Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
Cyberchasenote we're moving, we're beating Hacker at his game... is an Edutainment Show that has so far aired on PBS from 2002 to 2014 for nine seasons.The series revolves around a trio of kids, Jackie, Inez, and Matt, and their robotic bird friend (known as a "cyboid") Digit, who go Inside The Internet. They have been called upon by Motherboard to help defend and repair Cyberspace from the evil schemes of The Hacker, who is not a playful one, or even human, but an evil cyborg whose goal is to conquer all of Cyberspace and spread chaos. The Hacker used to be Motherboard's assistant; however, he tried to destroy her by downloading a virus into her. Luckily, her firewall was able to stop the damage from being too severe, but still left her in a weakened state, thus forcing her to recruit Jackie, Matt, and Inez from Earth to help defend Cyberspace.Most episodes involve the children traveling to a unique "Cybersite" (a planet-like body in Cyberspace) to thwart the Hacker's latest scheme. The original general Story Arc involved the kids trying to retrieve a new and rare Encryptor Chip (a device of Motherboard's destroyed by Hacker's virus, that would enable her to completely recover). Recent seasons have shifted focus to Hacker trying to reverse his decayed villain image, and a newer villain, Ledge, trying to usurp Hacker's spot as the top villain in Cyberspace.On PBS airings, the episodes end with a live-action segment (called "Cyberchase For Real"), where a pair of recurring characters (Harry and Bianca) and their recurring nemeses (Harley and Sleazé) demonstrate how the episode's math lesson can be used in their own lives.Character sheet currently in construction.After a 3 year hiatus, the series premiered its ninth season in November 2013. The episodes for this season focused on environmental and ecological themes.
Always Chaotic Evil: A bit of a Broken Aesop in that no character is ever seen going from 'evil' to 'good' for real. Justified in that that would complicate the plot and not make it a show about math and science.
Batman Gambit: Hacker bids against the kids for the Encryptor Chip at an auction, but the kids manage to take it. Then they find out that Hacker modified the chip to infect Motherboard, replacing her with a copy of himself.
Butt Monkey: Harry in the Cyberchase for Real sketches. Toned down in the later seasons.
Depending on the Writer: Is Hacker's wig gel used for styling his wig or gluing it to his head? Does it come in cubes or a tube? Considering what Hacker's like, this inconsistency might actually make sense.
Enemy Mine: The final episode due to the series no longer in production at least according to PBS Kids Go! despite getting a relaunch on their website has the Cybersquad teaming up with Hacker to defeat Ledge.
Inez and Jackie. In certain episodes when they travel to very cold or snowy cybersites, both girls are well protected at least from the waist up, but Inez still wears shorts. And if you thought that was bad, Jackie still wears an even tinier skirt, which leaves the majority of her legs open to freezing temperatures!
The Big Guy / The Mentor / Team Mom: Motherboard; not dumb, but essentially useless thanks to the virus except for in the Portal Network where she completely annihilated the Grim Wreaker when Hacker set up his portal statues; occasionally Dr. Marbles.
Guest Star Party Member: Happens frequently so. One of the later episodes featured several of the most recent characters teaming up with the regular Cybersquad, effectively tripling the cast. They had to be divided into multiple teams to defeat Hacker's challenges.
There's some strong tension between Matt and Slider too.
Lots of it between Delete and "his Buzzy", especially in "A Perfect Fit" and "Raising the Bar".
Home Field Advantage: In one episode, the gang visits Radopolis and compete in a skate-off with the villains, where they find themselves losing at first because the competition rink is different from the practice rink due to Hacker's villainous meddling.
Leitmotif: Listen for a soft techno beat when the kids go into educational mode. Familiar to those with dial-up Internet.
The victory theme.
Buzz and Delete's theme.
Lots of Luggage: One of the Cyberchase For Real segments had Bianca going camping with her friend. The friend mocks her for taking three bags. Bianca says it's nothing, only for the friend to open one bag and remove a sequined party dress.
Lucky Rabbit's Foot: One episode had Hacker attempting to kidnap a rabbit to complete his lucky charm collection.
MacGuffin: the Encryptor Chip, at least in the early seasons
Mook-Face Turn: Digit used to work for Hacker, but joins Motherboard's side when he learns of Hacker's evil doings.
The Movie: Season 9 featured The Cyberchase Movie, a two-part, hour-long special in which the Cybersquad learn about the importance of living space in animals' habitats. They also re-encounter Dr. Marbles; and yes, they once again get the better of Hacker.
Digit: Excuse me! We're talkin' life and d- you know what here!
Nice Character, Mean Actor: Digit idolized the current champion of "The Fearless Chef" (a cross over between Iron Chef and The Amazing Race) but when Jackie and Inez tried to rescue him after he was kidnapped, he was quickly revealed as a bit of a Jerkass.
The Napoleon: Inez does not take kindly to being called small or any of its synonyms.
Interestingly in an episode about proportion, she has no problem whatsoever with calling herself the smallest (the kids were comparing footprints).
Inez is about as sesquipedalian as a nine-year old can get.
Creech can get like this too. In fact, it's how they met in the Tikiville race episode. Matt and Jackie decided to make fun of Inez's vocabulary which led to her quitting the Cybersquad temporarily and working with Creech for most of Creech's introduction episode.
Buzz and Delete in "Trading Places" when they're made extra-smart.
Let's not forget that in the very first episode, when Motherboard introduces herself to the kids, Inez responds with, "Yeah and I'm Xena: Warrior Princess." Also in the same episode, the kids end up on an island and Matt doesn't know where to go. Inez asks if someone will please just vote her off this island. Jackie replies, telling Inez not to worry because they have a way to survive.
Try as they might, the Cybersquad are never able to get the cure for Motherboard's virus, which is a necessary Plot Device to keep the show going. The debilitating effects of the virus were the reason that Motherboard had to recruit the Cybersquad to help her; and if Motherboard got cured, then she wouldn't need to summon her "Earthlies" to Cyberspace anymore.
Immediately after major events (like Hacker taking control from Motherboard for a time), everything goes straight back to the kids foiling Hacker's plans.
In addition, Hacker's been the recipient of any number of misfortunes following the destruction of his plans - he's suffered potent viruses, been blasted off into Cyberspace, even bewitched good by Wicked - yet at the beginning of each new episode, he's somehow exactly back to normal.
Strawman Political:: Matt tries this when Hacker goes up for election. it doesn't end too well.
Up the Real Rabbit Hole: Cybercitizens will call Earth "the real world" and kind of logical in a way. Since they're generally in the company of or are speaking to Earthlings when they do this, it is the real world to those same Earthlings and they wouldn't want to confuse them. Possibly a case of Pandering To The Audience.
In one episode, the drum player from one of the best bands on Mount Olympus was kidnapped and convinced by Hacker that he'd be better appreciated as a solo act. The rest of the team were already thinking of of dumping him, as they didn't think that he added anything to the band. Turned out, he was the most important member, since he seems to be the only one who can keep the proper rhythm pattern (the day's lesson) and without him, the music was awful. The band player is eventually convinced to come back and he reunites with his bandmates, who finally realize how important he is.