From left to right: Matt, Jackie and Inez
|Created by||Sandra Sheppard|
|Theme music composer||
|Country of origin||
|No. of seasons||10|
|No. of episodes||104 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Sandra Sheppard|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original network||PBS Kids|
|Original release||January 21, 2002– present|
Cyberchase is an American–Canadian animated television series 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.
Cyberchase was created by Thirteen. It was first shown on WNET as a "sneak peek" on March 24, 2000, before making its official debut on January 21, 2002. In 2010, after the season eight finale, PBS put the series on hiatus, but it returned in 2013 for a ninth season, followed by a tenth season in 2015.
- 1 Premise
- 2 Characters
- 3 Episodes
- 4 History and education philosophy
- 5 Cybersites
- 6 Apps
- 7 Broadcast and production
- 8 Reception
- 9 References
- 10 External links
When three average Earth kids, Jackie, Matt, and Inez accidentally allow the Hacker access to Motherboard, the supreme ruler of Cyberspace, she becomes severely weakened by a virus. The kids are brought into Cyberspace in an effort to protect the world 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 who are willing to fight for Motherboard.
- Jackie (voiced by Novie Edwards) loves to keep things neat and organized in order to figure things out. She has black hair worn on a bun, 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.
- Matt (voiced by Jacqueline Pillon) 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 has shaggy orange hair, he usually wears a long lime-green turtle neck, a red backpack, neon blue jeans, and red hi-tops. 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.
- Inez (voiced by Annick Obonsawin) has an excellent vocabulary, for which the others often tease her. She has shoulder length brown hair, 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. Sometimes, she also does a headstand in her time of thinking.
- Digit LeBoid (voiced by Gilbert Gottfried) is a "cybird" (portmanteau of "cyborg" and bird), 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. Despite his ability to fly, he has a fear of heights and prefers to walk. 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 can turn his beak into just about anything, and bends it on occasion. He also can disguise his voice very well.
Note: The Cybersquad is also known as "Earthlies" by Digit, and as "Earthbrats" by Hacker.
- Hacker (voiced by Christopher Lloyd) is the main antagonist in the series. In almost every episode, he is trying to take over 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 (voiced by: Len Carlson [2002–2006] and Phil Williams [2006–present]) 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 (nicknamed "DeeDee", voiced by Rob Tinkler) is the skinnier of Hacker's henchmen. 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.
"Cyberchase For Real" characters
- Harry Wilson (played by 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 (played by Herself) 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
- Motherboard (voiced by Kristina Nicoll) is the relaxed and benevolent ruler of Cyberspace and lives in Cyberspace Control Central, and the mentor to Jackie, Matt, Inez, and Digit. 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 (voiced by 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 off before taking over Cyberspace.
- Widget (voiced by Gilbert Gottfried) is a small likeness of Digit. His hat, tail feathers, and bowtie are not screwed on properly. He is younger than Digit and helps Digit when it is necessary.
- TW "Teeny Weeny Parallini" is a small square girl. 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 (voiced by 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 (voiced by Stephanie Beard) is the young ruler of 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, helping the two to become friends easily. Both have a fairly similar outlook: optimistic until something goes completely wrong, and they both have a large vocabulary. She also is the person in charge of Tikiville's Egg of Benedicta.
- Jules (voiced by 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 (voiced by 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.
- Wicked (voiced by Linda Ballantyne, also called the Wicked Witch).
Minor characters and guest stars
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.
|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||5||November 4, 2013||April 15, 2014|
|10||5||November 9, 2015||November 13, 2015|
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 fills the time gap where there might be breaks for commercials. Some For Real segments can also be viewed online. 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. The "For Real" segment returned in season nine, but now only with Harry. He is now working, with other student leaders and his cousin Harley, for a student camp that teaches kids about the environment. It features progressive music with lots of synthesizers.
History and education philosophy
According to the website, Motherboard (sometimes referred to as "Mother B.") is the "Brain of the giant computer system that oversees all of Cyberspace. Her technician computer scientist, Dr. Marbles, keeps her functioning properly. Dr. Marbles created Hacker as an assistant, but Hacker turned against Motherboard. Digit is the assistant to Hacker and witnessed Hacker stealing the Encryptor Chip. After Dr. Marbles drains Hacker's battery and banishes him to the Northern Frontier, Digit is able to escape Hacker. 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. 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.
Cyberspace consists of plane-like bodies called Cybersites which are based on themes such as Ancient Egypt, the American Old West, Greek mythology, and amusement park. The Cybersquad travels to many of these locations in order to protect Cyberspace from Hacker. Each inhabited Cybersite has their own type of Cybercitizen. 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.
There are two apps that Cyberchase has released to date:
Broadcast and production
Originally, Thirteen, in partnership with Nelvana, produced the show for PBS Kids. It aired on PBS Kids from 2002–04 and 2013–14, and on V-me, PBS, and on PBS Kids Go! from 2004–13. Cyberchase is animated (after season 5) 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.
- Sandra Sheppard (Thirteen)
- Kristin Laskas Martin (Thirteen, seasons 1–5)
- Michael Hirsh (Nelvana International, seasons 1–2)
- Patrick Loubert (Nelvana International, seasons 1)
- Clive A. Smith (Nelvana International, seasons 1)
- Toper Taylor (Nelvana International, seasons 1–2)
- Paul Robertson (Nelvana International, season 3)
- Doug Murphy (Nelvana International, season 4)
- Scott Dyer (Nelvana International, season 2–4)
- Frances Nankin (season 6–8)
- Ellen Doherty (season 6–9)
- Kristin DiQuollo
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.
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".
|2007||Outstanding Broadband Program – Children's||See below||Won|
|2008||Outstanding New Approaches – Children's||See below||Nominated|
|Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program||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
^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
^2009 Outstanding New Approaches nominees : Sandra Sheppard, Frances Nankin, Ellen Doherty, David Hirmes, Tanner Vea, Denyse Ouellette, Gilbert Gottfried, Phil Williams, Robert Tinkler
^2012 Outstanding New Approaches nominees : Frances Nankin, Sandra Sheppard, Jill Peters, Marj Kleinman, Ellen Doherty, Kristin DiQuollo, Michelle Chen
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- "About Cyberchase". Pbs.org. Retrieved 2012-10-05.
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- "34th Annual Creative Arts & Entertainment Emmy Awards Presented At Star-Studded Hollywood Gala". The Emmy Awards. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
- "2006 Winner Directory" (PDF). Cine Golden Eagle Film & Video Competition. p. 1. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
- "The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Announces the 35th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Award Nominations". The Emmy Awards. Retrieved October 14, 2012.
- Awards for "Cyberchase". The Internet Movie Database. Accessed September 24, 2012.
- "Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards: 36th Annual Nominations Announcement". The Emmy Awards. Retrieved October 14, 2012.
- "The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Announces the 39th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Award Nominations". The Emmy Awards. Retrieved October 14, 2012.