We’re part of the StreamTeam for Netflix and were compensated for this post. Reboots and remakes of older shows are inevitable. Sometimes it’s done well and other times it’s instantly forgettable. The Magic School Bus was a show that aired when I was in college, so my first time seeing it was on DVD with the kids. They loved the show, I really enjoyed it and aside from the animation it aged very well. When The Magic School Bus Rides Again was announced my social media streams lit up with chants of ‘they’ve ruined my childhood’. That crowd can rest easy for a number of reasons, plus the birthday festivities just got more interactive on Netflix.
First off, The Magic School Bus Rides Again has 13 episodes in this first season order. The first episode called Frizzle of the Future passively acknowledges the concerns from adults who grew up with original series. Ms. Frizzles’ younger sister takes over teaching duties for the class at the beginning of a new school year. Initially it freaks out the class; especially Arnold, who like some viewers from 25 years ago, don’t want change of any sort.
Thankfully, Ms. Frizzles’ older sister (AKA, the Original Frizzle) is still there as she’s teaching more advanced classes. She gives her blessing to the new teacher and the class can get about taking chances, making mistakes and getting messy. It’s hard to imagine that this overt passing of the torch in the show wasn’t well thought out. People loved, to an obsessive point the original show, its diverse cast, great vocal talent and real world STEM education.
The Magic School Bus Rides Again takes the kids to the Galapagos Islands where they learn about invasive species. There are lots of parallels between the new teacher, the animals on the island and just like the original series they get transformed into animals, learn about nature and have fun.
We showed the first couple of episodes to a 5 and 7 year old and they loved them. It had immediate brand recognition and was fun, educational viewing for each 24 minute show they watched. Bottom line: they loved it and didn’t bat an eyelid that it was a little bit different from the other version they’ve seen.
Another cool thing that Netflix has on now is their programming resources is Birthdays on Demand. Here young birthday kids can watch videos that are built around their favorite characters as they say, sing, joke or simply wish your child a happy birthday. Just search for birthdays in the search box and you’ll see that 16 different characters or titles have a birthday montage for you to choose from.
It’s along the lines of the New Year’s Eve Party that Netflix has had for kids in the past. This is a fun, vignette that children will enjoy and make them feel special. Have you looked through the Birthdays on Demand options on Netflix? If so, which one was your favorite?