A new series based on the popular children’s TV program The Magic School Bus is coming to Netflix in 2016.
“ ’Magic School Bus,’ the old version, is remarkably popular on Netflix,” said Ted Sarandos, the company’s chief content officer, calling it the streaming service’s top educational show. “It teaches science in a way that transcends generations.
The new version, The Magic School Bus 360, will feature 26 CGI-animated episodes, and will include a modernized school bus and updated scientific tools, such as robots and a smart suit that will measure the body’s vital signs instantaneously, reports Elizabeth Jensen of The New York Times. The show will also highlight using technology as a tool to help in the scientific process. No word yet on if comedian Lily Tomlin, the voice of the original Ms. Frizzle, will return to the role.
“The all-new episodes also leverage advancements in animation, science and technology in a way that will delight a new generation of young viewers, and like its predecessor, will help kids around the world discover the magic and value of exploration and innovation,” a press statement reads.
With the United States continually falling behind in the areas of science and math, the updated show is arriving at a key point in time. Teachers are proving to have less and less of a science background, with the new standards in education focusing more on literacy.
Television can be a powerful tool in terms of actively teaching and engaging young children, and has been proven to introduce behaviors. Science is just that: the behavior of experimenting and collaborating. The TV program features friends going on adventures, discovering and exploring in a social setting. In an interview with Jessica Goldstein of ThinkProgress.org, Scholastic Media President and Executive Producer of The Magic School Bus 360° and the original Magic School Bus series, Deborah Forte said:
“When you talk to kids about Magic School Bus, they regard it as a really fun adventure series. And we’re proud of the fact that it has a female teacher hero at its core, who is also a scientist. Kids love it because it’s fun: the bus transforms, Ms. Frizzle is wild and enigmatic. And kids learn by doing, and in the Magic School Bus, no one is telling them the answers. They are experiencing the process of finding the answers for themselves.”
With is origin as a book series, the TV program was released in 1994, and became the longest-running children’s science program, continuing in syndication for 18 consecutive years, and was aired in 39 countries, writes Ben Brody for CNNMoney.
NetFlix has become a popular choice for bringing back old favorites from prior generations of television viewers. The former FOX cult comedy “Arrested Development” had a final season released there in 2013, and Cartoon Network’s “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” did the same in 2014.