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Edutainment Station: The Magic School Bus

 

     Seatbelts everyone! As school starts back up and kids go to class, it's about time we get some smarts of our own. But with a bit of fun on the side from a well known redheaded teacher and the class lizard. We will be looking at the much beloved and well known franchise, The Magic School Bus and see how well it holds up as both entertaining and educational. So let's take a field trip with the Frizz into the history and the love of this franchise.

               

     Starting as a book series, The Magic School Bus was created by Craig Walker, Joanna Cole, and Bruce Degen with the idea of combining science and fiction with Walker drawing inspiration from his own experiences with school trips. The first book was 'At The Waterworks' which was written in 1984 and then published in 1985. The books are written in the first person perspective as the reader is put in the class as an unnamed student. Then on September 22nd 1994 the Magic School Bus game Lost in the Solar System released followed by other games for the franchise until 2001. These games were point and click with some mini games involved while keeping the educational aspects of the books. 

     However what people most remember about the franchise was the original run of the cartoon that went from September 10th 1994 to December 7th 1997 with reruns lasting until September 25th 1998 on PBS. It was then picked up by other stations such as Fox, NBC, and Discovery Kids until 2012. Which was the last known airing of the original show on television. 

     

     Then on September 29th 2017 Netflix and Scholastic Books released The Magic School Bus Rides Again. This one had one major change, that being the character of Miss Frizzle wasn't in it, but her sister has taken over the classroom even though the same voice actress for Miss Frizzle returned to play the role of Miss Frizzle's sister. This series lasted until 2018 when it ended on the second season. There was also a report on June 25th 2020 of a live action and animation Hybrid film of The Magic School Bus with Elizabeth Banks as Miss Frizzle in the works. 

     The Magic School Bus is one of those flash in the pan franchises that lives on in nostalgia and off off nostalgia. For its time the series was that right balance of Educational as well as entertaining. But as time and science moved forward Magic School Bus was on borrowed time. While the new series gave it some new life, it was short lived. Despite all of that though, it is a well remembered and beloved franchise be it from TV, the books, or the games. This franchise is an edutainment staple for millennials who grew up with it and will live on in the hearts and minds of 90s kids everywhere. 

                    

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RetroOtaku620 Posted on Dec 14, 2021 at 03:52 AM

I actually have the complete series on DVD. Wish I had the Halloween special on videotape, though.

Benjanime Posted on Oct 03, 2021 at 03:57 PM

i actually didn't catch much of this show on TV airings, but i did watch various VHS tapes from my school classroom around 1996-1997, in total i think we all watched at least three of them throughout the school year, and it was the only time we saw them. i highly doubt we'll ever get a show like this ever again for a modern generation, though i don't count the netflix follow up.

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