Netflix must have been thrilled to bring Bill Nye to their streaming platforms for the new show Bill Nye Save the World. The “Science Guy” made a name for himself in the ’90s by making science accessible to children. His comedic approach coupled with on-screen science experiments made the show the perfect vehicle for delivering educational content to kids.
Now that those kids have grown up, Netflix and Nye teaming up for an adult science show should have been the perfect combination. Unfortunately, Bill Nye doesn’t seem to be interested in teaching science anymore.
In his new Netflix series, Bill Nye Saves The World, he also doesn’t seem especially interested in saving the world. Nye is mostly interested in a preoccupation he has with yelling at his audience.
Watching the first few episodes of Bill Nye Saves The World, it doesn’t seem like Nye is angry at all his viewers. His agenda on the Netflix original series are two-fold. His priority is to yell down anyone who hasn’t spent their entire life ascribing to his strict code of clear right and wrong.
His second priority is to convey his deep disappointment in all his viewers who haven’t started themselves Netflix shows to yell at people. Nye has lost all interest being entertaining, teaching his audience, and, ironically, in the essence of science.
Bill Nye is Not Entertaining
At the heart of Bill Nye Saves The World is a central conceit worthy of the six and a half hours Netflix has given it. In each episode, Nye tackles a scientific issue which has crept into the public discourse.
In the first four episodes, Nye takes on climate change, alternative medicine, artificial intelligence, and GMOs. All those topics would have made for delightful adventures on the classic Science Guy show.
But now, on his mission to save the world, Nye has forgone any semblance of entertainment. Instead, he has gone full tilt towards embracing his 61 years of age. Each episode of the show is punctuated by Nye staring straight down the barrel of the camera, his face growing ever redder as he bellows his complete anger and disappointment at any of his viewers who don’t agree with him completely on every issue.
Bill Nye is Not Educational
Nye has also lost the appetite for education which made the Science Guy program such a well-balanced meal for children of the 90’s. Nye declares from the outset that this show is aimed at adults.
But there’s no reason that a science show for grown-ups can’t still incorporate teachable moments. The great Carl Segan did just that when his show Cosmos established an intersectionality between modern culture and science.
But unlike Cosmos or Science Guy, Bill Nye Saves the World seems like it’s trying to get away with something. The host and his guests devote just enough time to an experiment each episode to be able to say they actually do science each episode. But the two or three minute long tests do little to answer any real questions the audience may be grappling with over the course of the half-hour.
As ironic as it will sound, Nye has stripped away any science from his show to feed his God complex. If the audience learns anything while watching Bill Nye Saves the World, it will be because Bill Nye himself told them it was true, not because he used science to prove it.
Bill Nye is Not Scientific
Perhaps the most heart-breaking part of Bill Nye Saves the World, though, is that the show simply isn’t scientific. Even on the most general level, Bill Nye seems to have rejected the notions of what it means to be a scientist.
Even worse is that Nye is not alone in this scientific amnesia. He and Neil deGrasse Tyson (who features on the show as well) have both become the 21st Century’s great scientific defenders. They’ve been trotted out onto more cable news climate-debates than any one individual should ever have to bare. But in that process, they have forgotten that being scientific means being open minded.
Take the second episode of Bill Nye Saves the World for example, in which Nye explores alternative medicine. He opens with a brief rundown about what the phrase alternative medicine can mean and gives some misnomers about it.
Nye goes on from there to explain what the placebo effect is and how it works. Later on, in the show, he even steps into his lab to prove that a particular alternative medicine does not help indigestion. Unfortunately, he still has 24 minutes of the episode to fill.
In those 24 minutes, we get our regular segment in which Bill yells at us for some reason. We also get the section which happens every episode in which one of Bill’s correspondents goes out into the field. In this particular bit, the reporter goes to a clinic which claims to be able to use sound (yelling) to heal people.
We see an edited together set of clips that underscore some of the man’s more bizarre behavior; then we cut back to the studio where Bill and the field reporter joke about what a nut-job the man was. That was a bit of editing that would have made the Bachelor producers proud.
The rest of the episode is centered around another fixture of each episode. Nye is joined by a panel, each of whom has a different opinion on the issue at hand. In this episode, one of the panelists seems to think there might be more to alternative medicine than Nye lets on. He uses ultrasound as an example of a type of sound treatment which works to try and make the point that one cannot throw the baby out with the proverbial bathwater.
I’m sure he had some other interesting points to make as well, but I have no idea what they were since every time he went to speak, Nye would helpfully explain how like, totally bogus all his like, super far out ideas were.
Bill Nye is Not Saving The World
Science is suppose to be the quest for new understanding. In trying to understand the world, we must first try to understand each other. Scientists have proven many fantastic things to be true over the years. And they did that through experimentation and research. Blindly adhering to the scientific morals proclaimed by Nye, or deGrasse Tyson for that matter is not science. It’s hero worship.
Nye will not change the world because he is not teaching anyone. He isn’t talking to anybody who would challenge his world view. He is not listening to anybody who would challenge his. He is screaming into the endless, hollow void of the internet, hoping that someone will hear. But the only ones who will are the ones already worship at the altar of Nye.
I have a degree in Physics. I understand how science works. I don’t have a Ph.D. in Astrophysics like Dr. Tyson. I have not worked in a jet propulsion laboratory like Mr. Nye. But I have had enough life experience to know that if you are mocking the person you are talking to because their point sounds silly to you, you aren’t scientific. You’re an ass hole.
Unfortunately, nothing about Bill Nye’s new show will save the world. And the biggest reason for that is Bill Nye himself. The only people who will watch the show from start to finish will be the same individuals who attended the climate march without being able to explain what the Greenhouse Effect is. Nye’s new show is not entertaining. It is not educational. And it is certainly not scientific. And that breaks my heart. Because a great man once taught me…
All 13 episodes of Bill Nye Saves The World are available on Netflix now.