Special Agent Oso

 
Friendly panda's missions send good messages to kids.

What parents need to know

Educational value

The series encourages interaction with its preschool viewers and weaves age-appropriate skills like shape recognition, spatial relationships, and problem solving into the plot.

Positive messages

The show is constantly reinforcing its primary (and very positive message): the joy of helping others. Oso is always cheerful about lending a helping paw.

Positive role models

Oso never hesitates to help a friend in need, and he uses a variety of tools -- including his own resourcefulness -- to work through problems. He listens to directions and applies the skills he learns in training to the everyday challenges he encounters.

Violence & scariness

Oso's occasional tumbles (down a mountainside during a climb, for instance) never result in injury.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this series encourages preschoolers to solve puzzles as the main character helps kids work through everyday challenges like brushing their teeth and learning to use the library. Age-appropriate skills like shape recognition, chronology, and spatial relationships are emphasized within the context of the plot, so kids learn while they enjoy the stories. The show's best quality is its positive message about the joy to be found in helping others.

What's the story?

In SPECIAL AGENT OSO, a caring panda named Oso (voiced by Sean Astin) comes to the aid of kids who need help with everyday troubles like cleaning their room, finding a lost item, and planning a special surprise. As part of an international organization of helpful stuffed animals, Oso is always ready to lend a hand -- er, paw -- to the kids he meets, and his assignments let him exercise the skills he learns under the guidance of senior agents Wolfie (Phil Lewis) and Dotty (Amber Hood). Armed with a ready supply of high-tech gadgets -- including perky virtual assistant Paw Pilot (Meghan Strange) -- Oso is prepared for anything and can solve problems of any size.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Oso is a welcome hero for every kid who's ever envisioned her cuddly teddy bear as a living, breathing best friend. He's the consummate champion for the kids he helps, and preschoolers will relate to the characters' troubles and benefit from seeing how they and Oso follow simple steps to fix them.

The show's interactive format encourages kids to think independently of the characters and try to solve problems on their own, and the educational content ensures that they'll pick up important preschool skills along the way.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about solving problems. Kids: What kinds of problems do you encounter during a typical day? How do you try to solve them yourself? What tools do you use to help?

  • How do you feel when you solve a problem on your own? Who do you turn to for help when you can't do something on your own?

TV details

Cast:Meghan Strange, Phil Lewis, Sean Astin
Network:Disney Channel
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Wild animals
TV rating:TV-Y
Available on:Streaming

This review of Special Agent Oso was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 2 and 6 year old Written byNMetzger March 8, 2010
age 2+
 

Not worth the time

This is a horrible show, I won't even let my kids watch it. It is about a bear, who is not very smart and constantly making stupid mistakes. Every episode is exactly the same, Oso's goal is to earn medals which in return he gives his viewers a medal too. That concept in itself is just silly, what is the point of a virtual medal. I think the creators are trying to inspire problem solving skills in kids and this falls very very short. I see no value in this show, and as a result my children don't watch it.
Adult Written byalnumani December 19, 2010
age 2+
 

Bad show, very bad...

Why are there checklists? Its seems to me like this show is teaching kids this: YOU cant do anything on your own, YOU need someone to do show you how to do anything, YOU need a checklist. A checklist!! For kids! Its not enough we have to worry about checklists at work, and function almost like machines, now we have to have our kids follow checklists, to play, to skip rope. Is this what we want to teach our kids? Instead of encouraging them to use their brains to figure things out, to think, to think! No, we need to tell them how to do things, and with check-lists. This show is absolutely inappropriate for any age group.
Parent of a 1 and 8 year old Written byMama2boys April 21, 2010
age 3+
 

Poorly executed show unintentionally teaches kids the wrong things

I know what they are trying to do- create a show that teaches kids, but I think it is poorly executed. I have come to hate this show and we do not watch it. Sure Oso helps, but I don’t like how if a child in the show has a problem they just sit there and look sad and wait for someone to come help them, instead of trying to solve it themselves or ask for help. They sometimes try and teach things that are not age appropriate for the audience this is aimed at and in one episode Oso was showing the kids how to change batteries. I think that is irresponsible, batteries can be dangerous (an old or mis-installed battery can corrode quickly creating poisonous and corrosive chemicals. Also many batteries are choke hazards.) This show is aimed at preschoolers who are very big imitators, and it never mentions anything about safety, even though it shows Oso swimming and operating machinery. I know they are just trying to be funny but Oso messes up a lot. Sure he perseveres, but the other messages it is sending (falling and getting hurt is funny, etc) are not good. This show totally misses the buck in my opinion.

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