Bang Goes the Theory

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Bang Goes the Theory TV Poster Image
Hip British science show is informative and fun.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The series offers interesting and understandable scientific explanations for various phenomena, and uses science to demonstrate how we can live safer, healthier, and overall better lives. Controversial science is discussed objectively.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The hosts appear genuinely excited about science and learning, and they are a diverse group.

Violence

Experiments often require potentially dangerous chemicals, gasses, and other items that can result in fires and other dangerous reactions. Bicycle rides and other activities sometimes lead to falls. Contains images of blood being drawn with needles. References are made to major natural disasters, but are offered in the context of learning more about how they happen.

Sex

Contains some semi-flirtatious behavior between the hosts, but nothing really sexy. Occasionally a male host will take off his shirt for an experiment.

Language
Consumerism

Logos for companies like Shell gasoline and earthquakesimulator.com are occasionally visible, but these are not offered in a commercial context.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Occasionally scenes feature people drinking beer and other alcoholic beverages. Alcohol is also used as a fuel alternative.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the British series Bang Goes the Theory takes a scientific look at a wide variety of topics, but does so in a way that is both easy to understand and energetically entertaining. It's family friendly, but contains a few images (like folks getting their blood drawn and drinking worms), that may make some folks squeamish. Adults occasionally drink beer. Controversial issues like genetically modified food, rising oil prices, and other issues are discussed and major corporate logos are sometimes visible, but all this appears within the context of the science behind it. Viewers of all ages should be reminded that many of the experiments conducted here should not be tried at home (or at least without appropriate supervision).

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What's the story?

BANG GOES THE THEORY is a British television science magazine series designed to make science both interesting and entertaining. Starring biochemist Liz Bonnin, Planet Mechanics' engineer Jem Stansfield, biologist Yan Wong, and actor/science lover Dallas Campbell, who explain the fundamentals of scientific thinking, conduct experiments, and even create challenges designed to teach viewers how things work and to illustrate various ways science can be used to find better, safer, and healthier ways to live. Interviews with scientists and engineers help the hosts find answers to questions about a wide-variety of issues, too. From understanding the reasons for rising fuel costs and exploring fuel alternatives, to understanding the dangers of getting sunburned, the series offers a fun and energetic look at how science plays a role in our everyday lives.

Is it any good?

This popular British import demystifies the science that goes into the ways bridges and other infrastructures are built to withstand natural and man-made disasters, how wheels work, and the unique approaches to curing medical conditions like asthma. Bang Goes the Theory also takes an objective look at some of the scientific community's more contentious issues, like fracking (a controversial way of extracting natural gas from the ground) and genetic modification of fruits and vegetables.

Bang Goes the Theory is family friendly, and science fans will certainly find it interesting. But the show's hip and dynamic hosts, along with the simplified explanations about a wide-range of phenomena from around the world, make the series compelling enough to appeal to a wider audience. Those who tune in will be pleasantly surprised by the the different things they will learn here.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about using media as an academic teaching tool. Do you think TV shows like this one encourage viewers to become more interested in the subjects like math and science? Or is this really meant to be more entertaining than educational? How can you apply what you learn here to your everyday life?

  • If you created your own science show, what kind of scientific questions would you like to answer? Are there ways that you can find out the answers without relying on an expert to tell you? How would you balance the show so that it is both interesting and informative for your audience?

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