Every week we’re bringing you recommendations for great movies or TV shows streaming on Netflix. This week’s selection is…
"Bill Nye the Science Guy” Created by Bill Nye, James McKenna, and Erren Gottlieb; Hosted by Bill Nye; Starring Bill Nye, Chais Dean, Suzanne Mikawa, Ivyann Schwan, and Jaffar Smith; Narrated by Pat Cashman; Originally aired September 10, 1993 on PBS.
I’ve written previously about Bill Nye, my short time in close proximity with him, his career, and how he instilled a love of science into a generation. You can read about how I almost fainted like I was a teenage girl in the sixties and The Beatles just walked by, and about the creation of his TV persona and edutainment career at the previous links, but some of it bears repeating. Seriously guys, I sat a few chairs away from Bill Nye for an hour once and had heart palpitations.
Nye has a degree in engineering and worked for Boeing before becoming a TV personality and science popularizer. At Boeing he developed a hydraulic pressure resonance suppressor for the 747, he also holds a patent for ballet shoes and a magnifying glass made of a plastic bag and water. It may not make him the next Nikola Tesla, but he’s never claimed to be, and it’s more real world science than I’ve ever pulled off. What Bill claims to be is a mad lover and defender of the scientific method and it shows.
The Science Guy character first originated as part of a Seattle sketch comedy show called “Almost Live!” On the show Nye did six minute segments explaining scientific concepts in a humorous way. It’s worth noting that Nye’s other recurring segment on the show was as Speedwalker, a Seattle superhero who fought crime through the power of walking swiftly. After “Almost Live!” the Science Guy character was next seen as the silent assistant to Doc Brown in the live action segments of the animated “Back to the Future” series.
The popularity of the “Back to the Future” segments led to Nye hosting his own show, the one we all know and love.
“Bill Nye the Science Guy” ran on PBS and was funded by the National Science Foundation and support from viewers like you. The series ran for 100 episodes, each of which explored a single topic of some branch of science. Each episode features a number of segments including “Way Cool Scientist” where Nye introduced the audience to an actual scientist and their work or “Nifty Home Experiment” in which the kids at home are shown a simple experiment related to the topic that they can do at home (with adult supervision). Many of the episodes also featured a parody music video lampooning a popular song and replacing the lyrics with some related to the episode’s topic.
Netflix is currently streaming a selection of 30 of those episodes for subscribers. Nye intercut educational content with wacky humor, always skirting the line of the absurd.
Some of my fondest school memories were watching the TV roll in on that tall metal stand and hearing that ridiculous theme song start, “Bill Bill Bill Bill Bill Bill Bill Bill Bill…”
I’m glad that a new generation of kids have the opportunity to see it too.
COMING SOON ON NETFLIX
One gunshot, one death, one moment out of time that irrevocably links eight minds in disparate parts of the world, putting them in each other's lives, each other's secrets, and in terrible danger. Ordinary people suddenly reborn as "Sensates." Created by the Wachowskis.
“Orange is the New Black” 06/12/2015
The women of Litchfield unapologetically return for the third coming. With a crisis of faith and their beliefs and loyalties being tested, each character must decide what and who to believe in.
“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 06/11/2015
Follow the continued adventures of Agent Coulson and the satellite events of the MCU.
“Pussy Riot a Punk Prayer” 06/15/2015
A documentary following the protest and subsequent imprisonment of members of the band “Pussy Riot”
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