In a down year for science and technology content on late night, this was a good week.
The Predator is a film premiering this week in the United States. A follow-up to two earlier films, the movie stars, among others, Olivia Munn. She plays a biologist and teacher in the film, and was on with Ellen DeGeneres on Tuesday the 11th. She appeared on The Talk and with James Corden on September 13. (She was recently on with her movie castmates during the Conan shows from Comic-Con).
The big show of the week was the September 11 edition of The Late Show. Neil deGrasse Tyson was the main guest, and was promoting his latest book. It focuses on the relationship between astrophysics and the military. I have not yet read this book, but watching Tyson on StarTalk I notice that the further away he gets from his chosen field, the greater the chance he has of metaphorically stepping in it. I welcome his examination of the relationship between astrophysics and its military uses, I’m just not expecting it to be as incisive as his work in astrophysics.
The discussion between Colbert and Tyson was wide-ranging, including serious (for a change) conversation of the so-called “Space Force” and the latest developments in the debate over how to define a planet. And if that wasn’t enough, Stephen Colbert discussed the recent announcement that NASA will explore getting income through advertising and naming rights opportunities. To gild the lily, the show mentioned The Waffle House Index (a metric for the strength of natural disasters) before replaying a segment on the September 14 show.
Last, but certainly not least, is a segment from the Wednesday edition of Last Call (September 12). It features the co-directors, Cristina Constantini and Darren Foster, of the documentary Science Fair. The film follows nine students as they compete in the International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles. National Geographic Documentary Films distributes the film, which is currently in limited release.
Even with most shows returning from a late summer break, this past week was notable for the repeats. On Monday the 3rd, you could have re-watched the recent appearance of Silicon Valley star Thomas Middleditch on The Late Late Show. But Tuesday was the big deal, with Harry repeating a February show that featured astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.
I will note that this month marks the beginning of the last season of The Big Bang Theory. As appearances by the cast members, especially those who play scientists and engineers on the show, have been frequent, it is worth mentioning here. The series finale will likely take place sometime next May.
We’ll start the listings for last week with noting yet another appearance from a cast member of The Big Bang Theory who plays a scientist. As the show recently announced it will end after the upcoming season, the listings here will eventually take a hit. In the meantime, Mayim Bialik, who is a scientist who plays a scientist on the show, was on with Kelly and Ryan on the 28th. The show also hosted the Mathcounts winner on the August 29th edition.
In repeats last week, The View re-ran Evangeline Lilly’s June appearance on Friday the 31st. She plays a technology researcher (and one of the title characters) in Ant-Man and the Wasp. Lucy Liu, currently plays Dr. Joan Watson on Elementary. Her June appearance on The Late Late Show re-aired on the 28th.
This past week marks the end of the summer break for most programs. Many will be off today for the Labor Day holiday, but most should return Tuesday.
The summer repeats continued the week of August 20. The repeat of note that week was Jeffrey Wright’s May appearance with Carson Daly. Wright plays an android on Westworld, and his repeat aired on the 24th.
This past season of Elementary, the U.S. modern-day Sherlock Holmes television program, has aired during the summer. Lucy Liu, who plays Dr. Joan Watson in the program, was on with Kelly and Ryan on August 22.
And that was it. To try and fill the gap left this year, I’ll note two recent Late Show segments where Stephen Colbert touched on technology. On August 14 the show once again focused on developments in sex robots. Your mileage may vary, but some may consider the segment not safe for work.
A segment from the August 15th show is certainly safe for work, but may need explanation for younger viewers. Stephen took a younger member of the audience out to experience one of the few remaining pay telephones in New York City.
Once again, it’s the repeats that bring the content this past week. Tuesday (August 14) you could have seen Bill Nye on a repeat of Last Call, or revisit Conan’s trip to Israel, which included a trip to the Waze headquarters in Tel Aviv. On Thursday (16) the Ellen repeat featured Evan Rachel Wood, who plays an android on Westworld. And on the Friday edition (17) of The Late Show I’ll note the appearance of Ken Jeong, an actor who was a doctor and occasionally plays them in television and film. He talks a bit about his time as a doctor, and I failed to note this appearance when the episode first ran in June.
There is, however, a new entry of note. As is common, a cast member who plays a scientist on The Big Bang Theory was featured on a late night show. Actual neuroscientist Mayim Bialik was on The Late Late Show on August 14. She was promoting the show as well as her latest child development/parenting book, which is informed by her work in neuroscience and focuses on boys (her previous book focused on girls).
If it wasn’t for Harry Connick Junior’s daytime show Harry, I’d have nothing to write about for this past week. This time it’s the August 7th repeat of a show from January. Thandie Newton was featured, and she plays one of the androids in HBO’s version of Westworld.
That is, as they say, that.
Until my next post, happy reading and watching.
You know it’s the doldrums of summer when even The Tonight Show is cutting back its new episodes during the summer. The week of July 30 continued the season’s trend (echoed throughout the year) of a notable dip in science and technology content.
What little I can offer comes from repeats from daytime programs, items I likely missed the first time around. The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Harry have been in repeats all summer. On Tuesday the 31st the show reaired an episode from May featuring Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman. They co-host a crafting/making competition show called Making It currently airing on NBC. The next day the Ellen repeat (from featured perennial visitor to these posts Jim Parsons, who plays a scientist on The Big Bang Theory. Not to be outdone (but unaware of being in competition), the Thursday August 2 repeat of Harry featured former astronaut Peggy Whitson.