What ever happened to Hexadecimal?


Or Reboot, for that matter.

This is part of my campaign to asuage people that the 90s were in fact the better decade, over the much-hyped and now incredibly trendy 80s. While that decade may have been fun for trash and kitsch appeal, the 90s were an altogether different collection of beasts. Sort of like the 80s’ darker twin. There were still awful, trashy films and songs being churned out, but this decade would also see the germination of many a now-legendary franchise.

I’ll be covering things in more depth soon, but first: children’s television. The 80s may have held the trump card in terms of cartoons like Dungeons and Dragons and She-Ra, but kid TV kind of grew up in the 90s. You had the brilliantly Art-Nouveau-styled Batman animated series, the often quite involved and complex X-Men, and a crop of scary television drama on Saturday mornings, plus Ghost Train, which marked a new kind of horror-themed Saturday morning breakfast show.

And then there was Reboot, a product of CITV I believe. Granted, you could probably create this show on your home computer now, such are the simplistic, dated graphics. But at the time, this was edgy stuff. Surreal 3D worlds populated with weird block people and green and purple-skinned humanoids, sort of like a Philip K. Dick rendition of The Simpsons. I remember a few episodes in detail; one involving a Mortal Kombat-style arena fight in which Enzo had to defeat a kind of cyborg demon with fire wings; and the episode in which evil brother/ sister duo Hexadecimal and Mega-Byte “merge”. This may have been the same episode where they’re infected by a kind of black gunk that turns everyone to sleek, black metal, which looked very cool to my child eyes.

Yes, Hexadecimal. A favourite baddie of the time. Elegant, spidery, completely insane, with her classical porcelain masks which she constantly switched and swapped around to reflect her mood. I viewed this as a kind of play on the princess from Return to Oz who owns several heads. Hex had a mask for sorrow, a mask for laughter, and a mask for total mania. The latter involved radioactive green eyes and a terrifying set of teeth.

It’s hard to encapsulate the excitement I experienced at watching this show, such was its creativity and absolute unique appeal. But suffice to say, it was something I rushed home from school for every afternoon.

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