Frequently Asked Questions, 1996, English
This is the FAQ in English for 1996. See also
Table of Contents
In Canada, both YTV and Showcase are showing reruns of the first and second
seasons. Only YTV has the rights to show Season III in Canada.
ReBoot Season III started August 1997 in Canada and July 1997 in the UK.
It probably won't show up in the United States until September 1998.
As of December 1997, no US network has committed to carrying ReBoot Season III.
ReBoot is more than a cartoon show, it is more than computer animation.
ReBoot is the first television series that is 100% CGI (Computer Generated
Imagery. It is created in Vancouver, Canada, by Mainframe Entertainment
Inc, also known as BLT Productions.
ReBoot started in September if 1994. Its second year was the
1995-1996 season and ended on a cliff-hanger finale. The 1996-1997 television
season consisted of reruns from the first two years. Season III will have
16 new stories for the 1997-1998 TV season.
In Canada, ReBoot is shown three times a week on YTV (a cable network
roughly equivalent to Nickelodeon). It is distributed internationally by
Alliance. In the US, ABC carried the first two seasons of ReBoot as part
of its Saturday Morning line-up. The third season of ReBoot (1996-1997) will
carried by various independent TV stations in the US.
The first and second seasons combined are 23 episodes. They were divied up
as 13 + 10 in the Canadian market, and 10 + 13 in the United States.
Production for the third season starts in late in 1996, for episodes to be
shown in the second half of 1997.
As of March 1996, four episodes are available from Polygram Home Video in
North America (NTSC format).
These videos have been spotted in almost all the larger video stores.
Suncoast Video, Tower Video, Sam Goody's, Target, Hollywood Video, etc.
- Medusa Bug, Polygram Video "800 635 885-3"
- Wizards, Warriors, and a Word From Our Sponsor,
Polygram Video "800 635 883-3"
- The Great Brain Robbery, Polygram Video "800 636 869-3"
- Talent Night, Polygram Video "800 636 871-3"
Check the Children's section, Cartoons section, or Japanimation section.
All four videos were available by mail order from American
CyberSuperStores, but not anymore.
A different set of episodes is available in the UK (PAL format) with
two stories per tape.
For many viewers in the UK, the first episode they saw was "Web World Wars".
This is most unfortunate, since that story is the season finale with the
cliff-hanger ending. We won't know what happens to Bob until sometime in
the third season, which starts in third quarter 1997.
- Volume 1: The Tearing / Racing the Clock - Polygram Video 6346263
- Volume 2: The Quick and the Fed / Medusa Bug - Polygram Video 6346283
This document of Frequently Asked Questions is stored in two forms:
Most of the character names and place names are puns based on computer jargon.
The Glossary at the Unofficial ReBoot Home Page has both the straight
definitions and the funny definitions, with ReBoot's usage marked with
01 "The Tearing"
02 "Racing the Clock"
03 "Quick and the Fed"
04 "Medusa Bug"
05 "The TIFF"
06 "In the Belly of the Beast"
07 "The Crimson Binome"
08 "Enzo the Smart"
09 "Wizards, Warriors, and a Word from our Sponsor"
10 "The Great Brain Robbery"
11 "Talent Night"
12 "Identity Crisis, part 1"
13 "Identity Crisis, part 2"
15 "High Code"
16 "When Games Collide"
17 "Bad Bob"
18 "Painted Windows"
22 "Trust No One"
23 "Web World Wars"
ReBoot is discussed in several USENET newsgroups:
rec.arts.animation, comp.graphics.animation and alt.cartoon.reboot.
They use Silicon Graphics workstations:
Much of the visual design of the show was done by Brendan
McCarthy. Brendan is a well-known comic book artist who has a
very...uh, fertile...imagination. For a sample of his work, check out
the Brendan McCarthy's Z-Men mentioned
on the Production page at www.inwap.com/mf/reboot/.
The process of writing a script takes about four weeks. (All of next seaon's
episodes have already been written.)
It takes six weeks to produce an episode. They have
several stories being produced in parallel, each with a different director
overseeing 8 to 11 animators. The programming group is 11 people, and there
are 100 people doing design, modeling, and animation.
Disney has an excerpt of computer history on their "Toy Story" site.
Some ReBoot stories make references to John Lasseter, Toy Story's producer.
His entry in computer history is in
- Hardware: assorted workstations: Indys, Indigo2s, Onyxes.
- CPU: 150MHz MIPS R4400
- RAM: 64-128 MB (varies from machine to machine)
- Software: SoftImage3D V2.66, and some custom in-house stuff called GRIN.
- Disk-storage: Auspex NetServer-7000/650, several hundred gigabytes.
- Bob is a Guardian. He was modeming along the Net one day, stopped off
at a small personal computer called Mainframe, and decided to stay.
- Dot Matrix owns Dot's Diner. She is a shrewd businesswoman with
connections to almost everything that goes on in Mainframe.
- Enzo Matrix is Dot's little brother.
- Phong lives in the Principal Office, the dome at the center of
Mainframe. He is an "ancient one", a wise man everyone goes to for help.
- Megabyte is a virus that has taken over Sector G Prime. He has an
army of evil forces and is always trying to get to the Supercomputer
- Hexadecimal is a chaotic virus. Her unpredictable antics cause
headaches for our heroes.
Other inhabitants of Mainframe - most of these don't have any lines of dialog.
- Mike the TV is an announcer TV who won't shut up.
- Frisket is the powerful dog often seen with Enzo.
- Cecil is the maitre'd at Dot's Diner.
- Hack and Slash are a matched pair of bumbling security guards.
Hack is red and Slash is blue.
- AndrAIa is a game sprite that escaped from the game. She is the only
person that is Enzo's age in Mainframe.
- Mouse is a hacker. She and AndrAIa will probably become major characters
in the third season.
- Al and Al's waiter run the "Wait and Eat" diner on Level 31.
- Algernon Cholmondley-Worthington III (Algy), a Zero, the luckless pilot.
- "Binky" Ffarquarson, a One, Algy's sidekick.
- Captain Capacitor is the Crimson Binome (software pirate).
- Old Man Pearson owns the Data Dump and streetsweepers.
In "High Code", his connection to the Codemasters is revealed.
- Scuzzy is Hexadecimal's cat-like familiar. (Pun on SCSI.)
- Nibbles is Megabyte's pet Null. Hints that Nibbles is not just
an ordinary Null are dropped in "Nullzilla".
Nope. The name Bob did not come from a file format used on the old Bosch FGS
animation system that was popular in the 80's. The true answer is:
- Stripe - seen once in Al's place.
- Rasta Mon - seen in Al's place and seen levitating in "The TIFF".
- Toque - a Zero wearing a type of stocking cap known as a toque.
- Momma, Poppa and Baby binome - the baby has a teddy bear in Bob's image.
- Dino De Horrendus - filmmaker.
- Afro - a One with wild hair
- Number One - looks like Commander Riker, sounds like Sean Connery.
- Number Five.
- Number Six.
- Number Seven - has nasty teeth.
- Number Eight - orange, wears a derby hat.
- Female Data Sprite - same size and shape as Dot, but different hair style,
seen turned to stone in "Medusa Bug".
Bob was named after a character the Rowan Atkinson's Blackadder series. The
producers liked the way Atkinson said "Bob". Sounded like kind of a cross
between "Bobe" and "Bub". (The Blackadder Bob, BTW, was a woman disguised as
a man. No reflection on our hero's manhood, however.)
That's what pure silicon looks like before it is grown into a crystal
to make computer chips. It is both shiny and dark gray at the same
time. It fractures like a large chunk of glass or obsidian.
The term "dot matrix" describes a type of computer printer.
The current speculation is that it came from the condition code bits
on a 8080 microcomputer - Even_Parity, Negative, Zero, Overflow.
Answer from people who work for the show:
Not bad, not bad...but not true, either. Fact is, the name Enzo has
no hidden meaning - the character was a late addition to the show,
and when it came time to choose a name, somebody suggested Enzo and
it stuck. I think I like your explanation better...
Yet another bogus retronym comes from Byte magazine, April 1990:
U.S. Sage (Longwood, FL) has developed a chip that incorporates
most Ethernet hardware functions. The company hopes that PC
makers will user the Ethernet Needing Zero Overhead (ENZO)
chips on their motherboards.
And in Italy, Enzo is a nicname for Vincenzo.
MB's worm is Nibbles, a Null. There's actually a story behind Nibbles,
which is hinted at in Nullzilla".
Phong, and his favorite game is Pong. Both became big names in computer
graphics in the early 1970's. Pong, created by Atari, was the first
successful coin-operated video game. Mathematician Phong Bui-Tuong
described a better method for shading polygons in the CACM in June 1975.
His method produces more realistic images than Gourand shading.
The following came fromk the glossary in Details
section of the Alliance press kit.
It's a tribute to animator Nick Park's award-winning 1993 Claymation short,
The Wrong Trousers.
What you are seeing is the jewel thief Feathers McGraw (without his clever
chicken disguise). A box with eye holes was also in that film.
- COMPUTER SPRITES - The digital citizens of Mainframe who come to life
when the computer is turned on and booted up. There are two types of
Sprites: BINOMES and DATA SPRITES.
- BINOMES - The majority of Mainframe's population. Robotic-looking sprites,
most shaped like 0's and 1's and some in the form of other numbers. They
do the physical labour such as word processing, graphics, and number
crunching to keep the computer functioning.
- DATA SPRITES - Highly-evolved sprites like Bob, Dot and Enzo. They keep
the Mainframe functioning by operating services such as buses, shops and
Note: The penguin in "Identity Crisis" (created in 1994) is definitely
a reference to Feathers McGraw (created in 1993) and not
Tux, the Linux mascot
(which did not show up until 1996).
The penguin is seen in
"Trust No One", and
"Web World Wars". It also showed
up in "Return of the Crimson Binome"
and "Web Riders on the Storm".
Long John Baldry. A blues singer from the days before Elton John.
The deep Darth-Vader-ish voice came from Blu Mankuma. He plays the large
black police captain on Forever Knight, the Jamaican Quick Strike
on G.I.Joe Extreme and the white tiger on Beast Wars.
In "Trust No One", the voice of Data Nully was performed by
Gillian Anderson (who plays Dana Scully in The X-Files.
Scott McNeil (Hack) did the voice.
Not unless you 1) have an agent and 2) have proven yourself
by writing to spec a screenplay on a subject other than ReBoot.
Due to legal ramifications, producers will not accept
unsolicited manuscripts. That's the way showbiz is.
Why do newer credits say "copyright 1993"?
The pencil drawings that were the original character design work
for ReBoot were copyrighted in 1991. Production on the first
episodes started in April 1993. (These first episodes hit the
airwaves 18 months later.)
Assuming A=1, B=10, C=11...Z=11010, Johnny O'Binome says:
10100 1 1011 101 1101 11001 10111 1001 110 101
T A K E M Y W I F E
10000 1100 101 1 10011 101. 0.
P L E A S E Oh!
When Megabyte is playing the guitar, Bob commands Glitch for a B.F.G.
It's a reference to the DOOM game on the IBM-PC. There, BFG stands for Big
Ferocious Gun. Here BFG stands for Big Fancy Guitar.
They say nanosecond where we would say minute; their microsecond is our
hour, their second is our day, and a minute a month.
It refers to the Broadcast Standards and Practices department at ABC.
It is mentioned in several episodes as an in-joke.
Canadians have mentioned scenes that were cut out of the US broadcast.
The ABC Broadcast Standards & Practices (BS&P) department regularly
ask the production company to change scenes or sound effects because
they're perceived as being too violent. Several scenes were cut
from the U.S. version of "Web World Wars".
Nope. Al is heard but not seen. (We know he has the general shape
of a One when Sgt. Smiley had him completely covered with rope in
"The Great Brain Robbery".
Likewise, the real name of "Al's Waiter" will never be revealed.
It won the "Gemini Award" (the Canadian equivalent of the Emmy Award)
for best animated show two years in a row. On 3-Mar-96 it also
won a Gemini for outstanding technical merit.
Yes, they are listed in the Alliance Press Release pages.
In 1986, John Lasseter created a short computer-animated film titled "Luxo Jr."
It won awards at SIG-GRAPH, and was nominated for an Academy Award. JL did
outstanding work in breathing life into the two main characters; a large
Luxo lamp and a smaller one (father and son). The character's emotions
was expressed in "body language".
- In "Quick and the Fed" it is a magic spell so that Bob does not have to
break a stained glass window. (Children should not throw rocks.)
- In "The Belly of the Beast", Enzo fires a big gun. Instead of
causing violence to the pursuers, the gun produces a liferaft that is
marked "B.S.'n'P. Approved".
- In "Talent Night", the Small Town Binomes sing about living with B.S.'n'P.
and playing in a non-violent way.
Near Phong's Read-Only Room, the marble statue with the inscription
"JL Senior" is an homage to Lasseter's work. (JL later on produced the hit
movie "Toy Story".) See also the history of
computer generated images.
Those armored personell carriers are called are Armored Binome Carriers (ABC,
not to be confused with the American Broadcasting Company.)
- Is the Algorithm Theatre and Electro Cinematek the same building?
- What's playing at the Algorithm?
- Are those really Bus Terminals in the background?
- What are the names of the low-lifes in Al's? (Zero with
a toque, the rim-shot drummer).
- What does ATFL stand for? (owners of the copyright)
- What really happened to Dot's father and all the other sprites?
(The "andrAIa" episode and the CD-ROM have hints, but no details.)
page 94 of 129
Maintained by Joe Smith