First, a retrospective on last week’s programs. (Apologies for not posting them last week.) Yes, there were eclipse jokes, but most were some variation on looking at the sun without the proper equipment or a parallel with current events.
Last Thursday (August 24) The Late Late Show re-ran former Vice President Al Gore’s recent appearance to promote An Inconvenient Sequel. Tonight (Monday) The Late Show will re-air Mr. Gore’s recent appearance.
Last Tuesday (August 22) Jimmy Kimmel Live! re-ran the recent appearance by The Big Bang Theory actor Jim Parsons. Parsons plays a scientist on the show, and he narrated the recently aired Discovery documentary First In Human. The program focuses on the Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health.
Focusing on the week ahead, repeats continue. Most of the shows should be back following Labor Day.
But there is a double dose of Neil deGrasse Tyson. He is on the new episode of The Daily Show tonight (Monday), and on Wednesday you can catch his June appearance on The View. On Friday you can see a new interview with Tatiana Maslany on Live with Kelly and Ryan. Maslany recently ended her run on Orphan Black where she played a number of different characters, each of them clones.
First, a scheduling note. I will be focused on the solar eclipse next Monday, and the week’s listings will likely be posted either Sunday night or sometime on Tuesday. As it is still the late August doldrums (for non-political talk that is), I suspect this won’t be an issue.
This week we have rare appearances of science and technology guests on the NBC shows. Tonight (Monday) on Late Night you can watch an interview with Bryan Vogel. Vogel directed the documentary film Icarus, which chronicles the Russian Olympic doping scandal. Grant Thompson, best known for his YouTube videos, will appear on The Tonight Show Friday night. He will likely have one of his science and/or technology demonstrations ready to go.
While The Daily Show is airing retrospective episodes on the Trump Administration this week, most of the late night shows are airing new programs this week. Sadly, the relevant science and technology guests are to be found in the repeats on daytime.
On Tuesday, you can catch former doctor who plays one on television Ken Jeong on The Real. It’s a repeat from February. On Thursday you can see Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence talk with Ellen DeGeneres about Passengers, their film from last year that focuses on two passengers on a sleeper ship.
As I continue to catch up from my recent travels, I’ll note two other recent appearances of science and technology guests on late night. Al Gore continued his promotion of An Inconvenient Sequel with a July 26 visit to The Late Late Show. Adam Conover, who hosts Adam Ruins Everything, was on The Late Show on August 1. Conover’s show assesses conventional wisdom and occasionally digs into scientific topics.
So, my prediction that last week’s post would be delayed was either completely wrong, or meant to mean it would be folded into this week’s edition.
Either way, I whiffed. Many programs last week were in repeats, but there was some promotion for the upcoming Discovery Channel film Manhunt: Unabomber. The Unabomber was known, in part, for a negative perspective about the influence of technology on humanity. Last week actor Paul Bettany appeared on The Late Show (Monday) and Live with Kelly and Ryan (Tuesday) to promote the film.
While it showed up in these listings infrequently, I’ll note that this is the last week for the Comedy Central program @midnight. It will have a special Friday episode to celebrate the end of the show.
In this week’s repeats, you can see actor-mathematician Danica McKellar’s March appearance on Harry this Thursday.
On Tuesday former Vice President Al Gore will appear on The Daily Show, likely to promote his sequel to An Inconvenient Truth. He also appeared on The Late Show on July 17th to promote the film.
On Friday we have one of the frequent appearances by a cast member of The Big Bang Theory when Jim Parsons appears on The Talk.
(Publisher’s note – next week’s Late Night post may be delayed due to travel schedule.)
The summer doldrums continue. While the breaks for Independence Day are over, there are few guests of note in the repeats or new episodes. Kumail Nanjiani of Silicon Valley is once again in the listings, though this time it is not for his current new film The Big Sick, but the forthcoming Lego Ninjago film. He’ll be on Conan this Saturday night (the show is broadcasting from the Comic-Con in San Diego later this week) along with the rest of the main cast, which includes Nanjiani’s Silicon Valley castmate Zach Woods.
This appears to be it for this week. However, The Late Show has yet to announce guests for its shows on Wednesday through Friday. This might have something to do with the program’s planned ‘Russia Week,’ which features footage shot in country earlier this summer. Perhaps there will be some science or technology related content from Colbert’s trip?
Most of the shows are back from their Independence Day-related breaks. Of this week’s repeats, Tuesday night you can see Silicon Valley star Kumail Nanjiani’s April appearance on The Late Late Show. His co-star Thomas Middleditch is featured on Friday’s repeat of the same program. Thursday you can catch Alan Alda’s June appearance on Late Night. Alda is the founder of a center on science communication at the State University of New York – Stony Brook. He recently released a book on the subject.
Nanjiani is also featured on this week’s new programs. He’s on The Daily Show tonight (Monday) likely to promote his current film, The Big Sick. Also new this week is a return visit by sex expert Dr. Jennifer Berman to the Conan program. Regrettably, Conan O’Brien falls back hard on his repressed Catholic roots in these segments, so I’m skeptical that there will be much useful content.
I have noticed that Bill Nye Saves the World is planning to tape new shows later this month, but I’m not sure when Netflix will air them.
Yes, this post is a bit late. But given the listings, it’s really nobody’s loss…
Nearly every program is in repeats this week, or pre-empted. And of those few programs airing new episodes, there are no science and technology guest bookings of note.
I did, however, miss the Brian Greene booking for the June 28th edition of The Late Show. As has happened during the physicist’s previous appearances with Stephen Colbert, there was a science demonstration. It followed a discussion of the double-slit experiment, which recently celebrated its 90th anniversary.
The quote referenced in the thumbnail occurs early in the segment, and is – perhaps regrettably – glossed over. Regrettably only in the sense that I think the political issue(s) involved deserve some more thoughtful discussion, particularly in the activity that has or hasn’t taken place since April’s March for Science.
But back to the late night stuff. On June 30th The Late Show aired an episode that was a mix of new comedy content blended with recent interviews. Part of the monologue that night touched on science issues, including the ongoing trial of pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli. (Note – the language within is perhaps not appropriate for the younglings.) Another portion discussed a possible ethical issue with the recent EPA decisions about a pesticide ban (skip to roughly 4:30 in the clip).