The first season of Netflix’s version of The Magic School Bus had a lot to deal with, as the soft reboot to a much-loved show that was a part of the nostalgia for so many people, it had a lot of issues when compared. But like I said in our season one review, The Magic School Bus Rides Again had a strong first outing for the old class in a new era. Its issues were with Phoebe’s replacement, Jyoti, and its neglecting of the original in terms of continuity. And even then it was minuscule and semi rectified by the end of the first season (Jyoti‘s moments of mary-sue still grated sometimes but meh.)
With the first season under its belt and building off what it established in that season, I will happily say that season two of The Magic School Bus Rides Again is also amazingly well done, and perhaps sports what can be considered the best/most unique episode of the entire franchise.
We will get to that in a moment.
Season two picks up where season one left off: Ms. Fiona Frizzle’s 5th-grade class continues to go on exotic and magically charged scientific field trips, with the classes original teacher, Professor Frizzle, answering questions children viewing may have in the “Call the Magic School bus” Segments.
I’m guessing the writers had a good talk because the kids definitely grew a bit. Don’t get me wrong, they are still the respective archetypes they were before, but now those traits feel bit more fleshed out. Carlos and Ralphie’s ability to reason scientific concepts out despite being noted as jokesters is shown to be because they are unknowingly hyper-observant and can retain information without notice. Tim’s art skills are paired beside a love of puzzles and storytelling. Arnold gets a bit of an explanation of his nervous traits as well as a semi-resolution. Wanda’s love of animals comes from an appreciation of nature and life science concepts in general, though, arguably to annoying heights (more on that later…)
Even Jyoti has calmed down all of her super genius inventions, though they are still there.
I appreciate the balancing the kids underwent. There was even an episode where the kids learn that failure is okay–a very nice message. That being said, it does cause a few issues as we get more of each character; criticisms can arise when compared with the original. It’s something the show’s second season doesn’t deserve but will happen anyway because of nostalgia.
And most complaints will have to deal with Wanda.
Fans coming in from watching the original series will be taken back a bit. In the original series, Wanda was a tough girl who hated sappy and constantly chased thrills. The current Wanda endangered her class because she was afraid of making clouds sad…
She is easily distracted from their current tasks by what I can only label as the early stages of being a manic pixie dream girl. The change felt weird originally, but when compared to season one of the Netflix series, it is all in character.
The show knows itself, and best example of that is the episode about Poo-ka-dump-a-doody (as the show calls it), or poop. Let us just be frank and say what it is about. It is about poop. It is also a musical. Yes, there is a musical episode about poop…
It is one of the best and most memorable episodes across the entire franchise and deserves to get the credit it has earned. It is funny, memorable, the songs are weirdly catchy, and I will be blunt and say that I learned a lot… about poop.
SO WHAT’S OUR VERDICT!
Season two of the Magic School Bus Rides Again does what the first season did but better. It has a few issues that the first season also had wrong, but did much better in the right places. If you enjoyed the first season, then watch it. If you were a bit put off by the first season, try the second season out (especially the poop episode.) And if you can’t check your nostalgia at the door, continue to give the series a wide berth.