LOS ANGELES âÂ Not all heroes wear capes. Bill Nye wears a bowtie.
The TV personality best known for his wacky ’90s Science Guy show is back April 21 withÂ a science-education series on Netflix. But this time, the skinny scientist isnât just sharing facts;Â heâs also trying to rescue humanity from anti-science sentiment. The showâs immodest title? Bill Nye Saves the World.
âOur hope is to present a scientific viewpoint on issues of society,â he says, at a time when pseudoscience is popular and global warming denial is prevalent.Â He dedicates two of the season’s 13Â episodes, all due Friday,Â to those topics. Although âwe produced all the shows before the election,â he says, the issues we cover âhave come into stark reliefâ since President Trump came into office.
Saves the World essentially is a talk show: Nye jokes,Â conducts experiments in front of a studio audience,Â moderates panels with experts and deploys field correspondents for remote segments like a trip to Amsterdam to examine a 3D painter the creates in the style of Rembrandt. Among the correspondents are supermodel Karlie Kloss and comedians Joanna Hausmann and Nazeem Hussain, and there’sÂ Â an array of guests including Joel McHale, Martin Starr, Tim Gunn and Steve Aoki.
But the Saves the World isnât gentle and kid-friendly â you can tell Nye is angry about the state of things âwhile weâre living in a time of anti-science,â he says. Though the show is âfor anybody that has an interest (in) the issues in society from a science standpoint,â Nye would give the show a PG-13 rating, partly for his unbridled âpassion.â
For example, in an episode on alternative medicine, Nye does more than hint that a Whole Foods product for curing stomach pains is a bunch of bull, and he practically name-calls a practitioner of sound therapy. Also on the episode, one of his writers delivers a stand-up bit about how Buddhist dÃ©cor is inexplicably on display in alternative medicine offices. âStop using Asian wallpaper,â he says. âItâs half nonsense, half Indian. â¦ Itâs called Deepak Chopra.â
Nye says this about the show:Â âYouâre not gonna change everyoneâs mind, but maybe we can give people a nudge.â And to help push viewers along, he employs fun phrases like “It’s not magic; it’s science!”
He likens many Americansâ ignorance of science to Aesop’s fable about the fox and the grapes. In the story, the fox complains that the grapes are out of her reach.Â “Her worldview conflicts with the evidence, so she changes her opinion of the grapes and…