the magic school bus rides again trailer

All aboard the Magic School Bus! The enchanted vehicle pulls up for a second go-around with a frizzy-haired teacher behind the wheel in the Netflix reboot-sequel of the beloved PBS animated series. In The Magic School Bus Rides Again, the teacher is a little less frizzy-haired, though she’s still a Frizzle.

That’s right, that’s Kate McKinnon as Ms. Frizzle’s younger sister with better hair, Ms. Fiona Felicity Frizzle, taking the keys from Lilly Tomlin‘s legendary teacher as the older Frizzle goes off to…save the world, I guess? But the most important thing about The Magic School Bus Rides Again trailer is that Netflix has recruited Lin-Manuel Miranda to sing the updated theme song. Yep, that definitely made our day complete.

The Magic School Bus joins the pantheon of beloved children’s and family programs getting a “rebootquel,” the unofficial term for a reboot-sequel that continues the narrative of the original series, but features a modern cast or story. In this case, there’s a completely fresh face taking over the Ms. Frizzle role, with the always-hilarious McKinnon as the younger Frizzle. The class looks eerily the same as the old students from the PBS series, except without bold delineating lines or noses.

As you can tell, I have an ax to grind with the animation in this series. Sure, the PBS animation for the original The Magic School Bus was as low-budget as you can get, but the streamlining and flattening of the animation style is not much of an improvement. It reminds me of yet another ’90s animation reboot, Sailor Moon Crystal, which featured a much shoddier animation style that also dropped the bolder lines that were standard in ’90s animation. The result: feeble, inconsistent character drawings that distracted from the story.

I know it’s strange to harp on animation standards for a former PBS series of all things, but if the series is receiving a Netflix update, I wish it could have gotten a better production budget — or at least show that it did. The Magic School Bus was a formative part of my childhood as a kid growing up without cable, and I can recall nearly every single frame of the episodes I rewatched. So as much as the old series was burned in my memory, I hope that The Magic School Bus Rides Again can leave a lasting impression for a new generation of kids weaned on Netflix. Even though the new Ms. Frizzle’s hair looks way too nice.

At least Lin-Manuel Miranda succeeded in giving a very hip update to the theme song. Read the synopsis for The Magic School Bus Rides Again:

The kids are back at Walkerville School for another school year of astonishing, out-of-this-world field trips in this all-new reimagining of the iconic science-comedy-adventure series The Magic School Bus. But this year, there’s a new Frizzle (Kate McKinnon)! The younger sister of the famed Professor Frizzle (Lily Tomlin) has taken over the classroom! But worry not – the new Ms Frizzle shares her sister’s zany ways and passion for science. Field trips this year are wilder than ever, into the clouds, across the internet, riding the continents – even a plunge into the depths of the Sun itself! And along the way, the kids we know and love bring their science investigations into the 21st century – still taking chances, making mistakes and getting messy!

The Magic School Bus Rides Again premieres on Netflix on September 29, 2017.

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