The Magic School Bus Rides Again
The Magic School Bus Rides Again is a Canadian-American animated children's series, based on the book series of the same name by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen. It also serves as a continuation of the 1994–97 PBS Kids series The Magic School Bus, with Lily Tomlin reprising her role as Ms. Frizzle. The show premiered on Netflix on September 29, 2017. The second season premiered on April 13, 2018. After season 2, the series went on hiatus. In 2020, three 45-minute specials, "Kids in Space", "The Frizz Connection", and "In the Zone", were released. They were dedicated to Joanna Cole, the author of the original books, who passed away that year.
The series made its linear debut on Qubo on November 1, 2020, and aired until the channel was shut down on February 28, 2021.
In a sequel to the original series, Valerie Frizzle retires from teaching and passes the keys of the Magic School Bus over to her younger sister, Fiona Frizzle, to embark on new adventures with her class. As they journey on their exciting new field trips, they discover new locations, creatures, time periods and more to learn about the wonders of science, educating young viewers along the way.
Why It's A Bad Field Trip
- Ms. Frizzle isn't in the series that much anymore. She's been replaced by her sister, Fiona; while the idea of a legacy character is not a bad idea, the problem is that Fiona is a poor substitute of the original character.
- Abysmal and awful writing.
- The flash animation is limited, simplistically awful and dreadful. Occasionally, some animation frames are missing. Making it even worse is that the original press release said the series would be animated in CGI. The character movements look incredibly stilted and unnatural and none of the characters show any sort of body language whatsoever.
- Tries way too hard to be hip and cool towards kids. One episode, "Space Mission: Selfie", is centered around selfies, hence its title.
- Unnecessary removal of characters like Phoebe, who was one of the main characters in the original show.
- Speaking of which, Phoebe has been replaced by a new character named Jyoti, who is a "perfect" character with little to no flaws and little personality to speak of.
- And it isn't just Jyoti who's a bland Mary Sue. As almost all of the original students have been Flanderized to the point where they all feel like the same character with different designs. As they have none of the original personalities and individual strengths/weaknesses that they had in the original series, they are all now boring and forgettable.
- The character designs are cheap, plain, bland, and lazy. All the kids have the same faces and torsos as each other and the characters look nothing like they did in the original show, especially Arnold and Tim.
- Some of the subjects in this show are very questionable for an educational show. For example, there is an entire episode centered around feces. We kid you not. It's called "Waste Not, Want Not". Same goes for the original series episode "Brooklyn!" where Arnold gets shot while wearing a bulletproof vest.
- Speaking of the "Waste Not, Want Not" episode, it spends a majority of its runtime smushing the "poop is great" message into the audience's face by acknowledging how it serves as a fertilizer and has beneficial bacteria. But it doesn't mention that it also contains a much larger amount of harmful bacteria as well (aka, the main reason why people throw away their feces in the first place) until the end. Which can actually give its young audience the wrong message about feces that it's actually great when it isn't due to the number of malevolent germs it contains. Not to mention how it's also a musical episode with 99% of its song revolving around, you guessed it, poop.
- The voice acting can be very bland at times, particularly in the beginning of the opening theme where Arnold's voice actor delivers the famous line, "Please let this be a normal field trip!" rather dully.
- Some of the concepts can be good, but they get wasted due to poor writing.
- The voice acting is usually good, with some of the characters still retaining their roles. Even Amos Crawley (who voiced Arnold in Season 1) and Stuart Stone (who voiced Ralphie), both from the original 1994 series, return as other characters. There are also other well-known names such as Kate McKinnon and Will Arnett in the cast.
- It retains the theme song from the original series (and a nicely redone version sung by Lin-Manuel Miranda), as well as the opening being an homage to the original series; it is commonly speculated that the series had to use Flash instead of CGI due to the budget being blown on getting Miranda to sing the theme song, though there is no proof to back this up.
- The adventures they go on are somewhat enjoyable.
- Despite the fact that they look completely different, none of the returning characters have been Flanderized and are still likable.
- Despite the removal of Phoebe, there is a valid explanation as to why she is absent from the series. The reason is that Phoebe went back to her old school, which is why she is replaced by Jyoti. But at the same time, this reason is poor as Phoebe was happy in Miss Frizzle's class.
- The show's three specials, "Kids in Space", "The Frizz Connection", and "In the Zone" are improvements over the show with decent and better-looking animation (although the character designs from the show still remain). They also paid tribute to Joanna Cole, the author of the original books, who died in 2020.
The Magic School Bus Rides Again has a 6.2/10 on IMDb. Despite the mixed ratings, The Magic School Bus Rides Again was critically panned by fans of the original for its animation, stories, writing, characters, unnecessary removal of characters from the original show (most notably Phoebe), and the dumbing-down of the Magic School Bus. PhantomStrider ranked this #1 on his "Top 6 Worst Netflix Originals" video. He described it as a "war crime".
- This was the only Netflix show to air on Qubo before the channel ceased broadcasting on February 28, 2021.