Square One Television was another attempt by the Children’s Television Workshop to go something besides Sesame Street. It lasted for five seasons. The production company is now called Sesame Workshop, so I guess they just embraced what was working for them. Square One was similar in format to the original The Electric Company, only instead of teaching reading it taught math. The show had skits, music videos, and recurring segments, like the Mathman video game.
The one from episode was Mathnet, a serialized parody of Dragnet, following the cases of Kate Monday (later Pat Tuesday when the segment moved from Los Angeles to New York for some reason) and her partner George Frankly as they solved crimes using mathematics. This is closer to the Bloodhound Gang segments from 3-2-1 Contact in that the story played out at the end of the show during the week as the character would try to solve a particular crime. While I’m not usually into police shows this was my favorite segment, and by the time it debuted in 1987 I was probably too old to be the target audience. However, the skits were funny, some jokes were clearly meant for the parents who were watching with their kids, like Sesame Street and The Electric Company, and Mathnet played into my enjoyment of serials. Plus who doesn’t like Dragnet? Not many.
On YouTube I found a video collecting the fourth serial, “The Trial Of George Frankly”, as Frankly returns from a fishing trip only to be accused of robbing a bank. While George (being a parody of Dragnet‘s Bill Gannon from the more well-known 1960s version of the franchise) is usually not quite aware of the world around him this shows that he is smart enough to expose his own framer with help from Kate. It also has James Earl Jones as their boss, Thad Green, who was also left behind when the setting moved to New York City. See if you can figure out the crime before Kate and George do.