Bill Nye Saves The World Review
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Everyone’s favorite 90’s science enthusiast is back in your living room and he is once again making science fun for all. This April marks the return of William “Bill” Nye, of Bill Nye the Science Guy fame, to television via Netflix. The man who made science fun for many of us is on a mission to save the world in the aptly titled Bill Nye Saves the World.
Bill Nye Saves the World is reminiscent of Bill Nye the Science Guy with an emphasis on making science fun and easy to follow. However, unlike the show many of us grew up watching either at home or school, this program is aimed at adults or “grown up kids” as Bill himself puts it. Bill Nye addresses controversial topics such as climate change, vaccinations, and artificial intelligence just to name a few. This new program features many familiar aspects for the grown-up kids who watched Bill Nye when they were younger. He performs experiments that pertain to the topic of the episode and simultaneously explains the science behind the experiments. The program also features a variety of guests ranging from celebrities and supermodels to scientists and other experts.
Bill Nye Saves the World is filmed in front of a live audience, lending it more energy and sometimes allowing for audience participation. The episodes usually feature comedic sketches and correspondents who travel to different places pertaining to the topic at hand and interview people. In the episode “Earth is a Hot Mess” for example, supermodel Karlie Kloss travels to Venice, Italy to observe a human made solution known as MOSE Project to prevent damage to the city from rising tides. Other correspondents include journalists and experts in their field.
At some point in the program a panel is held with Bill asking questions on the topic at hand to experts on various sides of the issue. This includes scientists, professors, company CEO’s etc. The panels feature people with opposing viewpoints who are each given the opportunity to state their stance and reasoning behind that. In an episode that addresses GMO use in agriculture (“More Food, Less Hype”), the panel featured Dr. Rob Fraley the Executive Vice President of Monsanto, Julie Kenney a fifth-generation farmer, and Fred Gould an entomologist who published an independent study on GMO’s. The show encourages an open dialogue among experts within the panels with Bill asking questions that encourage these discussions.
While some of these topics seem difficult for the average viewer to comprehend, the science is clearly and simply stated with experiments and sketches used to illustrate the more complex ideas. Most impressive is that the program refrains from coming off as patronizing. It does so by avoiding lecturing and encouraging viewers to ask questions and do their own research. Even when addressing serious topics, the show manages to avoid being too dark by using lighthearted, often dry humor and putting Bill Nye’s fun personality to good use. There are many tongue in cheek jokes (see Acid Test with Steve Aoki) that remind viewers that the program is aimed towards a more adult audience. The excitement and passion of Bill Nye and his correspondents is infectious and the episodes are easily digested and bingeable with an average runtime of about 30 minutes. Bill Nye’s banter with guests and correspondents is another high point of the show as he is joined by people who share his excitement. Guests include Zach Braff, Rachel Bloom, San Francisco Giants Allstar Hunter Pence, the voice of Neil deGrasse Tyson, and fellow science enthusiast/chef Alton Brown among many others.
If you enjoyed Bill Nye’s previous show growing up, or you just love science this show is for you. Even if you don’t particularly love science but you like acquiring new knowledge or having your ideas challenged, this show is for you. As for me, a self-proclaimed literature nerd and bookworm who typically avoids more difficult science, Bill Nye Saves the World kept me engaged and made me laugh while forcing me to think about the topics discussed and my own role in the world. So it turns out that Bill Nye was right, science does in fact rule and it can indeed be fun.