Cyberchase

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Cyberchase
Cyberchase Logo April 2014.png
Genre Educational[1]
Created by Thirteen
Directed by
  • Larry Jacobs
  • Jason Groh
Voices of
Theme music composer
  • David W. Shaw
  • Steve Pecile
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 9
No. of episodes 100 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Sandra Sheppard
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s)
Broadcast
Original channel PBS Kids
Picture format
Original airing January 21, 2002
External links
Official Website

Cyberchase is an American animated television series that premiered on January 21, 2002, on PBS Kids.

The series focuses around three earth kids, Jackie, Matt, and Inez, who are brought into Cyberspace, a digital universe, to protect it from the evil Hacker. Using math in application with problem-solving skills, environment and weather, they are able to prevent Hacker from causing any more harm. In Cyberspace, they meet Digit, a cybird that helps the kids on their mission to save Cyberspace.[2]

The series was created by Thirteen. In July 2010, after the season eight finale, PBS Kids put Cyberchase on hiatus for unknown reasons, but on their official Facebook page, Cyberchase announced the return of the show with a new season that premiered on November 4, 2013.[3] A movie was announced as well, and premiered April 15, 2014.[4][not in citation given]

Premise[edit]

When three average Earth kids, Jackie, Matt, and Inez accidentally allow the Hacker access to Motherboard, the supreme ruler of Cyberspace, she get severely weakened by a virus. The kids are brought into Cyberspace in an effort to protect Cyberspace from the Hacker and his clumsy assistants Buzz and Delete until a cure is found. They join forces with Digit, and later many more Cybercitizens that turn out to be great friends and willing to fight for Motherboard.

Characters[edit]

Main characters: Cybersquad[edit]

  • Jackie (voiced by Novie Edwards) is 11 years old and she loves to keep things neat and organized in order to figure things out. Her favorite activities include gymnastics, double Dutch, skipping, drawing, and writing plays about herself. She wears a yellow sweater with a sky blue denim skirt, red jewelry, and dull lavender hi-tops. Jackie’s biggest pet peeve is slimy and icky stuff like bugs and many other "gross" things. Like Inez, she was very fond of Slider. Wicked called her Jacqueline once in episode 409 to try to be nice to her. Matt called her that in the same episode just to tease her. In a running gag, Jackie sometimes freaks out when in a crisis. This encourages Matt to taunt her by making an Academy Awards-like "award goes to" comment. However, from the fifth season on, Jackie becomes more calm. Jackie hates the Hacker and thinks he is gross. Iconic line: "Make room – I gotta pace!"
  • Matt (voiced by Jacqueline Pillon) is 11 years old and the leader of the Cybersquad. He likes skateboards and collecting things (his backpack is always full of useful items). He is impulsive, impatient, tells jokes, and knows a lot about Greek mythology and Star Wars. He usually wears a long lime-green turtle neck, a red backpack, neon blue jeans, and red hi-tops. According to episode 403, it is mentioned that Matt is impatient. He has a pig named Sherman on his family farm and loves other animals such as frogs and lizards. Matt’s red backpack contains his many ken-kens and yo-yos which he is very good at using. He frequently calls Inez by the nickname, "Nezzie", much to her annoyance. It is also shown he can be quite protective of her at times. Inez called him Matthew twice in season two episodes 205 and 214 just to tease him. Matt is considered the hero of the group. Iconic line: "Touchdown!"
  • Inez (voiced by Annick Obonsawin) is nine years old and is well known for her excellent vocabulary, for which the others often tease her. She mostly wears a pink long sleeve t-shirt with a yellow star on the front, teal shorts, a purple hooded vest, a pair of square glasses, and high blue boots. Despite being the youngest human member of the gang (only by a year), she is the smartest one. Inez’s biggest pet peeve is when Matt calls her "Nezzie", though she is fine with Slider calling her that. When asked why by Matt, she replies, “He’s… different”, implying that she likes Slider. Inez wears a Sherlock hat in season two, episode 212. Iconic line "This is not good, this is not good at all!"
  • Digit LeBoid (voiced by Gilbert Gottfried) is a cybird[clarification needed] who works for Motherboard and is the kids' best friend. He and the kids protect Cyberspace and Motherboard from Hacker. Digit was created by Hacker and worked for him for a long time, along with Buzz and Delete. He escaped after learning of Hacker's evil doings. He became one of Motherboard's helpers, serving as Dr. Marbles' assistant. He would later join the Cybersquad. Digit can fly by spinning his tail feathers in a helicopter-fashion, or simply by flapping his wings (there are a few episodes where it shows Digit flying with his wings). But he has a fear of heights and prefers to walk, despite the fact that he can fly.. He is a cook and wrote his two popular cookbooks The Cyber Chef and Cookin' with the Didge. He carries many objects in his chest, including Widget. He used to try building virtual nests and did not have such accurate practice. He can turn his beak into just about anything, and bends it on occasion. He also can disguise his voice very well. Iconic line "Yoikes!"

Note: The Cybersquad is also known as "Earthlies" by Digit, and as "Earthbrats" by Hacker.[5]

Main characters: antagonists[edit]

  • Hacker (Christopher Lloyd) is the main antagonist in the series. In almost every episode, he is trying to conquer all or a part of Cyberspace, but is thwarted each time by the Cybersquad. He resembles Elvis Presley, a fact he appears to be aware of, but is green-faced and wears a black wig and has a pointy chin of which he is vain. He also wears a bicoloured cape. He was created by Dr. Marbles to assist Motherboard, but he rebelled and was exiled to a cybersite called the Northern Frontier. Nevertheless, he does have potential to become good again, as shown in one of the episodes where he became a peaceful artist (temporarily). He has two cyborg lackeys, Buzz and Delete, whose reliability is quite variable; sometimes, he gets very peeved when he has to do things himself that Buzz and Delete can't. He travels in his large spaceship, the Grim Wreaker.
  • Buzz (Len Carlson [2002–2005] and Phil Williams [2006–2014]) is one of Hacker's henchmen, a small spherical cyborg with a large mouth and scrawny limbs, but he seems to think he is a big tough guy; however, he can be kind at times and loves doughnuts.
  • Delete (Rob Tinkler) is the skinnier of the two of Hacker's henchman, the other being Buzz. He is loyal to Hacker. Unlike Buzz, who is more rough around the edges, Delete is softer and more vulnerable to trickery and deceit. He cares deeply for three things: Buzz, whom he has a brotherly friendship with, his pet bunny George, and Zanko, his fairy borg father.
  • The Wicked Witch (Linda Ballantyne) is a character from the cyber-site Happily Ever After, a cyber-site with characters from nursery rhymes and fairy tales. Wicked, tired of seeing everybody happy and joyful, asked Hacker for help creating misery there. She and Hacker, for most of the series, were in love with each other, but often there interactions would end in arguments. She later broke up with Hacker during an incident in which he briefly succeeded in taking over cyberspace, and Hacker angrily broke up with her over extravagant spending. The Wicked Witch has since made multiple attempts to conquer cyberspace herself, much to Hacker's dismay. She and Hacker have since taken their turns loving and hating each other.
  • Ledge (Alex Karzis) is presumably from Sensible Flats, and was a fan of Hacker, who anonymously created a device in Sensible Flats to turn everybody in Sensible Flats into people who both looked and behave like Hacker. Hacker was briefly impressed with his apparent success, until Inez single handedly defeated the machine Ledge created to do it, however, Hacker ended up getting mad at him, and kicked him off of the ship. Ledge has since been Hacker's nemesis, and also a whole lot smarter and prepared htan Hacker. He has only made 2 appearances in the series, however, and has not appeared in the most recent season, and has yet to make another appearance.
  • Baskerville is a hunch backed cyborg whose native Cyber-site is unknown because Hacker hired him from a employment company called Henchman-to-go (but could be from Casteblanca), was hired by Hacker after creating a scheme resulting in him having perfect luck. Too vain to realize his plan could still fail, he fired Buzz and Deleted in favor of hiring a new henchman whom he hoped would be better help. Baskerville was hired from Henchman-to-go because Hacker wanted somebody who was both evil and worked cheap. After Buzz and Delete, out of jealousy, anonymously helped the cyber squad defeat Hacker, and Hacker's plan consequentially failed. When Hacker went back to having bad luck, Baskerville quit his job with Hacker. Nevertheless, at one point of the series he must have changed his mind because he has returned on many occasions to help Hacker – but he is constantly begrudged by Buzz and Delete in almost every case he is working with, (or else trying to impress) Hacker. Although Hacker has aquired, at one point in the series, other evil helpers besides Buzz and Delete (including Baskerville himself), Baskerville has made appearances early on in the season and is worth noting. He also made an appearance along with the Wicked Witch, who gathered some villains together to make a truce with Motherboard, in order to throw suspicion off of her own plots to take over Cyberspace.

"Cyberchase For Real" characters[edit]

  • Harry Wilson (Matthew A. Wilson) is one of the main protagonists in the "For Real" segment. He often dresses in a nerdish style and wears horn-rimmed glasses and Converse shoes. In many of the segments, he is rather careless, which usually costs him his current job. He is also very creative and thought out when he encounters a problem.
  • Bianca DeGroat (Bianca DeGroat) is one of the main protagonists in the "For Real" segment of the series. She often uses the original plot (the animated main plot) to solve everyday real world problems. As a character, she is rather absent-minded, arrogant, and self-centered, and does not think before she acts. She is seen to get carried away very easily.

Recurring characters: Team Motherboard[edit]

  • Motherboard (Kristina Nicoll) is the relaxed and benevolent ruler of Cyberspace and lives in the Cybersite Control Central. She looks similar to a mainframe. Her former assistant was Hacker who put a virus in her, but because her firewall was not fully uploaded before the virus hit, she was only left weak. The Cybersquad tries to recover the Encryptor Chip and keep Motherboard safe from Hacker.
  • Dr. Marbles (Richard Binsley) is the smart and brilliant inventor who serves Motherboard. He is full of ideas, as the lightbulb on his head suggests. His speech is peppered with computer terms, like "backspace" instead of "hold on a minute". He is the one responsible for creating Hacker to help and defend Motherboard, although Hacker would later rebel against Motherboard and try to destroy her. A guilty Marbles would then downgrade Hacker's power and banish him to the Northern Frontier for his wrongful actions, right after Hacker vowed to return to finish Motherboard and Marbles before taking over Cyberspace.
  • Widget (Gilbert Gottfried) is a small likeness of Digit. His hat, tail feathers, and bowtie are not screwed on properly. He is seen in episodes 124, 206, 308, and 504. In episode 124, it is revealed that he cannot fly yet. He is younger than Digit and helps Digit when it is necessary.
  • TW "Teeny Weeny Parallini" is a small square girl Parallini. She is not scared of Hacker, and despite the fact that her mother would not let her help the Cybersquad, she does help them find Diamond Joe.
  • Fluff (Austin Dilulio) is a penguin that plays hockey, which is hard in Cyberia. He is logical and does not buy into advertisements. Fluff is determined to follow in his father's footsteps and to make his family proud. He helped the Cybersquad with the ?Hacker's challenge.
  • Creech (Stephanie Beard) is the young ruler in the Cybersite, Tikiville. She became the apparent Big Kahuna (the term for their rulers in Tikiville) after competing in a race with other Tikiville-inhabitants as well as Hacker. Creech is in some ways similar to Inez, and those ways helped the two to become friends easily. Both have a fairly similar outlook, which is optimistic until something goes completely wrong, and they both have a large vocabulary, which, in Inez's case, causes her to be made fun of. She also is the person in charge of Tikiville's Egg of Benedicta.
  • Jules (Scott McCord) was first seen as a cave guard in episode 507, is a good friend of the Cybersquad, but is often timid. He appears again in episode 607, where Hacker tricks him into pressing the nose of the Jam Master, causing Matt, Jackie, Creech and himself to get sucked into the chamber of Jimaya. After that he appeared in 801 where he helped in Hacker's challenge. He is often trying to find a job, but Hacker continuously tries to ruin it for him.
  • Slider (Tim Hamaguchi) is a serious and James Dean-style 13-year-old skateboarder in Radopolis who builds and repairs skateboards and bikes. Since season three, he has been a recurring character in the series. According to Slider, his father Coop had abandoned him when he was younger because Hacker had hunted Coop for many years. However, in the episode "Measure for Measure" he finds out that his father abandoned him to protect him.

Minor characters and guest stars[edit]

Cyberchase has had many guest stars over the years, including Tony Hawk. These guest stars appear as citizens of Cybersites, villains, friends, or even rulers of the site.

Episodes[edit]

Season Episodes
First aired Last aired
1 26 January 21, 2002 July 10, 2002
2 14 February 14, 2003 October 31, 2003
3 12 May 3, 2004 December 31, 2004
4 10 April 15, 2005 October 7, 2005
5 10 October 31, 2006 September 3, 2007
6 10 November 7, 2007 October 27, 2008
7 7 April 21, 2009 October 6, 2009
8 5 June 25, 2010 July 23, 2010
9 TBD November 4, 2013 TBD

Live action[edit]

Each Cyberchase episode is followed by Cyberchase For Real, a live-action educational supplement linking concepts learned in the show to real life experiences. The actors Bianca DeGroat and Harry Matthew A. Wilson are in their thirties, but amusingly act in a manner similar to the age of the target audience. For Real is produced by WNET in and around New York City after production is completed on the animated segments. These For Real segments are broadcast exclusively on PBS in the United States where the program runs longer and fill the time gap where there might be breaks for commercials. Some For Real segments can also be viewed online.[6] As of September 17, 2012, "Oh Noah", shorts that teach kids to speak Spanish, have been used instead of re-running the "For Real" segments.[7] The "For Real" segment returned in season nine, but only with Harry. He is now working for a student camp that teaches kids about the environment, he has student leaders, and works with his cousin Harley. It features progressive music with lots of synthesizers, a la Broken Wings[disambiguation needed].

History and education philosophy[edit]

According to the website, Motherboard (sometimes referred to as "Mother B.") is the "Brain of the giant computer system that oversees all of Cyberspace.[8] Her technician computer scientist, Dr. Marbles, keeps her functioning properly. Dr. Marbles creates Hacker as an assistant, but Hacker turns against Motherboard. Digit is the assistant to Hacker and watches as Hacker steals the Encryptor Chip. He eventually escapes Hacker, after Dr. Marbles drains Hacker's battery and banishes him to the Northern Frontier. Eventually Hacker is able to find a way to recharge himself, build Buzz and Delete, and formulate a plan to launch a virus that attacks Motherboard. When the kids Jackie, Matt, and Inez, meet by a random chance, and interact with a library map, this opens up a door for Hacker to infect Motherboard with the virus.

Cyberchase aims to show kids that math is everywhere and everyone can be good at it. The series encourages viewers to see, think, and do mathematics in their world. The show and supporting activities have been designed to support math education and reflect the curriculum standards of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.[9] The show’s philosophy is to foster enthusiasm for math, to model mathematic reasoning, to help children improve their problem-solving skills and to inspire all children to approach math with confidence and a "can-do" attitude.[10]

Cybersites[edit]

Main article: List of Cybersites

Cyberspace consists of plane-like bodies called Cybersites which are based on locations such as Ancient Egypt, the American Old West, mythological Greece, and Carnival. The Cybersquad travels to many of these locations in order to protect Cyberspace from Hacker. Each Cybersite has their own type of Cybercitizen if it is inhabited. They are meant to represent the diversity of websites on the Internet, and reflect the many ecosystems and neighborhoods of today's world. For example, Gollywood is a Cyberspace representation of Hollywood, and Pefectamundo represent the 100% sustainable ecosystem of tomorrow.

Apps[edit]

There are two apps the Cyberchase has released to date:

  1. Cyberchase 3D Builder: Bumbling bots Buzz and Delete accidentally zapped the houses in Botopolis totally flat. Help rebuild the town by turning 2D shapes into 3D structures.[11]
  2. Cyberchase Shape Quest: Buzz and Delete are back in Botopolis for another fun-filled adventure. Play with them and their animal friends through three math-based games focused on geometry, spatial reasoning and problem solving.[12]

Broadcast and production[edit]

Development[edit]

Origninally, Thirteen, in partnership with Nelvana, produced the show for PBS Kids. It aired on PBS Kids from 2002–2004 and from 2013–2014, on V-me, PBS, and on PBS Kids Go from 2004–2013. Cyberchase is animated (after season five) by Pip Animation Services Inc. Right Path Pictures does post production, and Curious Pictures did the original character design. Twelfth Root Music produces the sound track for Cyberchase. Thirteen/WNET New York and Nelvana produced the first five seasons, while Thirteen, in association with Title Entertainment, Inc. and WNET.ORG, produced seasons six through nine.[13]

Executive producers

  • Sandra Sheppard (Thirteen)
  • Kristin Laskas Martin (Thirteen, seasons 1–12
  • Michael Hirsh (Nelvana International, seasons 1–12)
  • Patrick Loubert (Nelvana International seasons 1–12)
  • Clive A. Smith (Nelvana International seasons 1–12)
  • Toper Taylor (Nelvana International seasons 1–17)
  • Paul Robertson (Nelvana International seasons 3–15)
  • Doug Murphy (Nelvana International seasons 4–14)
  • Scott Dyer (Nelvana International seasons 2–12)
  • Frances Nankin (seasons 6–8)
  • Ellen Doherty (seasons 6–9)

Animation style[edit]

Funding[edit]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

On the site Common Sense Media, the show was for ages 5 and up and rated four out of five stars. The reviewer, Joly Herman, commented that "the adventures aren't scary, violent, or sexually inappropriate" but "require fortitude and brain power". Proposed discussion points sprouting from the series include "Can your child take the skills learned in each episode and figure out how to apply it to everyday life?" Herman noted that the only downside was that the adventures did not take place in the "real world" but added that the "For Real" segments solved this problem. The show was given a rating of three out of five smiley faces under the "The Good Stuff" section.[1]

Carey Bryson of About.com gave the show a rating of four out of five stars. Bryson noted that the series' explanations of "simple mathematical idea[s]" are "usually explained well and woven throughout the story in a fun and interesting way". The review commended the series for its accessibility: "Children can easily learn from the example in the cartoon story" and praised the "Cyberchase For Real segment that follows each episode". Citing an example from the series using codes, Bryson explained how the show could be used to expand upon the curriculum: "Not only did [her five-year-old] learn about codes, but she also got in a ton of spelling practice". Bryson commended the series: "Educationally, Cyberchase delivers".[14]

Awards[edit]

Cyberchase has been nominated for five Daytime Emmys and won in 2007 in the Outstanding Broadband Program category.[15] Cyberchase also won a CINE Golden Eagle in 2006.[16]

Year Category Recipient(s) Result
2007 Outstanding Broadband Program – Children's See below Won
2008 Outstanding New Approaches – Children's See below Nominated
Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program[17] Christopher Lloyd Nominated
2009 Outstanding New Approaches – Daytime Children's See below Nominated
2012 Outstanding New Approaches – Daytime Children's See below Nominated

^2007 Outstanding Broadband Program nominees : Frances Nankin, Sandra Sheppard, Ellen Doherty, Jill Peters, Bob Morris, Suzanne Rose, Michelle Chen, Elizabeth Hummer, Arash Hoda, Anthony Chapman, David Hirmes, Bianca DeGroat, Matthew A. Wilson, George Arthur Bloom[15]
^2008 Outstanding New Approaches nominees : Sandra Sheppard, Frances Nankin, Ellen Doherty, Jill Peters, David Hirmes, Kelly Lafferty, Michelle Chen, Tanner Vea, Bob Morris, Matthew A. Wilson[18]
^2009 Outstanding New Approaches nominees : Sandra Sheppard, Frances Nankin, Ellen Doherty, David Hirmes, Tanner Vea, Denyse Ouellette, Gilbert Gottfried, Phil Williams, Robert Tinkler[19]
^2012 Outstanding New Approaches nominees : Frances Nankin, Sandra Sheppard, Jill Peters, Marj Kleinman, Ellen Doherty, Kristin DiQuollo, Michelle Chen[20]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Herman, Joly. "Cyberchase". common sense media. Retrieved January 2, 2011. 
  2. ^ pbs.org
  3. ^ "Cyberchase – Timeline Photos – Facebook". facebook.com. Retrieved March 23, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Cyberchase – Cyberchase's Photos – Facebook". facebook.com. Retrieved March 23, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Cyberchase. Meet the CyberSquad – PBS KIDS". pbskids.org. Retrieved March 23, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Cyberchase Videos". Thirteen. Retrieved October 14, 2012. 
  7. ^ Miramar-Garcia, Gabriel (September 17, 2012). "PBS to broadcast Oh Noah! with Cyberchase for Hispanic Heritage month". Rapid TV News. Retrieved October 14, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Cyberchase How it all Started". 
  9. ^ "National Council of Teachers of Mathematics". Nctm.org. Retrieved October 5, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Cyberchase Learning Goals". Pbs.org. Retrieved October 5, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Cyberchase 3D Builder Mobile Downloads – PBS KIDS". pbskids.org. Retrieved March 23, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Cyberchase Shape Quest Mobile Downloads – PBS KIDS". pbskids.org. Retrieved March 23, 2015. 
  13. ^ "About Cyberchase". Pbs.org. Retrieved October 5, 2012. 
  14. ^ Bryson, Carey. "Cyberchase – TV Show Review". About.com. Retrieved January 2, 2011. 
  15. ^ a b "34th Annual Creative Arts & Entertainment Emmy Awards Presented At Star-Studded Hollywood Gala". The Emmy Awards. Retrieved October 13, 2012. 
  16. ^ "2006 Winner Directory" (PDF). Cine Golden Eagle Film & Video Competition. p. 1. Retrieved October 13, 2012. 
  17. ^ "The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Announces the 35th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Award Nominations". The Emmy Awards. Retrieved October 14, 2012. 
  18. ^ Awards for "Cyberchase". The Internet Movie Database. Accessed September 24, 2012.
  19. ^ "Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards: 36th Annual Nominations Announcement". The Emmy Awards. Retrieved October 14, 2012. 
  20. ^ "The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Announces the 39th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Award Nominations". The Emmy Awards. Retrieved October 14, 2012. 

External links[edit]