Over on Correlations, we’re in the process of saying goodbye. The PBS experiment with a genuinely new (for them) and fun science format, WIRED Science, along with its really fantastic online component (with resources for schools, the general public, the blog Correlations, and so forth), is officially over.
I don’t know exactly what went on behind the scenes at the PBS mother ship, but frankly, it seems that they just did not have the guts to try something new at this time, and are returning to their standard stuff. I thought that the show had a lot of good work in it, including several shining portions, and deserved a bit more time to find its feet. It may well have got there, building followers that would have tuned in regularly for years, becoming a sort of US (and science-oriented) version of the UK’s Tomorrow’s World (a BBC show that ran for 38 years and -despite its flaws- is fondly remembered by many generations). Oh well.
The mood at KCET (the local Los Angeles PBS affiliate that was making the show) was really down when they heard the news (many months ago, in fact), and lots of the independent filmmakers involved (some of whom are friends of mine) were really disappointed to not be able to continue making science segments for the program. They should all be proud of what they managed to achieve in a short time, both on screen and online. As I said in my goodbye post on the correlations blog:
Overall, I think that the whole project that KCET put together was a bold venture for public science education and entertainment that should be more widely recognized as such.
(By the way, keep checking back there for goodbye posts from the other bloggers.)
I hope other channels continue to take on the challenge of presenting science in various forms to the general public, right alongside other forms of entertainment and education. There’s really no sense in cordoning it off to a few special interest channels. (You’ve already read my thoughts (see here) about the excellent -and highly successful- venture of the History Channel into this area, in making The Universe. Actually, I’ve been involved in shooting some more things for upcoming episodes. Ought to give you an update sometime soon.)
Thanks for those of you who looked over at Correlations from time to time, and also those who commented. The whole WIRED Science site will be viewable, even though there’ll be no new content added, and so consider it a resource that you can return to, and to which to point others.