|In the spirit of Encyclopedia Brown and 3-2-1 Contact’s “The Bloodhound Gang,” the kids from Powerhouse took science out of the lab and onto the mean streets of the criminal underworld. Inexperienced but quick-thinking, the Powerhouse gang battled the forces of evil with nothing but pluck, determination and the powers of deductive and inductive reasoning.
The young, multi-cultural stars of Powerhouse didn’t set out to be crime-stoppers. They just wanted to build an inner city community center, a safe and friendly haven for kids and teens. As it turned out, their plans to build “Powerhouse”—their name for the center—put them on the wrong side of some local no-goodniks. Using their science skills, the kids found and foiled the criminals, and a new group of amateur sleuths was born.
Every Powerhouse episode found the brainy youngsters face-to-face with another criminal mystery, one that could only be solved by the proper application of the gang’s scientific know-how. Each case was broken up into segments, set apart by “commercials” that touted the benefits of good eating habits, personal hygiene and proper exercise.
Powerhouse hit the PBS lineup in 1982, earning an instant following among wannabe detectives. Unfortunately, there simply weren’t enough of them to keep Powerhouse on the air for more than a brief run, leaving despondent fans with nothing but old Scooby-Doo episodes to fill their investigative hankerings.