WIRED Science

I promised some interesting television news earlier, and here it is. Well, it is actually blogging news too. First let me step back a touch. Recall that some time back I mentioned that there were a number of new science shows vying for the nod from PBS to be their new primetime science show? Viewers could go in and vote on which show they preferred. Well, the show that won this was WIRED Science, the show I also told you more about here. I’m pleased about this since I thought it was actually the best of the bunch.

wired science bannerSo they’ve made some cast changes, and made new episodes (and are in the process of making more). The format is sort of like a magazine, so there are two people based in the studio (Chris Hardwick and Kamala Lopez) who introduce segments that are then played. These segments are essentially field reports from various reporters and agents in the field (Ziya Tong and Adam Rogers are two other principals in the studio at the start, but they are mostly doing field reports). There will also be some studio interviews (Ziya interviews Paul Kedrosky in the first show), and some other studio segments, like “What’s Inside” by Chris Hardwick, where he goes through a description of what’s inside an everyday household object or material. (I hope they do more of those – he’s really good at that.) For those of you from the UK, you’ll recognize the format – it is essentially like Tomorrow’s World used to be, but with more science1 (although since this is a WIRED project too, there’s going to be the fun/cool toys aspect).

wired science cast

The show’s headliners: Chris, Ziya, Adam and Kamala

The first one airs next week, on Wednesday October 3rd at 8:00pm. There’s a page here you can go to in order to have a look at the cast, and also see some clips from the premiere episode. I’ll like to strongly recommend the piece they made accessible by Adam Rogers that is about chemistry sets. It’s really great – all about science, exploration and education when you’re young, and fears about safety (not all unjustified) making the modern chemistry set (if you can find one at all) incredibly lame compared to what it used to be – anyway, there’s much more in the piece… have a look. In the full show to be aired next week you’ll see excellent pieces by Ziya and the other agents too.

Oh. How do I know this? For reasons that will become clear in a while, I had the pleasure of wandering over to the KCET studios a few weeks ago (it’s close to where I live) to meet some of the people involved in making the show, and to watch the first viewing of the complete episode with all the staff. There was a great feeling in the room of anticipation and relief that the first show was done and it looked good. (And it did look good. I hope they can keep it up through the season.) You can see everyone standing applauding at the end in the photo to the right (or you would if I’d not left the dratted photo on my laptop. Will update with it later.) I got a tour of the studios and met and chatted with a lot of the staff. That was all the day before I went to the Wired-sponsored NextFest that I already reported to you about in a previous blog post.

KCET viewing

That I was there at all was amusing to me for several reasons. Among them was the strange conjunction of disconnected events that happened some weeks before: I got three calls/emails all in the space of about a week concerning the show, and none of them were connected to each other (I’ve since confirmed). Leighton Woodhouse called/emailed about a project (to be discussed below), a producer scouting for stories/subjects called about maybe discussing KCET studiomy research on the show some time, and a freelance film producer/journalist friend of mine, Bob Melisso called to say he was doing some work at a studio on a science show near my neighbourhood, and asked whether I’d like to meet for dinner while he’s around and toss around some ideas (as we do from time to time about science and film/media)? These three separate constituencies from different divisions were all present in the viewing room, still unknown to each other, and furthermore, their offices are not all that far from each other’s too. It’s just sort of amusing to me how these things work sometimes: seemingly disconnected people all deciding around the same time to call the same person for different reasons. Anyway, I’m getting quite a bit off the point here.

Now beware of that page I pointed you to in the above paragraph. It is incomplete, being just a placeholder for the pages they intend to have there. The full page will go live next week, and they’re preparing quite a resource to accompany the show. There’ll be show episodes, extensions of some of the segments, extra links to expand upon the stories, materials for schools, and so forth. But there’s also something else in the works. There’ll be a dedicated blog for the show, and it is called “Correlations”.

It’s a new group science blog. I think I’ll tell you about it in the next post.

Don’t forget to watch the show, and come back to their website when it is fully operational. And come and discuss what you think of it here if you like.

-cvj

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  1. Actually, is that show (Tomorrow’s World) still going? I remember finding it mostly annoying as it was mostly about gee-whiz technology and (what I thought at the time) were tedious medical bits introduced and discussed at length by Judith Hann. Frankly, I think I really only watched it regularly because I fancied Maggie Philbin (yeah, I was a weird kid in the 80s – no disrespect to Ms Philbin), only to quickly go off her when I learned she was married to Keith Chegwin (who I found intensely annoying at the time – all part of that wholesome annoying BBC Radio 1 Noel Edmunds-style mindless cheerfulness that I found nauseating, but now remember with some fondness for the 80s Britain that helped shape me). Wow, that was quite a digression, irrelevant and meaningless to probably all of you… sorry. [return]

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