Odd Squad is a Canadian/American children's live action educational television series that premiered on TVOKids in Canada and PBS Kids in the United States on November 26, 2014. The series was created by Tim McKeon and Adam Peltzman and is co-produced by The Fred Rogers Company and Sinking Ship Entertainment in association with TVOKids and Ici Radio-Canada Télé. The series features child actors (whose characters are the employees of the "Odd Squad") who use indirect reasoning and basic math to solve and investigate strange happenings in their town. This is commonly in the form of satire—or other comedic archetypes—and is used to teach the audience basic math skills and math-related topics. In the UK, the series airs on CBBC. In Latin America, it airs on Discovery Kids.
The series follows the exploits of Odd Squad, an organization run entirely by children, that solves peculiar problems using math skills. In particular, it typically features two employees of the organization's investigation division that work in precinct 13579 of the organization— Agents Olive (Dalila Bela) and Otto (Filip Geljo) in the 1st season, and Olympia (Anna Cathcart) and Otis (Issac Kragten) in the second season. Selected episodes feature other types of employees of the fictional organization, like security officers, so-called "tube operators", and scientists. The names of the employees, with one exception, always start with the letter O.
Agents are typically assigned cases by their boss, Ms. O (Millie Davis), and travel via a system of interconnected tubes to get to their destinations. They deduce the solution to the problem or how to detain the perpetrator by using basic mathematical principles that are typically the focus of the episode. Often, they cannot solve the problem at the scene and must go back to their precinct's headquarters or to the "Mathroom" (T.J. McGibbon), a sentient space that communicates through large paper fortune tellers and can unfold them to display information to help the agents see connections and better solve their case. Along with math, agents also use "gadgets" designed by the scientists; in the first season, Agent Oscar (Sean Michael Kyer) heads the lab, gaining an assistant, Agent Oona (Olivia Presti), in early season two who eventually takes over the lab. The characters also have to deal with a variety of recurring villains who often put a mathematical spin on their plots.
The seal of the Odd Squad headquarters depicts a jackalope carrying a shield in front of it (bearing an image of the seal - an instance of the Droste effect) and bananas at each side of it.
Why It Rocks
- The show is a very fun way to learn about math. The show's math curriculum is woven deftly into every storyline and doesn't feel forced and/or unnatural.
- The show has very interesting plots, story arcs, and even some mysteries to energize you. Such as in season 1: the mystery of who Olive's old partner was, and in season 2: the backstory of Agent Otis.
- This show has extremely clever comedy and pop culture references. They even reference Doctor Who in an episode.
- The child actors are impeccable actors despite their age, as they portray their characters with as much emotion as possible. The actor for Agent Otis has even gotten an Emmy.
- The characters are great. In season 1, we had Olive, Otto, and Oscar. Olive is the practical one, while Otto is the silly one, and they bounce off of each other well. And Oscar is a very charming, adorkable character,
- Their replacements in season 2, Olympia, Otis, and Oona, are also very good. Olympia is an adorable ball of energy, Otis is a cool agent with a mysterious backstory, and Oona is also very adorkable.
- Ms. O, their boss, who appears in both seasons, is unlikable at first but she gets better over time.
- The show has a diverse cast of characters and strong female role models for preschoolers to look up to.
- The villains, such as Odd Todd and the Shapeshifter, are very interesting and genuinely threatening villains. So much so, that the villains were even given their own episode dedicated to them. And it was glorious.
- The show's movies Odd Squad: the Movie and World Turned Odd, were pretty good movies, as they both featured awesome plots and emotional scenes.
- The show doesn't have many songs, but the music is quite good. The background music that plays during the show intro is catchy and really gets you pumped for the show. The songs by the boy band Soundcheck are funny due to being parodies of boy bands like NSYNC, The Backstreet Boys, and One Direction. And "Stop It Now" is an elaborate Broadway-esque number.
- The show once had its own webshow called "OddTube", which was a pretty good web show.
- The CGI special effects look very tacky and cheap.
- Ms. O could be considered unlikable by some, because she yells at the agents a lot. Not to mention that she looks way too young to be a person who has lived for centuries.
- Olive and Otto can be unlikable too.
- The episode Shapely University ended terribly.
- Adults can be portrayed as idiots sometimes. Odd Squad: The Movie is a perfect example.
- Some scenes can be too intense for a TV-Y rated program, like the Pie-nado scene in Training Day or Ohlm's big reveal at the end of Season 2.
- Xena and Xavier from Season 2 are terrible side characters.