A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this fascinating investigative educational series will captivate kids and adults alike, especially those with an interest in the sciences. A collaborative effort between PBS and Wired magazine (which gets a lot of mentions), it doesn't have too much content that parents need to worry about -- somewhat bloody surgery scenes and historical footage of riots and other potentially violent events are as strong as it gets. Some topics are serious/heavy (global warming, for example), but they're all addressed in an entertaining, accessible manner.
What's the story?
PBS teams with Wired magazine for an educational show unlike any other in WIRED SCIENCE, which takes an in-depth look at how science and technology continue to change our lives. This intriguing series highlights the technological advances that make our daily life more efficient, the medical breakthroughs that lengthen and strengthen our lives, and the developments that broaden our global connectedness. Correspondents also investigate the downfalls of these same changes, exploring global warming's effect on plant growth, for example, and our vulnerability to crippling computer hijackings. In one episode, host Ziya Tong looks in on how breakthrough computer software is changing the way that kids with Asperger's Syndrome (a form of autism) learn to decipher human emotion. The program, which analyzes expressions based on the movements of certain facial features, gives the kids clues about their companion's state of mind so they can react appropriately.
Is it any good?
Backed by first-rate research and presented in a surprisingly fresh and entertaining manner, Wired Science is fascinating to say the least. The nitty-gritty scientific reports are simplified enough to make them understandable for even the least technologically advanced viewer, and often they're book-ended by human interest stories with wide appeal. (Ever wondered how modern-day at-home chemistry sets measure up to the vintage originals or what the ingredients of Cool Whip look like when they're broken down? Now's your chance to find out!)
Bottom line? Wired Science is an eye-opening look at the current state of technology and the path it's likely to take in the near future. The series is great for tweens and teens, who will likely be just as fascinated (even if they claim not to be) as you are.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the roles that science and technology play in our daily lives. How has technology changed the way we live? What are some of the advances (computers, cell phones, the Internet) that have most affected your life? Can you imagine life without even one of these changes? How would our society be affected by a massive computer hijacking or other technology-related disaster? What role does technology play in today's media environment? How do you think that will change in the years to come?