This past week featured yet another appearance from astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson, whose Star Talk television show continues its fourth season on the National Geographic Channel in the U.S. On November 8th he was a guest on The Late Late Show. (The November 5 edition of Star Talk featured Tyson’s interview with former head of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Dr. Arati Prabhakar. However, the interview was conducted while Prabhakar led the agency.)
The other major science and technology guests of the week were the new hosts of MythBusters, which premieres a new season in the U.S. on November 15. Jon Lung and Brian Louden, selected during a reality competition show that ran earlier this year, take over the show, which now airs on the Science Channel (as do reruns featuring the previous hosts). A lot has changed in television and in science communication since MythBusters premiered in the early years of this century. Having watched The Search, I agree that the new hosts have the build skills to fit in with the show. What I have no idea about is their chemistry together.
Finally, on November 9, The Late Show had one of its irregular segments on technology matters, called Cyborgasm. This segment was focused on sex robots, so I’d treat it as NSFW.
This past week was not the strongest for science and technology guests, since one of the highlights is probably Live hosts Kelly and Ryan getting a flu shot on the November 2 episode. The other may be the semi-regular appearance of a cast member of The Big Bang Theory. This time Jim Parsons was on with Late Late Show host James Corden on November 1.
The October 29 episode of Star Talk took a look at geek culture through host Neil deGrasse Tyson’s interview with filmmaker and geek Kevin Smith, but you might be frustrated at the limited efforts to apply some anthropology to a fan convention. What might be more satisfying are the interview portions with Smith where the filmmaker expresses regret at how he rarely, if ever experiences science as something cool, especially as a youth.
Well, Neil DeGrasse Tyson is still promoting his latest book and the new season of Star Talk. (Katie Couric was the guest on Sunday the 22nd). Monday night (the 23rd) he was on Last Call with Carson Daly.
This week is pretty strong for science-y demonstrations. “Science Bob” Pflugfelder is back on Live With Kelly and Ryan Thursday morning (10/26). Former MythBuster co-host Adam Savage is on the Wednesday edition (10/25) of the Late Show with his Brain Candy tour co-host Michael Stevens.
Former Daily Show correspondents have also made this week big for science. Samantha Bee dedicated the entirety of the October 25th Full Frontal to climate change topics, including a segment on persuading those who are not persuaded by the evidence. The Opposition host Jordan Klepper continues to engage science topics through the lens of the so-called alternative media (think InfoWars). On Tuesday’s program Bill Nye was the guest, and the show has recently discussed Amazon’s business practices and the re-emergence of the National Space Council.
Several programs were in repeats this past week. You could have re-watched Jim Parsons’ most recent appearance on Late Night this past Thursday. He plays a scientist on The Big Bang Theory and narrates the exploits of that character’s younger self on Young Sheldon.
The promotion for weather-control-gone-bad disaster movie Geostorm continued this week. Star Gerard Butler was on The Talk on Friday the 20th, the day the movie premiered in the U.S.
Self-described data journalist Nate Silver appeared on The Opposition on Wednesday the 18th. And since it’s a new month, there’s a new talk show appearance from a Big Bang Theory star. This time it’s Kunal Nayyar, who was on with Ellen DeGeneres this past Friday. He plays a scientist on the program.
Once again, I’m way late with this. Can’t blame anyone but myself.
There’s a film called Geostorm premiering in the U.S. this Friday, October 20. It seems to be in the same genre space as Into the Storm, The Core and other disaster films that aren’t terribly concerned about scientific plausibility. In other words, about 90 minutes of cornball action-adventure. The film involves apparent sabotage of a global satellite network intended to control the weather. Anyway, the star of the film, Gerard Butler, has been out promoting the film, and appeared on Late Night and Live with Kelly and Ryan this past Thursday (October 12).
Halt and Catch Fire, the AMC network’s television program focusing on a few people developing computer technology in the 1980s and 1990s, recently concluded. Lead Mackenzie Davis was on Late Night on October 9th to discuss the show.
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is a recently released film focused on the psychologist William Marston, who helped develop the polygraph with his wife Elizabeth. The film is more focused on the relationship both Marstons had with one of their students and how all of this influenced Marston to create the Wonder Woman comic book. Luke Evans plays William Marston, and he visited with Stephen Colbert on the October 10th Late Show. Rebecca Hall plays Elizabeth Marston and she was on The Talk October 13th.
Tonight (Sunday) another episode of Star Talk premiered, featuring primatologist Jane Goodall. I really intend to have more on Star Talk‘s fourth season later this week (but I said something similar last week that didn’t pan out).
Yes, I’m late again…I’ll eventually try and explain why and get back to something resembling normal for this blog, but in the meantime, here’s the shows with science and technology content from last week.
I will note that both Star Talk and Science Goes to the Movies have new seasons currently airing. This deserves a separate post that I hope to get to later this week. I’ll note that the Star Talk season started on October 1 with an episode featuring Neil deGrasse Tyson’s interview with cyclist Lance Armstrong. Cycling journalist Max Glaskin joined Tyson and comedian Scott Adsit in studio, and cycling technology and technique were important parts of the Armstrong interview and the in-studio segments. Bioethicist Arthur Caplan joined the show when the discussion turned to performance enhancing drugs. The show can be seen in the U.S. on National Geographic Channel.
Star Talk host Tyson made a brief appearance on The Late Show Tuesday night to promote his show and participate in the Late Show‘s campaign to raise funds for Puerto Rico. The Late Show had a big week for science and technology content. On the October 5th (Thursday) show, Mr. Robot actress Grace Gummer talked at length about the Amazon electronic assistant Alexa, which features in at least one episode of the show. On the Friday show, host Stephen Colbert had a desk piece on DNA testing and white supremacists.
The Opposition with Jordan Klepper makes its first entry with last Tuesday’s edition (October 3). The show spent a segment exploring the current sweeping changes in play at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Part of the segment included an interview with former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.
The movie Blade Runner 2049 premiered in the U.S. this past Friday, and two of the main actors appeared to promote the show. Ryan Gosling and Robin Wright appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on October 3 and 4, respectively. Harrison Ford visited Live with Kelly and Ryan on the 4th.
Finally, former MythBusters host Adam Savage was on Live with Kelly and Ryan this past Friday (the 6th). He was with his Brain Candy tour co-host Michael Stevens (host of the science-themed YouTube channel Vsauce) doing demonstrations and brain teasers.
Before diving into the week’s listings, a note that Star Trek: Discovery lead Sonequa Martin-Green was promoting the show on more than just the late night CBS programs last week. Martin-Green, who plays a xenoanthropologist on Discovery, was on both The Talk and Rachael Ray’s daytime talk show last Friday. Discovery premiered in the U.S. on September 24th and is available on CBS All Access in the United States and other streaming services worldwide. Early reviews suggest that the third episode – which will be available starting October 1st – will have a storyline involving the use of science and technology by the military.
Continuing with last week’s programs, TBS aired a prime-time Conan episode on September 19 where the host traveled to Israel. Part of the program involved Conan O’Brien’s visit to the headquarters of Waze, the company with a successful traffic analysis app.
On to this week. Wisdom of the Crowd is a new CBS show starring Jeremy Piven as a man who developed ‘crowdsourced crime-solving’ technology after his daughter’s murder. Piven promoted the program on The Late Late Show Monday night.
Once again, cast members of The Big Bang Theory are out promoting the latest season. However, Jim Parsons, who plays one of the scientists on the program, is also promoting the new show, Young Sheldon, which features his Big Bang Theory character as a nine year old kid entering high school. Clips suggest that at least some of the program will feature the budding young scientist doing research. He was on Late Night this past Monday.
Last night journalist Kathryn Miles was on The Daily Show to discuss her new book Quakeland. The book focuses on the history of human-induced earthquakes, which arguably pre-dates the recent increase in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
The big guest of the week is “Science Bob” Pflugfelder, who returns to Jimmy Kimmel Live! tonight (Wednesday). And once again I wonder why Pflugfelder is only on Kimmel’s program and the various editions of what is now “Live with Kelly and Ryan.”