Call them CSI: Kids. Or maybe Children in Black. Meet the Odd Squad, TVO’s latest kids series designed to educate as well as entertain. The team, consisting of agents with names all starting with the letter “o,” investigate math mysteries in their small town.
Wednesday’s first case? “Zero Effect,” which finds partners Otto (Filip Geljo) and Olive (Dalila Bela) reporting to their boss, Ms. O (Millie Davis), after an art installation of 1,000 pieces of chewed-up bubble gum is reduced to just one piece. After zipping through clear tubes from Odd Squad’s super-secret headquarters and into the town, they learn friend Polly has lost a zero off the 50 cent price of the hot chocolate she’s selling, cutting into her profits. Using math–and super-cool CGI–Olive explains how taking away zeroes affects numbers using tenths, hundredths and thousandths.
Turns out the lack of zeroes is due to a suspected Number Hog that is unwittingly consuming the digits from the world. The Odd Squad urgently tries to figure out who–or what–is doing it because Otto’s birthday is tomorrow and he’s supposed to turn 10. If they don’t stop the Hog in time he’ll lose that zero and turn back into a baby.
Created Tim McKeon (Adventure Time) and Adam Peltzman (The Backyardigans), each half-hour episode of the Toronto-shot Odd Squad is geared towards kids in Grades 1 and 2 and aims to strengthen math skills. It certainly does that but–unlike some math classes–has fun doing it. The agents are smart and sassy (Ms. O is an over-the-top hoot) and HQ is a riot of colours, sounds and interesting beasts. Floating monster fish, a Tyrannosaurus Rex, super-cool climbing wall and … wait for it … a unicorn all call the joint home.
Odd Squad debuts Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. ET on TVO. It then airs Mondays at 5:30 p.m. ET and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. ET on TVO.