“It’s not magic; it’s science!”

If you’re up to date with all the new Netflix shows, surely you’ll have seen Bill Nye Saves the World on “Recently Added”’ by now. Disclaimer: I never watched Bill Nye the Science Guy when I was in elementary/middle school. My teachers preferred to play the Magic School Bus more than anything if I’m being honest.

But I still went into Bill Nye’s new Netflix series with high hopes. Anyone I talked to would praise Bill Nye as if he were some sort of god that preached divine scientific knowledge. Needless to say, I was skeptical.

Within the first minute of the first episode Bill Nye addresses the audience and sets the tone for the thirteen-episode segment. “As you’ve probably guessed,” the scientist began, “we’re not really making kids’ show. It’s for you grown-up kids all over

the world.”

In a way it’s nostalgic. Bill Nye educated an entire generation of kids, and now he’s back to educate the same generation that grew up. Each thirty-minute episode tackled a potentially controversial issue with global perspectives and a panel of distinguished individuals with varying points of view.

These are the episodes: Spoiler Alert (They’re brilliant!)

 

  1. Earth is a Hot Mess (Global Warming)
  2. Tune Your Quack-o-Meter (Alternative Medicine, Quack Doctors)
  3. Machines Take Over the World (AI’s, Benefits of Technology)
  4. More Food, Less Hype (GMO’s, Monsanto)
  5. The Original Martian Invasion (Aliens, Mars, Tardigrades!)
  6. Do Some Shots, Save the World (Germs and Vaccinations, Ex-Anti-Vax mom)
  7. Cheat Codes for Reality (The Benefits of Video Games)
  8. This Diet is Bananas (Fake Diets. What is a Calorie?)
  9. The Sexual Spectrum (Gender, Sexuality, Identity Fluidity)
  10. Saving the World–with Space! (Space Travel)
  11. Malarkey! (Pseudoscience and Confirmation Bias)
  12. Designer Babies (Designer Babies)
  13. Earth’s People Problem (Overpopulation, Contraception)

 

My favorite episode would be, “The Sexual Spectrum.” Nye explains how there are four things about a person that we now know exist on a spectrum: sex, gender, attraction, and identity/appearance. Up until recent years, the popular belief was that there are only two genders: male and female. Males have XY chromosomes at birth, and females have XX chromosomes at birth. Except that isn’t the case. 1 in 400 pregnancies have chromosomal abnormalities, and people can be born with two ‘Y’’s, for example, or entirely different combinations. Gender also exists on a spectrum. Some people feel male, others female, some both, and some neither. It’s a very fluid process that up until recent years hasn’t been widely talked about.

As someone who’s relatively involved in the LGBTQ+ community, hearing Bill Nye drop words like “asexuality” or “genderfluid” was a pleasantly surprising experience. I got to play the episode for my mom and have Bill Nye explain the current views on gender and sexuality better than I ever could. It was really cool.

My second favorite episode would be, “The Original Martian Invasion”. The episode centers upon whether life on Earth came from another planet or not through the theory of panspermia. The Mars 2020 mission comes up, and the delightful Wil Wheaton made a guest appearance. But what really took the cake was the mention of my favorite animal in the entire world (and out of it). TARDIGRADES. The best description I’ve found of the microorganisms came from ScienceAlert.

“Water bears, or tardigrades as they’re officially known, are chubby

Tardigrade from “The Original Martian Invasion”

little anomalies that are damn near indestructible–they can bounce back from total desiccation, endure the greatest temperature extremes we can throw at them, and can even survive the frozen vacuum of space,” wrote Fiona McDonald.

 

They look basically like an eight-legged pink “hookah-caterpillar” from Alice in Wonderland. But unlike that unusual character, the Tardigrade has survived five entire mass-extinctions in Earth’s history.

Bill Nye even had a guy in a suit dress up as a Tardigrade (not as disturbing as you would think) and spin facts about the species. It was pretty funny.

Bill Nye always offers a solution or a bright side to the issue he’s discussing. Multiple points-of-view ensure a fair debate that’s engaging for the viewers. Anyone who wants to stay up to date with the current goings-on of our world, and not get hopelessly depressed at the state of the future, needs to watch Bill Nye Saves the World.

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