Netflix’s latest series, “Bill Nye Saves the World” is a quirky half-hour program bringing back the joy of a comedy-science series, now geared toward an adult audience. Similar to his PBS series, “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” each episode of his new show focuses on a single topic which he explains with science. The show is less about explaining science phenomenon, such as buoyancy or static electricity, and more about dispelling today’s pseudoscience and controversies.
Nye’s latest project features a variety of segments, both pre-recorded and filmed in front of a live studio audience. On each show you can see Nye performing live experiments, pre-recorded segments featuring correspondents (a la the Daily Show) and a panel with three experts on the episode’s topic.
These panels help to add credibility for the adult audience. Each panel showcases experts with differing opinions, allowing viewers to feel as though they are taking part in a true scientific dialogue.
The presence of the science experts helps validate Nye’s information, because while Nye may be a “science guy” and knowledgeable in the field, he’s technically not a classically trained scientist. Presenting the opposing opinions of the panel members allows viewers to form more educated, information-based positions on the topics of each episode.
While the structure of Bill Nye’s show may have changed, his persona remains the same. In each episode, he dons his signature blue lab coat, his bow-tie and approaches each subject with the same goofy enthusiasm. The live-format of the show exposes Nye’s awkwardness, exemplified in the cringe-worthy stylized fist-bumps he gives correspondents; although it seems to show Nye in his truest form.
“Bill Nye Saves the World” is surprisingly star-studded. Some of the celebrities who make cameos its first season include Desiigner, Tim Gunn and Steve Aoki.
Supermodel Karlie Kloss even has a recurring role as a correspondent. While the celebrity cameos are a fun addition to the live segments of the show, Kloss seems like an out-of-place addition to the cast. While intelligence and modeling for Victoria’s Secret don’t necessarily have to be mutually exclusive, Kloss’ lack of a science background makes her feel like an unreliable source.
One of the strengths of “Bill Nye Saves the World” comes in its choice of topics. The first season covers topics like global climate change, in vitro fertilization, genetically modified foods and genetically modified foods. The topics are fitting for the adult audience the show was written for and Nye explains topics without giving viewers the feeling of being talked down to. The subjects seem to be pulled-fromthe-headlines current and the show does a good job of using science to explain topics that may be confusing to the average Joe.
“Bill Nye Saves the World” is a great blend of comedy and information that fans of “The Daily Show” and “Bill Nye the Science Guy” will appreciate and its 30-minute episodes make it easy to digest. If “Bill Nye Saves the World” isn’t already your escape from finals week stress, it should definitely be added to your summertime queue.