Popular Science's Future Of

TV review by
Will Wade, Common Sense Media
Popular Science's Future Of TV Poster Image
Intriguing look at cutting-edge technology.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Scientists and researchers are proactively developing many hard-to-imagine devices that could have a significant impact on the way we live.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The show shows how science -- and scientists -- can change the world ... and makes the entire process seem very cool.


Lots of high-tech gadgets and popular social networking tools are mentioned by name, including Twitter and iPhone.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this futuristic series features some of the most advanced high-tech research out there, showing how these concepts have the potential to significantly change the way people live. It also provides a valuable reality check, showing the many barriers that must be overcome if these fascinating concepts will ever make it out of the lab. It’s educational and entertaining, and will likely appeal to older tweens and teens, especially those who are plugged in to the wired world.

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What's the story?

The future may be closer than most people realize, according to POPULAR SCIENCE’S FUTURE OF. The series follows comedian/technology journalist Baratunde Thurston as he tracks down researchers at the cutting edge of science, who show off creations that often look like something from a sci-fi movie. Thurston shows how these gadgets are just a step (or three) removed from technology that's common now and explains how they could become reality -- and how that could change the way people live. It’s an educational and interesting look at how to get from today to tomorrow.

Is it any good?

Thurston provides a valuable reality check, explaining why some of these fun ideas may never make it past the prototype stage, either because the technology isn’t quite there or the world isn’t ready for them. But he also shows which concepts are closest to being ready for prime-time -- and why the world might benefit from them. He gets excited about most of the gadgets, but he doesn’t gush without justification.

As noted sci-fi writer Arthur C. Clarke famously said, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic; this series shows some incredible technological tricks and then pulls back the curtain to explain how the magic is made. It’s a fascinating look at what might someday be.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about technology. Do these ideas and devices seem plausible, or are some of them just too far out to be believable? Do some of them look like things you’ve seen before in popular sci-fi shows or movies? Which ones seem the coolest to you?

  • Does this series inspire you to study science (and perhaps someday come up with a cool invention of your own)? What classes would you need to take to follow this path?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science (and sci-fi!)

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