Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / The Magic School Bus Rides Again

Go To

The Magic School Bus Rides Again is a Sequel Series to the 1990s cartoon The Magic School Bus. It is an animated Edutainment Show that airs through Netflix.

Like the original series, it follows an eccentric redheaded science teacher who takes her class of eight students on oddball field trips using her shapeshifting bus. The twist? It's not Ms. Frizzle, or at least not the one everyone knows. Ms. Valerie Frizzle — now Professor Frizzle — allowed her sister, Fiona Frizzle, to take charge of the field trips for now.

This cartoon contains examples of:

  • Abandoned Catchphrase: Every character (except for Arnold and D.A.) no longer use their catchphrases from the previous series.
  • An Aesop: The episode of "Ready, Set, Fail" has Ms. Frizzle set up a task for the students to perform and specifically wants them to fail, so they could learn from their failures and eventually come up with a design that will work to achieve their desired goal. The moral being that one can learn a lot from failure and that it is nothing to be ashamed of.
  • And I Must Scream: In order to teach the kids about fossilization and continental drift, Fiona turns the kids into prehistoric animals and just watches as they are fossilized and separated from each other by the splitting of Pangea. They are explicitly shown to be conscious for the 250-million-year-long journey.
  • And Starring: The ending cast roll ends with "and Lily Tomlin as Professor Frizzle".
  • Adapted Out: Only Phoebe hasn't returned, as Arnold states that she moved back to her old school.
  • Art Evolution: Justified, as standard TV animation has gone through so many drastic changes in the twenty years since the last episodes of the original series aired. In addition to the more streamlined designs and colored eyes (instead of Black Bead Eyes) on all of the characters, the animation itself managed to bypass the switch from cels to digitally colored traditional animation entirely and go straight to ToonBoom puppet animation. The series was originally going to be all-CG, but presumably, the show's budget was blown getting Kate McKinnon and Lin-Manuel Miranda, resulting in the animation being severely scaled back.
  • Artistic License – Animal Care: Carlos not only has a rat that is by itself, but the cage is way too small (especially the wheel) for that rat.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • In Episode 1, rabbits are depicted with pads on the bottom of their paws.
    • Wild bananas were shown pointing downwards at the end of "Ralphie and the Flying Tennelis", which is jarring since "Hides and Seeks" correctly portrayed them pointing upwards.
  • Audience Surrogate: Arnold in Episode 1 is similar to the fans of the old series trying to adjust to the class now being led by Fiona instead of Valerie, and he as well as the audience learns that the change isn't really bad at all.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: The point of the field trip of "Making Magic" is to pull one off on Mr. Ruhle, to hide the bus's magical nature.
  • Canon Foreigner: Ms. Fiona Frizzle, the class' new teacher, Phoebe's replacement Jyoti, and the monkey Goldie, are all new to the series.
  • Comic-Book Time: No one has aged much in nearly twenty-five years despite this being a sequel. At most, it's been a year in between shows as the first episode mentions that it was "over the summer".
  • Cool Teacher: Fiona and Valerie seem to share this in their genetics, as the new Miss Frizzle is a ball of energy that is very energetic as she is intelligent. She's also very witty and upbeat, making her much like her sister.
  • Darker and Edgier: While 'dark' is a bit of an exaggeration, the kids do realize there's a bit more consequences with screwing around with magic this time around. As sometimes the Aesop comes with them having to learn that using magic too much can lead to some problems.
  • Disney Death: The bus suffers this in "In The Zone" when it uses the last of its magic to get back home and is unable to get back in time to update, transforming into an ordinary school bus. Luckily Jyoti is able to restore the bus back to normal with the use of geographical time zones.
  • Demoted to Extra: Liz gets considerably less to do in the new series. Even in the post-episode segment, she's replaced by Professor Frizzle's new monkey sidekick, Goldie.
  • Dork in a Sweater: Arnold traded in his striped polo for a cardigan sweater, accentuating his geekiness.
  • Edutainment Show: It still keeps the original's theme on science, but updates the facts and technology to be more up-to-date.
  • End-of-Series Awareness: Although most likely not wanting to call their shots in case they don't get renewed, the 2nd season finale ending has a viewer asking when they're going to see Ms. Frizzle again, and she dodges the question instead of giving a straight answer. Notably the series would continue in the form of various specials none of which have any appearances from Ms. Frizzle.
  • Five-Token Band: Arnold (Jew), Dorothy Ann (white), Carlos (Hispanic), Jyoti (Indian), Tim and Keesha (black), Wanda (Asian) and Ralphie (Italian).
  • Flashback with the Other Darrin: In an example involving animation styles, the closing credits of the 2020-2021 specials show stills from original series episodes redrawn in the new style.
  • The Generic Guy: Every kid in this reboot is like having eight Tims. Unlike the other series where each kid had distinct personalities and different ways of learning, every kid in this series is like a flat Blank Slate.
  • Hard Truth Aesop: "Ready, Set, Fail" depicts the students being given a task that they cannot accomplish on the first try, and are intentionally supposed to fail and learn from it. A very good Aesop, but considering how most people interpret failure, it's very much a hard truth.
  • Identical Twin ID Tag: They don't seem to be twins, but they look similar nevertheless. Valerie and Fiona wear different clothes, Fiona wears her hair down, and their hair color is slightly different.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifter:
    • Janet suffers from this in "Janet's Mystery Gene" when the class accidentally messes with her DNA.
    • The whole group goes through this during "In The Zone" as one of the glitches of the Bus's Magicware glitching up while reinstalling.
  • Musical Episode: The premise of "Waste Not, Want Not" involves the class making a musical production, which means a lot of songs.
    • The premise of "In The Zone" involves the class attending Ms Frizzle's cousin Maven's concerts all across the world in different time zones and contains songs about them throughout the trip.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted in Professor Frizzle's segment in episode 2, where tree deaths are brought up as a variable in how trees hold up against strong winds.
  • Passing the Torch: Professor Frizzle hands over the keys to the bus to her sister.
  • Put on a Bus: Ironic, considering the show. Phoebe returns to her old school and is replaced by a new student named Jyoti.
  • Race Against the Clock: "In the Zone" has the bus suffer a malfunction that could leave the kids stuck in a random transformation when the bus reboots at midnight, literally racing against the time zones to give them more time before midnight.
  • Rank Up: The old Ms. Frizzle is now Professor Frizzle.
  • Sequel Hook: Much like Joanna Cole's original books, each episode ends with Professor Frizzle clarifying a few things about the episode's lessons, while giving a tease for the next one.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Ms. Frizzle's younger sister looks exactly like her except for having slightly darker hair and wearing her hair down.
  • Sudden Eye Colour: From the Black Bead Eyes of the original books and cartoons to everyone having eye colours like what is more common in contemporary cartoons.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • Ms. Frizzle has retired from being a bus driver and has been succeeded by her younger sister, Fiona.
    • Phoebe is the only kid who doesn’t return, on account of having transferred back to her old school. She is replaced with new lookalike student Jyoti.
  • Stealth Pun: The field trip in "The Good, the Bad, and the Gnocchi" is on a ranch made entirely out of pasta and is western themed. It is pretty much a Spaghetti Western.
  • Threatening Shark: A black-tipped shark threatens the gang in episode 3. Actually lampshaded at the end when Ms. Frizzle clarifies that the reputation sharks have as villains is unfair, since they're just predators and rarely actually attack people.
  • Tomboyish Ponytail: Professor Frizzle, Dorothy Ann and the Frizzle Fragment Fiona have them.
  • Town Girls:
    • Wanda and Dorothy Ann are the Butch, Keesha and Ms Frizzle are the femme and Jyoti is the neither.
    • This can also apply to the Frizzle Fragments. Fiona is the butch, The Friz is the femme and Frizzle is the neither.
  • Transformation Trinket: The class gets to use special devices to become animals, plants and whatnot alongside the bus's magic. Transformation itself gets a bit more use in lessons this time around.
  • Vocal Evolution: Professor Frizzle's voice has clearly aged after 20 years.