Ryan Thomason

Bad Universe: Move Over Mythbusters

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First off, I love the Discovery Channel. It has a lot of my favorite shows, from Deadliest Catch, and Mythbusters to The Colony, even throw in a survival show every now and then. I’m a happy camper. Though it seems like most people (Including our community on our WPR Forums) have been saying that the channel has been moving too much toward ‘reality TV’. Bad Universe puts Discovery Channel back to what I’ve always thought the channel represented, SCIENCE! and teaching people about it. So, how does Phil Plait of BadAstronomer fame handle the hosting job? You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Bad Universe will be tackling new topics every episode that deal with misconceptions or ideas that have to deal with the universe that we live in. The first episode? Asteroid smashing into the planet, the most overused Movie/Book/Everything plot that we’ve all seen Hollywood tread over and over. First off, Phil Plait knows what he is talking about and is passionate about what he does for sure. The way he explains things is very concise and easy to understand. When he brings up something that 90% of the populace wouldn’t understand. It is explained quickly, efficiently, and most importantly in a way that you quickly ‘get’.

The experts in the episode that help him test the various experiments about what would happen during an asteroid impact do a great job of not over complicating things. Oh, and they do some AWESOME tests of how to stop an Asteroid…and even make a 60 foot wide impact crater in the ground. Yeah, it was very, very cool to watch and learn. None of it is done in a cheesy way, it simply looks clean and done right, which is how I like it. When they do short cuts to the experts in a drawn cartoon way as a way of introducing the expert and their credentials was cool. Even better, the artwork was actually pretty nice. I’m sure that the experts introduced on the show will be trying to find the artist so they can have their pictures framed. The CGI isn’t bad at all, my favorite was when Phil was talking about all the asteroids that impact the Earth every year, and they piled up behind him into a big building looking structure.

The show does a great job of incorporating a learning factor without making it seem lecturing to the viewer. Honestly, you don’t have to be a SCIENCE! geek to watch this show, heck sit your kids (and/or unlearned significant other) down with you and enjoy. It was entertaining, informative, and the experiments were downright cool. Phil has an excitement in his voice that when he is explaining about a topic you can’t help but listen and absorb the knowledge.

I can’t wait to see what other topics are going to be tackled and how they keep this high standard rolling. I’ll definitely be recording this Sunday, August 29th on the Discovery Channel.

Things I learned this Episode:
1) Phill really likes to use the phrase “Holy *something, something*” when he is excited.
2) New Mexico is apparently the hotbed of space experts.
3) You don’t mess with a Asteroid made of Nickle.
4) ‘Made Asteroid Impact Craters’ would be cool to put on your resume as a job description.
5) SCIENCE! Is awesome.
6) We Are Screwed.

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