As I’m sure you’ve noticed from some of my other reviews, I watch a LOT of kids programming. I don’t really like the idea of my kids ingesting hours of television that I’m not familiar with. Odd Squad is one of those shows I actually enjoy watching.
The series, created by Tim McKeon and Adam Peltzman is broadcast on PBS Kids in the US and is co-produced by The Fred Rogers Company and Sinking Ship Entertainment (in association with TVOKids and Ici Radio-Canada Télé.) is aimed at the 5-8 age group. A live action series, it follows the adventures of two agents who, as Agent Olive puts it “work for an organization run by kids that investigates anything strange, weird, and especially odd.”
The show is essentially a police procedural for the grammar school set. They catch a case, figure out what’s wrong, and use various forms of math (pattern recognition, addition and subtraction, set theory, shape recognition) to solve it.
Our main characters, Olive and Otto (played by Dalila Bela and Filip Geljo), are a perfect buddy-cop mix. She’s very serious and buttoned down, he’s a little goofy and not quite centered. They’re surrounded by a supporting cast of amazingly strange and unique kids ranging from the very stern boss-lady Ms O (Millie Davis), to the proverbial nutty professor Agent Oscar (Sean Michael Kyer) who has a gadget for everything.
All the kids are good actors and the writers give them every chance to show that off. The dialogue is goes from witty and dry to absurd and hysterical. If this show doesn’t make you at least chuckle you have a serious funny-bone deficiency. They constantly reference things that adults will love, jokes where the content may go over the kid’s heads (like two episodes that had a plethora of 80’s references) but they get the spirit and I find my 8-year-old is laughing right along with me as Mrs O walked off camera with her fist held in a Judd Nelson Breakfast Club salute!
In an interview with TVGuide.com series cocreator/executive producer Tim McKeon remarked “Kids today are so sophisticated when it comes to comedy, yet they also love things hyper-silly…with that in mind, we set the tone for Odd Squad by borrowing from Men in Black, Scrubs and Airplane! We’ve even thrown in a little Being John Malkovich.”
I think the very best way to show you what I mean is… with a clip! Here’s the promo video PBS Kids released late last year:
Odd Squad has 2 and a half seasons in the can (the 21st episode premiered on Jan 25th) so your kids have lots to watch before they’ve seen them all. It airs on PBS Kids (check the site for games, episodes and info) check your local listings for air times, or buy episodes on Amazon Prime and Google Play.
Odd Squad gets an enthusiastic 5 out of 5 laughing jackalopes (don’t ask, Just Go!)