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SquareOneTV.org

Remember Square One?

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SquareOneTV.org

If your heart skips a little beat when you hear the words “Turtle Power,” “Toontown,” or “Do it, Rockapella,” you may have gotten your elementary edutainment from a little show called Square One Television. For some of us, it came on every day after school, right before Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, and taught us everything from prime numbers to the Fibonacci sequence via comedy sketches, fake game shows, and (oh, yes) music videos. Watch and learn, children:

Originally broadcast from 1987 to 1992, Square One might seem dated and a little cringeworthy to today’s shortly-attention-spanned internet generation, but it was full of––hey, this next video has Vanessa Huxtable in it!

Another face you might recognize: Reg E. Cathey, the tall bass who has since become better known as Mayor Carcetti’s political operative Norman Wilson on The Wire and Freddy the BBQ-joint guy on House of Cards (aka real-world Game of Thrones). Here he is in an early judicial system role, which probably informed his portrayal as badass prison manager Martin Querns on Oz.

Much like its sibling program Sesame Street, Square One was able to attract the warmest stars of the era. There was even a special Square One edition of Video Jukebox, wherein we get to hear MTV’s own Downtown Julie Brown quip, “Is Math important? Bobby McFerrin thinks it is...” 

Square One Video Jukebox Highlights:

Bobby McFerrin with “Wanna Be” (“You’ve Got to Know Math”):

The Fat Boys with “One Billion”—just one of three Square One joints, also including “Burger Pattern” and “Working Backwards”:

Regina with “Combo Jombo” all about “combinatorics” (a term which may not have been heard since):

The Jets: “Infinity” about what is and isn’t infinity. (Hint: “There is no end.”)

Weird Al Yankovic with the very catchy and appropriately obnoxious “Patterns.”

Like any good variety show, Square One had recurring characters like Math Man and the Dudley Do-Right-esque Dirk Niblick of the Math Brigade. But it is probably best remembered for its show-ending weekly serial, a Dragnet spoof called “Mathnet.”

“The story you’re about to see is a fib. But it’s short,” began every episode, narrated by Sgt. Pat Tuesday and her partner George Frankly, mathematicians who inexplicably got guns, uniforms, and a whole NYC office to themselves, courtesy of the U.S. government. Their motto: “To cogitate and solve.” Their seal, complete with a compass and a bunch of arithmetic symbols, is seen here with (Nerd Alert) lego versions of Sgt. Monday and George.

Courtesy of Flickr user pixbymaia

Fans pay special tribute to "Mathnet" on what was once a very high-tech website, where you can read archived episode descriptions of every Square One episode, including breakdowns of every "Mathnet" ever. “Warning: This page contains SPOILERS.” Don’t miss an interview with the guy who played George, plus his reel, his hopefully outdated address, and information to hire him, if you’re so inclined.

Or if bigger stars still crunch your numbers, "Mathnet" knew them when:

In “The Case of the Unnatural,” character actor Paul Dooley does his usual blue-collar boss-man thing, and John Sayles plays troubled baseballer Lefty Cobb (hitting dingers at 13:13).

In “The Problem of the Missing Monkey,” Yeardley Smith plays a young, not-unlike-Lisa-Simpson animal lover, who advocates for Grunt, a gorilla accused of committing several counts of petty larceny, of course (at 20:22).

No list of ‘90s character actors would be complete without Wayne Knight, seen here as the double-talking Peter Pickwick. Spoiler alert, he turns out to be the who that done it. Or is he...? (He appears at 33:14 and bike riding at 36:13.)

And Weird Al manages to be the only Square One/"Mathnet" crossover star in “Off the Record.” Elementary kids of the ‘90s certainly have a type.

With all that star power, did Square One meet its goal of making math fun and cool...? Well, according to one 1990 educational study, which tested children on their retention after viewing Square One, “Results indicated that over half the children came to see that learning mathematics and having fun were not incompatible activities.” 

Remember?! If Square One touched your life, you can keep on counting at their Facebook fan page. Or sign the Guest Page! Remember Guest Pages?

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5 Things We Know About Stranger Things Season 2
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Netflix

Stranger Things seemed to come out of nowhere to become one of television's standout new series in 2016. Netflix's sometimes scary, sometimes funny, and always exciting homage to '80s pop culture was a binge-worthy phenomenon when it debuted in July 2016. Of course, the streaming giant wasn't going to wait long to bring more Stranger Things to audiences, and a second season was announced a little over a month after its debut—and Netflix just announced that we'll be getting it a few days earlier than expected. Here are five key things we know about the show's sophomore season, which kicks off on October 27.

1. WE'LL BE GETTING EVEN MORE EPISODES.

The first season of Stranger Things consisted of eight hour-long episodes, which proved to be a solid length for the story Matt and Ross Duffer wanted to tell. While season two won't increase in length dramatically, we will be getting at least one extra hour when the show returns in 2017 with nine episodes. Not much is known about any of these episodes, but we do know the titles:

"Madmax"
"The Boy Who Came Back To Life"
"The Pumpkin Patch"
"The Palace"
"The Storm"
"The Pollywog"
"The Secret Cabin"
"The Brain"
"The Lost Brother"

There's a lot of speculation about what each title means and, as usual with Stranger Things, there's probably a reason for each one.

2. THE KIDS ARE RETURNING (INCLUDING ELEVEN).

Stranger Things fans should gear up for plenty of new developments in season two, but that doesn't mean your favorite characters aren't returning. A November 4 photo sent out by the show's Twitter account revealed most of the kids from the first season will be back in 2017, including the enigmatic Eleven, played by Millie Bobby Brown (the #elevenisback hashtag used by series regular Finn Wolfhard should really drive the point home):

3. THE SHOW'S 1984 SETTING WILL LEAD TO A DARKER TONE.

A year will have passed between the first and second seasons of the show, allowing the Duffer brothers to catch up with a familiar cast of characters that has matured since we last saw them. With the story taking place in 1984, the brothers are looking at the pop culture zeitgeist at the time for inspiration—most notably the darker tone of blockbusters like Gremlins and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

"I actually really love Temple of Doom, I love that it gets a little darker and weirder from Raiders, I like that it feels very different than Raiders did," Matt Duffer told IGN. "Even though it was probably slammed at the time—obviously now people look back on it fondly, but it messed up a lot of kids, and I love that about that film—that it really traumatized some children. Not saying that we want to traumatize children, just that we want to get a little darker and weirder."

4. IT'S NOT SO MUCH A CONTINUATION AS IT IS A SEQUEL.

When you watch something like The Americans season two, it's almost impossible to catch on unless you've seen the previous episodes. Stranger Things season two will differ from the modern TV approach by being more of a sequel than a continuation of the first year. That means a more self-contained plot that doesn't leave viewers hanging at the end of nine episodes.

"There are lingering questions, but the idea with Season 2 is there's a new tension and the goal is can the characters resolve that tension by the end," Ross Duffer told IGN. "So it's going to be its own sort of complete little movie, very much in the way that Season 1 is."

Don't worry about the two seasons of Stranger Things being too similar or too different from the original, though, because when speaking with Entertainment Weekly about the influences on the show, Matt Duffer said, "I guess a lot of this is James Cameron. But he’s brilliant. And I think one of the reasons his sequels are as successful as they are is he makes them feel very different without losing what we loved about the original. So I think we kinda looked to him and what he does and tried to capture a little bit of the magic of his work.”

5. THE PREMIERE WILL TRAVEL OUTSIDE OF HAWKINS.

Everything about the new Stranger Things episodes will be kept secret until they finally debut later this year, but we do know one thing about the premiere: It won't take place entirely in the familiar town of Hawkins, Indiana. “We will venture a little bit outside of Hawkins,” Matt Duffer told Entertainment Weekly. “I will say the opening scene [of the premiere] does not take place in Hawkins.”

So, should we take "a little bit outside" as literally as it sounds? You certainly can, but in that same interview, the brothers also said they're both eager to explore the Upside Down, the alternate dimension from the first season. Whether the season kicks off just a few miles away, or a few worlds away, you'll get your answer when Stranger Things's second season debuts next month.

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Everything That’s Leaving Netflix in October
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NBC - © 2012 NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Netflix subscribers are already counting down the days until the premiere of the new season of Stranger Things. But, as always, in order to make room for the near-90 new titles making their way to the streaming site, some of your favorite titles—including all of 30 Rock, The Wonder Years, and Malcolm in the Middle—must go. Here’s everything that’s leaving Netflix in October ... binge ‘em while you can!

October 1

30 Rock (Seasons 1-7)

A Love in Times of Selfies

Across the Universe

Barton Fink

Bella

Big Daddy

Carousel

Cradle 2 the Grave

Crafting a Nation

Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest

Daddy’s Little Girls

Dark Was the Night

David Attenborough’s Rise of the Animals: Triumph of the Vertebrates (Season 1)

Day of the Kamikaze

Death Beach

Dowry Law

Dr. Dolittle: Tail to the Chief

Friday Night Lights (Seasons 1-5)

Happy Feet

Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison

Hellboy

Kagemusha

Laura

Love Actually

Malcolm in the Middle (Seasons 1-7)

Max Dugan Returns

Millennium 

Million Dollar Baby

Mortal Combat

Mr. 3000

Mulholland Dr.

My Father the Hero

My Name Is Earl (Seasons 1-4)

One Tree Hill (Seasons 1-9)

Patton

Picture This

Prison Break (Seasons 1-4)

The Bernie Mac Show (Seasons 1-5)

The Shining

The Wonder Years (Seasons 1-6)

Titanic

October 19

The Cleveland Show (Seasons 1-4)

October 21

Bones (Seasons 5-11)

October 27

Lie to Me (Seasons 2-3)

Louie (Seasons 1-5)

Hot Transylvania 2

October 29

Family Guy (Seasons 9-14)

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