Finding a new show on Netflix is always difficult, but the process can be a little easier if there is an actor you may enjoy. However, do not think that “Bill Nye Saves the World” is worth your time because you loved watching him in your elementary science class.
The first episode begins with an overview of the show. Nye introduces the cast he works with, after getting away with a dad-joke, and the program looks promising. Nye has always been charismatic, but now the large set creates a unique balance of science and stand-up. After meeting the crew, the camera cuts back to Nye, who brings unfortunate news.
Nye mentions that the show is targeted toward an older audience, stating that “controversial issues” will be addressed. This is not a big problem, unless a viewer is easily offended, but Nye’s way of addressing these issues with a “scientific point of view” are almost the exact opposite.
For example, in the final episode on human overpopulation, Nye asks the panel if there should be policies that penalize people for having extra kids. This question is entirely subjective and as a third child with a father who has three brothers, I was furious at Nye.
Freshman Ryan Rudnick says, “The show’s TV-14 rating allows Bill Nye to discuss hot-button topics; however, the host has almost no filter because he thinks he’s allowed to say whatever he wants.”
After Nye’s opening speech, the show begins. He runs to the giant lab behind him and begins to pull equipment from different stations across the room.
The audience “oohs” and “ahs” as if Nye is surprising them, yet the crowd just comes off as condescending. Similar to a laugh track, the audience reacts and laughs at times that are not shocking or funny. It is hard to tell whether the audience was paid or not. If they were paid, shame on the producers. If they were not, shame on the audience.
Nye’s first experiment is fascinating, but listening to the host yell in a raspy voice about climate change is irritating. Each time he yells, the audience giggles, yet these moments are not the slightest bit funny.
Watching this show is discomforting. As a viewer, Nye is always looking into the camera and yelling about how people, or occasionally the people watching, are to blame for the problem that each episode covers. Whether the viewers deny the existence of global warming or are too uninformed about GMOs, I felt as if I was scolded by Nye for causing the downfall of our planet.
Another recurring component of the show is sexual jokes. Some are not as blatant, until episode nine, which covers gender and sexuality. Nye believes the viewers thought the host meant something else when clicking on the episode and directly says to the audience, “You want Bill Nye to talk about sexual intercourse.” Once again, the audience laughs. This assumption is false, at least in my case, and I was disgusted when one of my role models as a child began talking about “Netflix and chill.”
Episode nine is also a great example of how awkward the series can be. After Nye’s discussion with the panelists, he segues into a cartoon with ice cream cones representing different sexualities. What starts with conversion therapy to make the different flavors all turn vanilla quickly escalates into a party between the flavors, who have taken off their cones, and have begun licking each other. This scene could be easily misinterpreted and was uncomfortable to watch.
The show seems as if Nye needed a spot in the limelight to avoid fading into obscurity. This is achieved by the negative publicity the show has received because of its controversial way of covering highly debated issues. When creating a show covering controversial topics, it is very important for the writers to create scripts that shed light on both points of view without choosing one side over the other. Instead, Nye uses his show to spread his ideas about topics rather than successfully get the point across and let his viewers decide what they should think.
Senior Cameron Fuller says, “Some episodes felt like propaganda for views that I did not really agree with. Still, Bill pushed his controversial opinions without taking into consideration who he might offend.”
Have you watched Nye’s new program yet? How did you feel while watching and how, if so, has the show changed your opinion on Nye?