I'm a little bit old to be in the fifth grade, so I'm not here to say that I'm officially in Miss Frizzle's class, but I will say that I went to the classroom and I saw some of my old classmates there. I also ran into some new kids — there's a lot of new kids and generations on the show. Just like the original series when Miss Frizzle has friends, they were usually voiced by celebrities. There are tons of cameos, I know that there are big stars that want to be involved in this.
So what does this mean?
"I'm a little old to be in fifth grade" sounds telling. We already knew, thanks to the original announcement, that the content of the show was going to be adapted to reflect contemporary times. Netflix's chief content officer told the New York Times that it would be "even more relevant and entertaining for today’s kids", and the paper stated that the show would use computer generated animation. We also knew there'd be a high-tech bus, and that the series would explore modern technology like wearables, robotics, and camera technology.
But Stone's comment could imply that the show will be taking the route of recasting many of the original actors in the-same-but-older roles. "...there's a lot of new kids and generations on the show" might imply that Ms. Frizzle's students would be played by new, younger voice actors, while Stone seeing "some of my old classmates" in the classroom could suggest the original actors took on roles as the same characters, who, since they're older, are now teachers and parents.
Most importantly, will the charismatic voice of The Friz be back? Lily Tomlin, who played Ms. Frizzle, presumably already enjoys a good relationship with Netflix. After all, she plays one of the leads on Netflix's Grace and Frankie. She also won an Outstanding Performance in an Animated Series Daytime Emmy in 1995 and was nominated for the Outstanding Performance in an Animated Series Daytime Emmy three other years for playing the inspired teacher. Given the positive associations and the fact that Netflix might call in a favor, I wouldn't be surprised if she was back. Still, as of yet, there's no sign of the project in Tomlin's IMDB.
Since Stone hasn't cited any specific names, I guess we'll have to wait and see on the others. Fingers crossed that we hear more soon; no set release date has been published yet.