The Magic School Bus Rides Again

The Magic School Bus Rides Again is a Canadian-American animated children's web 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 series premiered on Netflix on September 29, 2017.[1] The second season premiered on April 13, 2018.[2]

The Magic School Bus Rides Again
The Magic School Bus Rides Again.jpg
GenreAdventure, Children's, Educational
Based onThe Magic School Bus
by Joanna Cole
Bruce Degen
Voices of
Theme music composerPeter Lurye
Opening theme"Ride on the Magic School Bus", performed by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Country of originUnited States
Canada
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes26 (list of episodes)
Production
Running time25 minutes
Production company(s)Scholastic Entertainment
9 Story Media Group
DistributorNetflix
9 Story Media Group
Release
Original networkNetflix
Original releaseSeptember 29, 2017 (2017-09-29) –
April 13, 2018 (2018-04-13)
Chronology
Preceded byThe Magic School Bus

A 45-minute special, titled Kids in Space, premiered on August 7, 2020.[3][4] Another 45-minute special, titled The Frizz Connection, was released on October 20, 2020.[5]

PlotEdit

In the 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 viewers along the way.

Voice castEdit

  • Kate McKinnon as Miss Fiona Felicity Frizzle[6], and her Frizzle Fragments.
  • Lily Tomlin as Professor Valerie Felicity Frizzle, Ph. D.
  • Miles Koseleci-Vieira as Arnold Perlstein
  • Lynsey Pham as Wanda Li
  • Mikaela Blake as Keesha Franklin
  • Gabby Clarke as Dorothy Ann Hudson[7]
  • Leke Maceda-Rustecki as Carlos Ramon[7]
  • Matthew Mintz (Seasons 1-2) Matthew Mucci (Kids in Space and The Frizz Connection) as Ralphie Tennelli
  • Birva Pandya as Jyoti Kaur
  • Kaden Stephen as Tim Wright

Guest starsEdit

Season 1Edit

  • Will Arnett as Galapagos Gil ("Frizzle of the Future")
  • Mae Jemison as Kathy K. Kuiper ("Space Mission: Selfie")
  • Sandra Oh as Dr. Sarah Bellum ("Ralphie Strikes a Nerve")

Season 2Edit

Kids in SpaceEdit

Additional voicesEdit

  • Lilly Bartlam
  • Amos Crawley
  • Annelise Forbes as Janet Perlstein, Arnold's know-it-all conceited cousin.[8]
  • Lisa Jai
  • Julie Lemieux
  • Ana Sani
  • Stuart Stone
  • Jamie Watson
  • Marcus Craig
  • Martin Roach
  • Kevin Vidal

EpisodesEdit

Season 1 (2017)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleTopicDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
11"Frizzle of the Future"EcosystemRichard WestonJohn May & Suzanne BolchSeptember 29, 2017 (2017-09-29)
It's a new year in Walkerville Elementary as a brand new teacher arrives to make field trips more fun. However, Arnold is nervous that the new teacher, Ms. Frizzle's sister, will alter the class ecosystem.
22"Pigs in the Wind"Engineering Aeroelastic BuildingsRichard WestonMike McPhadenSeptember 29, 2017 (2017-09-29)
Keesha is directing her classmates in a play adapting The Three Little Pigs. However, she becomes nervous about the level of realism after learning that Janet plans to review the play on her blog. Upon hearing this, Ms. Frizzle takes the class to a forest where the wind-resistant properties of trees can be seen firsthand.
33"In the Swim"Fish AdaptationsRichard WestonJohn May & Suzanne BolchSeptember 29, 2017 (2017-09-29)
While most of Ms. Frizzle's class is thrilled to go on a field trip to Hawaii, Wanda longs for a trip that can help conservation efforts. Searching underwater, she finds a lone fish and becomes concerned about its ability to survive. Ms. Frizzle responds by giving everyone a close-up look at how fish evade predators deeper in the ocean.
44"The Battle for Rock Mountain"Rock Cycle (Rock Layers/Fossils & Erosion)Richard WestonJohn May & Suzanne BolchSeptember 29, 2017 (2017-09-29)
Tim is drawing a comic to be preserved in Walkerville's time capsule. Asking the others for inspiration, Arnold provides a character named RockMan while Ralphie suggests that he could get into a battle with WeatherMan. The other students are gradually worked into the comic as they learn more about the various transformations rocks can undergo.
55"The Magnetic Mambo"MagnetismRichard WestonJennifer DaleySeptember 29, 2017 (2017-09-29)
During a talent show rehearsal, the dance numbers are not up to Ralphie's standard. Ms. Frizzle likens this to the random arrangement of atoms in Ralphie's whistle and shrinks the students so that they can go inside. After they visit a deposit of magnetite, they go inside again and see a more orderly arrangement since the whistle is paramagnetic.
66"Carlos Gets the Sneezes"AllergiesRichard WestonGeorge Arthur BloomSeptember 29, 2017 (2017-09-29)
In a throwback to "Inside Ralphie", Carlos brings a rat as the class pet, but then he starts sneezing uncontrollably. As Miss Fiona and the class investigate inside Carlos's immune system, they find that Carlos is being exposed to something that is giving him allergies. At first, they believe it's the rat, but later they discover it was pollen that got stuck in the rat's fur.
77"Hides and Seeks"CamouflageRichard WestonBetty QuanSeptember 29, 2017 (2017-09-29)
During a school-wide hide and seek game, Ms. Frizzle's students are concerned about a proficient player and ask for advice on how to hide from her. Leaving Tim, Jyoti and Raphie in the game, the others travel to the rainforest and relay what they learn about camouflage in real time.
88"Three in One"Solid, Liquid & VaporRichard WestonJocelyn StevensonSeptember 29, 2017 (2017-09-29)
Jyoti is trying to think of a project idea for a competition called "Gizmos That Go". Ms. Frizzle takes her and her classmates inside an ice cube so that they can see what happens when it melts and then boils. Inspired by this, Jyoti's entry becomes a bumper cars ride with three phases.
99"Space Mission: Selfie"SatellitesRichard WestonMike McPhadenSeptember 29, 2017 (2017-09-29)
Before an upcoming game, Walkerville Elementary is unable to broadcast footage of its soccer field due to a malfunctioning satellite apparently owned by Ms. Frizzle. When the class goes into orbit to investigate, Keesha considers it a perfect opportunity to put the finishing touches on her application to astronaut camp. While trying to get a selfie, she accidentally destroys other satellites which makes the mission more complicated.
1010"The Tales Glaciers Tell"IceRichard WestonStory by : Josh Gal
Teleplay by : Jocelyn Stevenson, John May & Suzanne Bolch
September 29, 2017 (2017-09-29)
Dorothy Ann is eager to impress her parents in an upcoming storytelling performance. When she and her classmates travel to a glacier, Ms. Frizzle teaches them that each of its layers holds a record of the past. This provides inspiration for a story about carbon dioxide levels.
1111"Ralphie Strikes a Nerve"NervesRichard WestonBernice VanderlaanSeptember 29, 2017 (2017-09-29)
Ralphie urges his classmates to build a cheer-leading robot to help in a volleyball game against Janet's team. Although Ms. Frizzle is able to have the chassis built quickly, the students observe Jyoti's brain in order to get the idea to co-ordinate its movements with pneumatic tubes. To prevent Ralphie from getting tired, they build a second command center for Keesha to control the autonomic functions.
1212"Monster Power"Renewable EnergyRichard WestonMerrill HaganSeptember 29, 2017 (2017-09-29)
Ms. Frizzle takes the class to go camping but Arnold brings along several lights because he is afraid that a horror film he recently watched will come true. Since there is no electricity grid nearby, Arnold and his classmates learn how to harness wind and water currents for the purpose of powering the lights.
1313"DA and the Deep Blue Sea"Ocean ZonesRichard WestonEvan Thaler HickeySeptember 29, 2017 (2017-09-29)
While preparing to write a blog post about the ocean, Dorothy Ann gathers data with an advanced locket belonging to Jyoti's grandmother. When her fishing line breaks, and she loses the locket, Ms. Frizzle turns the bus into a submarine in order to help find it. Along the way, the students learn about undersea life and different depths.

Season 2 (2018)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleTopicDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
141"The Land Before Tim"FossilsRichard WestonBrian HartiganApril 13, 2018 (2018-04-13)
The class is set to compete on a gameshow about fossils hosted by Tim's idol. In order to prepare, they go back in time and become dinosaur fossils which form as Pangea breaks apart into the continents familiar to humans.
152"Claw and Order"BirdsRichard WestonJennifer DaleyApril 13, 2018 (2018-04-13)
Wanda befriends a magpie but Ms. Frizzle's other students become suspicious of him after seeing that the classroom has been ransacked by a bird. They subsequently travel the world learning about the different adaptations birds have.
163"Ghost Farm"HarvestingRichard WestonMike McPhadenApril 13, 2018 (2018-04-13)
Wanda is organizing a fall fair but she has forgotten that it will need food. Ralphie mentions that he knows a nearby farm which is reportedly haunted. With no other options, they travel to the farm and find that the supposedly possessed vehicles have been programmed to tend to the crops by an agricultural scientist.
174"Nothin' But Net"Computer CodesRichard WestonJohn May & Suzanne BolchApril 13, 2018 (2018-04-13)
Jyoti is sending a virtual hug to her grandmother with the help of Ms. Frizzle. However, when Arnold drops in and accidentally presses the wrong button, he is turned into an email attachment himself. The other students enter the fibre-optic cables of the Internet and learn how to ensure that their packets are sent to the same place.
185"I Spy with my Animal Eyes"EyesRichard WestonEmma KassirerApril 13, 2018 (2018-04-13)
While the rest of the class is on a field trip into Arnold's eye, Arnold turns his back on the class pet Ratney for a minute and loses her. Ms. Frizzle helps in the search by turning the bus into several local animals to give the students a sense of how they see.
196"Ready, Set, Fail!"The Engineering Process and Failures Lead to SuccessRichard WestonEvan Thaler HickeyApril 13, 2018 (2018-04-13)
Ralphie reads about a gem on an exoplanet that can help him pass tests without studying. After learning that the planet has a magnetic field which is impenetrable to the bus, the class designs a rover and builds five iterations, improving it each time. When they acquire the gem, they learn that it was left by Valerie Frizzle in order to entice them to think like engineers.
207"The Good, the Bad, and the Gnocchi"Simple machinesRichard WestonBernice VanderlaanApril 13, 2018 (2018-04-13)
When Ralphie is showing the class his family's pasta display, Carlos is in a race with his brother Mikey. Ms. Frizzle involves the rest of the class in their race when she notices that the corrugated pasta surface makes for an ideal obstacle course. This leads to a Western-themed journey whose success hinges on simple machines.
218"Send in the Clouds"CloudsRichard WestonMike McPhadenApril 13, 2018 (2018-04-13)
When Jyoti invents a new type of umbrella, she misses the opportunity to impress investors because it is not raining. To find out more about why it rains, she and her classmates go on a field trip inside clouds. Wanda tries to build a collection of clouds along the way which has the side effect of unleashing a thunderstorm.
229"Ralphie and the Flying Tennellis"Using Math in Real Life ScenariosRichard WestonJohn May & Suzanne BolchApril 13, 2018 (2018-04-13)
After Ralphie claims that math is useless, circus performers in his family ask him to fill in for their missing acrobat. His position on math changes when the class finds out that precise calculations are needed to execute a trapeze jump.
2310"Tim and the Talking Trees"Plant & Animal Communication/InteractionRichard WestonNathalie YounglaiApril 13, 2018 (2018-04-13)
When Tim opines that trees talk to each other, the class is divided on whether to believe him. When Ms. Frizzle takes the students to the forest, they learn that trees can form a colony with the help of fungal mycelia.
2411"Waste Not, Want Not"Utilizing Waste/FertilizationRichard WestonEvan Thaler HickeyApril 13, 2018 (2018-04-13)
Dorothy Ann is preparing a musical about flowers but the orchids she has been growing for it are withering. When they try to find fertilizer to enrich the soil, the other students are dismayed to learn that it comes from feces. They overcome their aversion as Ms. Frizzle teaches them about the nutrient cycle. When it is time to perform, Arnold works these concepts into a cover of "Circle of Life".
2512"Janet's Mystery Gene"DNARichard WestonBernice VanderlaanApril 13, 2018 (2018-04-13)
Carlos is arguing with Janet about which book they should read to the kindergarten class. They decide that Ms. Frizzle should lead a field trip into Janet's cells where her DNA can be found. After attempting to edit her personality and accidentally editing too much, the students struggle to put Janet back together by the time the storytelling session starts.
2613"Making Magic"SunRichard WestonSuzanne Bolch, John May & Mike McPhadenApril 13, 2018 (2018-04-13)
The class travels to the sun and brings along an eager Principal Ruhle who believes the trip to be a simulation. When they get to the center, Arnold risks his life to prevent the bus from running out of power.

SpecialsEdit

TitleTopicDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
"Kids in Space"International Space StationRichard WestonDavid SkellyAugust 7, 2020 (2020-08-07)
Note: This special is dedicated in memory of Joanna Cole. The subsequent episodes have this dedication.
Episode synopsis: Ms. Frizzle and the kids have undergone training procedures and travel in the Bus to the International Space Station. When Ralphie accidentally uses the size-manipulation to turn a tardigrade into a mutant, water-seeking beast, the kids must find out where to find the shrink-ray (as Ralphie lost it) so it can be shrunk again.
"The Frizz Connection"Air currentsRichard WestonMerrill HaganOctober 20, 2020 (2020-10-20)
Ms. Frizzle takes the students to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta on the hot-air bus for Arnold's birthday. Along the way, the students are caught in an electric storm. When the Magic School Bus gets hit by lightning, it and Ms. Frizzle are split into three distinct parts reflecting the latter's personality, and are scattered across the world, each school bus having a different group of three students (Liz included). It's up to everyone to navigate the balloon buses to Albuquerque and join them together before each version of Ms. Frizzle fades away.

ProductionEdit

In 2014, the series was first announced by Netflix and Scholastic Media, and was titled The Magic School Bus 360°.[9] The new iteration of the franchise features a modernized "Ms. Frizzle" (replacing Valerie with her younger sister Fiona) and a high-tech bus that stresses modern inventions such as robotics, wearables and camera technology. The hope is to captivate children's imaginations and motivate their interest in the sciences.[10] It was produced by 9 Story Media Group.[11] Producer Stuart Stone, who voiced Ralphie in the original series, stated that The Magic School Bus 360° will feature some of the original voice actors in different roles. The show's voice cast is based in Los Angeles, California, United States and Toronto, Ontario, Canada with Susan Blu as the Los Angeles voice director and Alyson Court as the Toronto voice director.[12] In February 2017, Netflix announced that Kate McKinnon was cast in the role of Ms. Frizzle (without clarifying it was Fiona, the younger sister of Valerie, now Professor Frizzle, still voiced by Tomlin). The series then changed its name to The Magic School Bus Rides Again.[13] The series was released on Netflix on September 29, 2017.[1] The second season was released on April 13, 2018.[2]

Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton sings the theme song.[14] Phoebe Terese, a character from the original series, is replaced by a new student named Jyoti, as it was revealed that Phoebe transferred back to her old school.[15][16] The episode endings feature question and answer sessions with Professor Frizzle, echoing the segments about viewers calling the producer which accompanied the original series on commercial-free channels.[17] Despite clarifying some creative license taken in the episode, these scenes are still set in a universe with magical vehicles.[18] Among other changes, the students still wear the same clothes every day but they do not resemble those from the original series.[19] A 45–minute special called The Magic School Bus Rides Again: Kids in Space was released on August 7, 2020.[20] A second 45-minute special titled The Magic School Bus Rides Again The Frizz Connection was then released on October 20, 2020.[21] The artstyle was changed for the specials as the characters have no outlines and the lighthing and shading are more detailed.

Critical receptionEdit

Why has this good-natured show already received an inordinate amount of judgement? How can this much vitriol be thrown at a creation before anyone has even seen it?

— Decider, [22]

After the series' announcement and the release of its trailer, there was initial resistance to the new art style, absence of Lily Tomlin as Ms. Frizzle, and fear it would not live up to the original series.[23][24] AOL accused the show of giving Ms. Frizzle a nose job.[25] Bustle put this down to fans of the show being "protective of its legacy".[26]

Despite this speculation, the series has been critically acclaimed upon release. Common Sense Media deemed the show a worthy successor to its 1990s sister series, praising its gender and ethnic diversity and its commitment to teaching children about STEM subjects.[27] Christianity Today argues that the show managed to keep the "genius of the franchise", which is that the children are almost more intrigued by the complexity and order of the natural world rather than the magic of the titular school bus.[28] Daily Dot praised the series' premiere for addressing the change to the show's structure, putting viewers at ease through the transition, adding that the science was made "approachable".[24] The Houstonian found the episodes' scenarios to be "pretty interesting", commenting on the academical and moral lessons.[29] The AV Club felt the series lives up to its predecessor, and contains the same "goofy humor and ease with making learning fun".[30] Another AV Club article wrote that the series is "lively, fast-paced, and exceedingly tolerable for adults", and full of enough science to allow them to park their kids in front of it guilt-free.[31]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2018 The Magic School Bus Rides Again Parent's Choice Silver Honor - Spring 2018 Television Won[32]
2018 The Magic School Bus Rides Again Common Sense "Great For Families" seal Won[27]
2018 Annellie Rose Samuel for episode "Space Mission: Selfie" Canadian Cinema Editors Award for Best Editing in Animation Nominated[33]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "New to Netflix in September: 'Pulp Fiction', 'Jerry Before Seinfeld' and More". EW.com. August 23, 2017. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Scarface, The Iron Giant, Seven coming to Netflix in April". EW.com. March 21, 2018. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  3. ^ "The Magic School Bus Rides Again Kids In Space". Netflix. Retrieved July 13, 2020.
  4. ^ "'Magic School Bus Rides Again' Space Movie Coming to Netflix in August 2020". What's on Netflix. July 16, 2020.
  5. ^ "Everything Coming to Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu & Amazon Prime Video in October 2020". Comicbook. September 25, 2020.
  6. ^ @netflix (September 5, 2017). "The bus is magic. The science is real" (Tweet) – via Twitter. video, Valerie: "Class, please welcome Miss Fiona Felicity Frizzle".
  7. ^ a b "da Costa Talent". da Costa Talent. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  8. ^ Annelise Forbes. "Annelise Forbes on Twitter: "I'm playing "Janet" on the new Magic School Bus. @Lin_Manuel sings the theme song and it's a super fun show! @netflix #animation #voiceactor…". Twitter.com. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  9. ^ "Scholastic is Bringing The Magic School Bus 360 degrees to Netflix". Coming Soon. June 11, 2014. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
  10. ^ Koch, Dave (June 18, 2014). "Three New Animated Series, Reboots All". Big Cartoon News. Archived from the original on June 20, 2014. Retrieved June 18, 2014.
  11. ^ "The Magic School Bus 360 delayed to 2017". Coming Soon. December 3, 2016. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
  12. ^ Gael Fashingbauer Cooper (January 4, 2017). "Celebrity cameos, familiar voices to ride 'Magic School Bus' reboot". CNET. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
  13. ^ Serrao, Nivea (February 9, 2017). "Kate McKinnon to voice Ms. Frizzle in Netflix's 'Magic School Bus' revival". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 27, 2017. Netflix has found its Ms. Frizzle! Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live, Ghostbusters) will be voicing the beloved animated teacher in the Magic School Bus reboot
  14. ^ Stanhope, Kate (September 5, 2017). "Lin-Manuel Miranda Updates 'Magic School Bus' Theme Song for Netflix Reboot". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  15. ^ "'The Magic School Bus Rides Again' brings new magic to a familiar set of wheels". Dailydot.com. September 29, 2017. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  16. ^ Writers: May, John & Bolch, Suzanne Director: Weston, Richard (September 29, 2017). "Frizzle of the Future". The Magic School Bus Rides Again. Season 1. Episode 1. Netflix.
  17. ^ Crouch, Sydney (October 5, 2017). "The magic reboot". Hagerty Journalism Online. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  18. ^ Reliford, Alexis (September 29, 2017). "'The Magic School Bus Rides Again' Vs. The Original Shows There Are Some Big Changes, But '90s Fans Will Still Be Pleased". Bustle. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  19. ^ Noga, Jenn (October 12, 2017). "Review: The Magic School Bus Rides Again". Black Squirrel Radio. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  20. ^ Ridgely, Charlie (July 14, 2017). "Everything Coming to Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu & Amazon Prime Video in August 2020". Comicbook. Retrieved September 28, 2020.
  21. ^ Robinson, Jacob (October 20, 2020). "What's Coming to Netflix This Week: October 19th to 25th, 2020". What's On Netflix. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  22. ^ "Why Are Adults So Mad About 'The Magic School Bus' Reboot?". September 29, 2017.
  23. ^ Canva, Michael (September 6, 2017). "'Magic School Bus' reboot looks very different from the original. Who stole its visual soul?". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  24. ^ a b "'The Magic School Bus Rides Again' brings new magic to a familiar set of wheels". The Daily Dot. September 29, 2017. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  25. ^ Staff, A. O. L. "'Magic School Bus' reboot: Did Ms. Frizzle get a nose job?". AOL.com. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  26. ^ Patton, Rebecca. "The Magic School Bus' Reboot Could See Another Season So Soon". Bustle. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  27. ^ a b Ashby, Emily (September 28, 2017). "The Magic School Bus Rides Again". Common Sense Media. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  28. ^ Messer, Dustin. "The New 'Magic School Bus' Still Sees Knowledge as a Gateway to Wonder". ChristianityToday.com. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  29. ^ Editor, Assistant; White, Masey (October 4, 2017). ""The Magic School Bus Rides Again" Review". The Houstonian. Retrieved December 19, 2018.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  30. ^ "Two reboots and other bingeworthy TV". AV Club. March 24, 2018. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  31. ^ "We wade through Netflix to find the best streaming series for your kids". AV Club. May 15, 2018. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  32. ^ Oldenburg, Ann (2018). "The Magic School Bus Rides Again". Parents' Choice. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  33. ^ "8th Annual CCE Awards". Canadian Cinema Editors. April 3, 2018. Retrieved June 3, 2020.

External linksEdit