As a kid, when others were watching MTV (I remember the first time I saw “Baby Got Back,” before it was banned, at my sitter’s house), I was watching a math-based children’s program called “Square One TV.” I was always a bit of a math junkie, and the show had it all: music videos by famous singers, recurring segments, corny humor, and the cornerstone at the end of each episode, Mathnet.
Mathnet was one of the most popular segments, telling a segment of a story each week over the course of five days, recapping the previous events if you missed a day. By Friday, it usually was at least half the episode, since they had to bring the story to a close.
Mathnet’s episodes evolved with the series, culminating in one of my favorite episodes, playing off the Agatha Christie classic, “And Then There Were None,” with “The Case of the Mystery Weekend.” Part one is at top, part two above, and the remaining segments on YouTube. In Mathnet’s version, however, they use math, logic and problem solving to attempt to solve the problem.
I still find episodes entertaining even now; the humor probably informed part of my sense of humor today, and it instilled a love of math in me, which I assume was the point. It’s a shame the show isn’t around right now, but there’s always hope for a revival, given the return of The Electric Company a few years ago. In the meantime, there’s always YouTube. Here’s a full episode: