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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Bill Nye Saves the World is intended for an audience older than the kids who have learned about science topics from the science guy's educational PBS series. Bill Nye takes strong positions on issues -- especially the timely matter of climate change, as well as pseudoscience and debunked myths. Some of the content deals with mature topics such as sex (from a scientific standpoint), and all of it requires a certain level of prior understanding to follow the show's discussions. There's less tangible science at work than in Nye's previous projects as well, so the quirky engineer plays talk show host more than lab instructor. His approach is also less than measured, often poking fun at those he's attempting to prove wrong. Older teens may appreciate this super-skeptical talk show, but little ones will want to stick to his earlier kid-friendly work.
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What's the story?
Celebrated science guy Bill Nye returns to the screen on BILL NYE SAVES THE WORLD, in which he tackles controversial issues such as the applications of artificial intelligence and the importance of space travel with the help of correspondents. Using basic lab demonstrations, Nye introduces a topic and talks about its implications now and as they're projected for the future. He also moderates panel discussions with scientists and writers, attempts to debunk fake science, and encourages viewers to take action in support of related causes.
Is it any good?
In contrast with Nye's previous work for young audiences, this series takes a much more serious tone in contemplating the issues it raises. He doesn't beat around the bush in taking a position on each matter, always presenting his stance as fact supported by "real science" and dismissing opposing views as the stuff of deniers. Viewers who come to this show without solid opinions on either side of the issues he raises will find themselves swayed by his obvious passion for the subjects, but he can be a bit mean-spirited, which might be a turnoff to some.
While Nye's goofy demeanor has always worked well for young viewers and helped him teach scientific truths in a fun way, it doesn't quite match the intelligence of the teens and adults in Bill Nye Saves the World's audience. Even the studio audience seems hesitant to laugh at his quips and play to his silly gags, which often dumb down the grown-up content he presents. The bottom line? If you love Bill Nye in every form and can overlook his uneasiness in this new role, then this series will make you think about issues you may or may not have contemplated before.
Talk to your kids about ...
What determines science or news that's real or fake? Does opinion have any place in that discussion? Do you agree with all of Nye's stances in Bill Nye Saves the World? If not, where do you get facts to support your side?
How well do you think Nye's unique brand of humor translates to this kind of show? Did it keep your interest throughout? Did you learn anything?
About which issues are you most passionate? Do you take action on them? Are you involved in politics?
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