Rebooting Your Childhood

Reboots are all the rage these days. I could go on about how tired I am of this trend, but that would be another blog post entirely. What’s been on my mind lately is the reaction to reboots, or at least certain reboots. And I get it. When someone takes something you loved as a kid that now has a special place in your memories and changes it, it’s jarring. When Teen Titans Go! was announced, I was kind of excited until I realized it wasn’t a continuation of the show I watched religiously until my dad downgraded our cable and we no longer got the Boomerang channel. “Who are these dumb, cutesy, hyper characters and what have they done with my beloved Titans?” I asked myself. Despite my misgivings, I gave the show a chance. Some of it was a little funny, but overall it didn’t interest me. And I was OK with that. I used to see a lot of complaints about how bad the show was, but it’s been on for five years and just got a movie, so obviously kids are enjoying it.

Two upcoming reboots in particular are what have me thinking so much about this topic. The first is ThunderCats Roar. It looks like it’s going to be the ThunderCats version of Teen Titans Go!, except I’m actually really looking forward to this one. That’s why when I saw the immense backlash from other ThunderCats fans, I wasn’t really surprised. ThunderCats, an action cartoon from the 80s, has major nostalgia factors. I have great memories of it, and I’ll always love it. When I saw it was streaming on Prime, I thought it would be fun to rewatch it. I quickly learned how wrong I was. This is pure subjectivity here, but ThunderCats did not age well. The animation was good at the time, but looks kind of awkward now. And it’s a little boring! I might’ve only gotten through two seasons before giving up. That’s why I’m so excited about the reboot. It looks fun and funny and fresh! Sure, it’ll be different from the original, but as someone who couldn’t even watch the original again without cringing a lot, I can’t wait. Plus, the creator is a ThunderCats fan himself, so the characters will be in good hands.

The second cartoon reboot getting backlash is She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. I didn’t watch the original series, but I can’t wait to watch the new one. She-Ra’s design appeals to me so much, but it’s also what’s generating the backlash. In the original, she had sort of a boobs-and-butts thing going on: short, backless, strapless dress, high-heeled boots, and a perfect figure. The new She-Ra is younger with a more modest, practical outfit. For days I saw discourse on Twitter about how this new She-Ra is a disgrace, all because she’s not sexy enough to the adult men who probably didn’t even watch the original series much as kids. They’re judging the new show on designs without even waiting for the actual content.

Overall, my experiences with cartoon reboots have taught me a few things that I’d like to pass on to the people of the internet:

  1. Try not to judge something before it’s even aired. It might turn out better than you think, and if it doesn’t, that’s OK.
  2. Don’t let nostalgia cloud your judgment. Something you loved to watch as a kid might not be something you’d want to watch now. People claim that reboots can never be better than their original source, but that’s simply not true.
  3. Ultimately, these reboots aren’t being made for you. They’re being made for kids, who are probably going to love them as much as you loved the original. If you just so happen to enjoy the reboot, too, isn’t that even better?
  4. The most important lesson for any kind of media: if you don’t like it, just don’t watch it!