Parents' Guide to

Genius by Stephen Hawking

By Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Volunteers test theory that brilliance lies in everyone.

TV PBS Educational 2016
Genius by Stephen Hawking Poster Image

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This intriguing series does an excellent job condensing intricate concepts into manageable demonstrations, even if the volunteers' "average Joe" status is suspect. These trios make some pretty impressive leaps of comprehension between driving backward and forward past the same spot in a DeLorean and the improbability of traveling back through time, for instance, and their dialogue is almost certainly scripted to some degree. That said, they serve their purpose as guinea pigs, and their involvement makes it much easier for laypersons to grasp the likes of the theory of relativity, even if Hawking's assertion that every person can be a genius (like him) is still up for debate.

What's unusual about Genius is that not only must the participants complete the experiments and draw conclusions from them, but they're given little direction (that we can see) in doing so. It gives the process a lot of authenticity and is a great reminder of the role trial and error play in learning, especially for tweens and teens who watch. With intriguing content and a lot of educational potential, this series is a great pick for families.

TV Details

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