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Netflix Orders 'Magic School Bus' Series for 2016

Photo of Jacob Combs By Jacob Combs | Thompson on Hollywood June 11, 2014 at 11:42AM

Children of the 90s, rejoice: the "Magic School Bus" is returning for more passengers.
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Magic School Bus

Children of the 90s, rejoice: the "Magic School Bus" is returning for more passengers.  The New York Times reports that Netflix has ordered a new series based on the Scholastic Media property, part of the streaming service's continued push into original content geared towards children.

The new show will be called "The Magic School Bus 360°" and is set to be produced using CG animation, not traditional hand-drawn techniques like its 1990s predecessor.  Twenty-six half hour episodes will go live on the site sometime in 2016.

Last year, Netflix acquired the rights to a host of Scholastic properties, including "Clifford the Big Red Dog" and "Goosebumps."  "The Magic School Bus" is a sensible early step into the market for Netflix (before it branches out, no doubt, with more children's book-based programming): the longest-running children's science program, it was shown in some 39 countries.

We expect that the "360°" version of the bus will undergo some modernizing--and there's no word as to whether Lily Tomlin will reprise her role as Ms. Frizzle, the show's unforgettable schoolteacher.  

Last year, Netflix premiered its first original series for kids: "Turbo F.A.S.T.," a series from DreamWorks Animation based on the studio's eponymous feature from last year.  But "The Magic School Bus 360°" is something different: a show based on a well-known, beloved property, and a venture into the educational space.  Not surprisingly, Netflix continues to stick its fingers in many pies, no doubt waiting to taste its next sweet hit.

This article is related to: Netflix, In The Works, Animals, Web/Tech


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.