Bob and Dot.


Original medium: Television animation
Produced by: Mainframe Entertainment
First Appeared: 1994
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The Yellow Kid is said by some to have gotten part of his appearance and therefore his name, from attempts to master new technology. New techniques have always influenced media output, not just in form (like for example in Shatter) but sometimes …

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… also in content. Captain 3-D was an attempt to use the new technology itself as a thematic element of the product. So, decades later, was ReBoot.

ReBoot took place in a world called "Mainframe", which is what the producer, Mainframe Entertainment (which has done projects involving Popeye, Scary Godmother and Casper), called itself. At the time, the word referred to a traditional computer, the type used by governments and corporations, as opposed to the "microcomputers", then in the process of taking over the industry, used at home.

The hero's name was Bob. His job was to protect Mainframe and all its inhabitants, who were responsible for the smooth functioning of the world they lived in. When the unseen User played a game, Bob was the one who met the character he controlled in battle and defended the interior world's interests. As the show progressed, however, conflicts tended to become more external, and menaces tended to come more and more from opening their formerly closed society to the Web.

Computer references abounded. A villainous virus was named Megabyte, and one of his henchmen was Mouse. Another villain, Phong, challenged people to physical games of Pong (a long-obsolete computer game which also, by the way, inspired Tron). Bob's love interest, who acted as "" to Mainframe, was Dot Matrix. A story involved an attack by Software Pirates, who spoke and acted just like pirates of the Spanish Main.

Bob was voiced at first by Michael Benyear, who has also been heard on Exosquad and Robot Chicken. Later the role was taken over by Ian James Corlett (Mega Man, Dr. Tofu Ono in Ranma ½), who also voiced an "evil twin" type character called Glitch Bob. Dot was Kathleen Barr (Rudolph, Wheezer in Dragon Tales). Other voices included Paul Dobson (Doctor Doom in 21st century Fantastic Four animation), Stevie Vallance (Share Bear) and Tony Jay (Dr, Lipschitz in Rugrats).

The show began as a half-hour animation on ABC Saturday mornings, debuting September 10, 1994. For the first season, it concentrated on one-episode stories; but in the second, an extended storyline was used. The third season displayed an advance in technology, resulting in more detailed graphics. Also, ABC dropped the show and new episodes were distributed via syndication. An older demographic was chosen as its target audience, resulting in a darker, more serious tone. After the third season, two movies continued the story. A video game version was released March 18, 1998.

Later advances in the storyline were carried out in the form of comics distributed on the Internet, with fan talent recruited to write and draw it.


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Text ©2009-10 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Mainframe Entertainment.