Cyberchase is an ongoing animated educational children's television series, created to teach basic STEM concepts, mainly mathematics and, more recently, environmental science. It includes action-adventure, science fiction, and comedy elements. Cyberchase has aired since 2002 on PBS Kids and been produced by Canada-based animation studio Nelvana and Thirteen/WNET New York. It is the third-longest currently running PBS Kids series, after Sesame Street and Arthur.
The main plot centers three Earth children (Inez, Jackie, and Matt) and their robotic bird friend Digit, in their quest to protect Cyberspace and its ruler Motherboard. This usually involves developing and applying a STEM concept under time pressure to thwart the villainous Hacker's plans. After each episode is Cyberchase For Real, a live-action segment that demonstrates the same topic in a more practical context. The show's website, Cyberchase Online, hosts interactive and supplementary materials such as games and activities.
Cyberchase's learning goals are to demonstrate the usefulness and universality of math, foster enthusiasm and confidence for the subject, and help improve problem-solving skills. The show's content is designed to reflect national curriculum standards and has been vetted by formative and summative research.
Dr. Marbles, Motherboard's chief technician, created Hacker as an assistant, who in turn created Digit. Hacker grew jaded and greedy, and began plotting to take over Cyberspace. He intended to use the Transformatron to defeat Motherboard, but Coop destroyed the blueprints and hid the components. In retaliation, Hacker corrupted Coop with magnetite. When Hacker was caught removing Motherboard's Encryptor Chip, Dr. Marbles drained his battery and Motherboard banished him to the Northern Frontier.
Hacker brought Digit and had him construct the Grim Wreaker, fitted with a Recharger Chair. Hacker used the ship to blackout several cybersites, but Digit rebelled, restoring the power and escaping Hacker's imprisonment. Hacker later created Buzz and Delete as his new henchmen.
Eons later, Hacker has found a way to create a breach in Cyberspace near Motherboard Control Central, by having Inez, Jackie, and Matt touch a real-world library computer map at the same time. This allows Hacker to send a virus to Motherboard as she is undergoing an upgrade and has her firewall down. Motherboard suffers partial damage, and her Encryptor Chip is destroyed. She summons the Earth children to Cyberspace, and they team up with Digit to undo Hacker's damage, forming the CyberSquad.
Hacker creates various schemes to usurp Motherboard or specific cybersites, which the CyberSqud almost always foils. Both are in search of a replacement Encryptor Chip for Motherboard, which can be used to cure Motherboard's virus. Wicked becomes a secondary antagonist who has feelings for Hacker at first, but they prove unable to get along and eventually become rivals.
The CyberSquad meets Coop's abandoned son, Slider. Slider's search for his father seemingly leads to the Encryptor Chip, which is being auctioned off. The CyberSquad earns enough money to win the auction, but the Encryptor Chip turns out to be a fake that Hacker created to compress Motherboard onto internal storage, replace her with his likeness, and block attempted reboots so that restoring Motherboard through a backdoor will require and destroy the real Encryptor Chip. With Hacker in control of Cyberspace, chaos ensues. The CyberSquad saves the Encryptor Chip from destruction and sacrifices it to reinstall Motherboard.
Hacker sets his sights on the components of the Transformatron to rebuild it. The CyberSquad finds Coop, but Hacker follows them and seizes the final component, the Network Interface Card. However, powering off the Transformatron undoes its effects. Though Hacker persists at rebuilding the machine, the CyberSquad permanently disposes of the Network Interface Card, thwarting his plans.
Though Hacker continues scheming, his constant defeats sink his reputation and evil image. A new villain, Ledge, nearly takes over Sensible Flats and defeats the CyberSquad, but Inez turns off Ledge's machine at the last second, leading Hacker to reject him. Ledge proves himself an antagonist to the CyberSquad and Hacker alike, pushing the rivals to cooperate more often, to their chagrin.
- Main article: Characters
- Main article: Episodes
Cyberchase is rated four out of five stars for ages 5 and up on Common Sense Media. The show won a CINE Golden Eagle Award in 2006, and a Daytime Emmy Award in the Outstanding Broadband Program category in 2007.
- Cyberchase. Learning Goals | PBS Parents. Internet Archive.
- "Lost My Marbles"
- "The Wedding Scammer"
- "The Borg of the Ring"
- "The Snelfu Snafu: Part 1"
- "The Snelfu Snafu: Part 2"
- "Peace, Love, and Hackerness"
- Cyberchase TV Review. Common Sense Media.
- Cyberchase | PBS LearningMedia
- Donut Dinero. Internet Archive. May 7, 2009.
- Cyberchase on iTunes. Apple.