ReBoot is a Canadian computer-animated TV series that originally aired on YTV from 1994 to 2001. It was produced by Vancouver-based Mainframe Entertainment, Alliance Communications and BLT Productions. The animated series was created by Gavin Blair, Ian Pearson, Phil Mitchell, and John Grace, with the visuals designed by Brendan McCarthy after an initial attempt by Ian Gibson. It was one of the world's first CGI television series.
Changes required because of Broadcast Standards and Practices
The show's early jokes at the expense of Broadcast Standards & Practices came from frustration encountered by the show's makers by an abundance of script and editing changes that were imposed upon Mainframe before episodes were allowed to air. These changes were all aimed at making the show appropriate for children, and to prevent even the slightest appearance of inappropriate content, imitable violence or sexuality.
- For instance, the character Dot was considered too sexualized by exposing too much mammary cleavage, so the animators were forced to make them less curvy and form them into a lumpy "monobreast", as lightly referred to by the staff. However, starting with season three, the monobreasts of all adult female characters were replaced with more anatomically correct versions. In another case, the word "hockey" was banned from all episodes as in some countries it was supposedly used as a vulgar slang term. In the episode "Talent Night", one scene of Dot giving a kiss to her brother Enzo was cut due to BS&P's fear of promoting incest, an insinuation which Ian Pearson described as "one of the sickest things I've ever heard."
In an interview with the creators, there was a discussion of broadcast network standards and practices at the time. According to the panel, shows were routinely rejected for no reason whatsoever during the ReBoot days. A character landing on her butt and then rubbing it was considered risqué.
- The script for "Bad Bob" written by Dan DiDio an episode that parodied the "Mad Max" movies, received a report from the censors with but a single line: "Show completely rejected." Ian Pearson, ReBoot producer and co-creator, called Broadcast Standards directly and said, "We made the show just for you". They resubmitted it soon after and it was approved without a single change. Dan commentated how the struggle was so crazy, in fact, that animators had the cityscape lights read (in binary code) "F*** you, broadcast standards" in one episode. They even placed the initials of the broadcast representative in an episode titled "Talent Night"—as a person who rejects every single act.
During the second season, ABC Television Network was bought by Disney. Both DiDio's division and the show's producers in Mainframe Entertainment knew they would be inevitably cancelled. At this point co-creator Gavin Blair decided the team may as well ignore the rules, hence why episodes themes such as Trust No One were much darker.