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Wonders of the Universe Rant
Science Mother Fuckers
stainsteelrat
So Season 2 of Wonders of the Universe has started...

I was not a fan of Season 1, mostly because it taught me next to nothing. It just seemed to be the worst form of science guff, with lots of arty farty TV, strident soundtrack, and little actual content. More on that below.

And just to set my position in (or not) the target audience. I don't profess to be some scientific genius. I'm just a sort of middle of the road educated bloke (with a B in A-Level Physics, and a 2:1 in Civil Engineering). Yet I saw nothing but praise for it in Internet circles (mostly on Twitter, and curiously often from celebs on Twitter).

But Season 1 wasn't just simple science, it was blindingly simple science, hooked together by soliloquies from Professor Brian Cox, and expensive cinematography (which seems to involve a camera regularly revolving around his head at short or long distance). And I have nothing against Professor Brian Cox. I can only assume the guy *is* bloody clever, otherwise he wouldn't be doing what he does, aside from this programme. Clearly he loves science, and waxes both lyrical and poetical about the subject at hand, but there's just bugger all to said waffle - I have no idea who writes the text offhand.

Perhaps more frustrating than that, it looks like a fucking expensive programme, which is filmed all around the world, and I'm (one of several million people admittedly) paying for it. Now I'm not averse to BBC documentaries, as in my opinion they make the best in the world e.g. the very recent Human Planet, which aside from the last episode was amazing, interesting, and most importantly INFORMATIVE.

Anyway, here's a slightly oversimplified breakdown of Wonders of the Universe Season 2 Episode 1...

0-5 minutes: Prof Brian Cox explains how the calendar works.
5-10 minutes: some turtles lay eggs. Which we've seen many times before on nature documentaries.
10-15 minutes: glaciers. Which we've seen many times before on nature documentaries.
15-20 minutes: supernovae. Which we've seen many times before on science documentaries.
20-25 minutes: stars provide light. No shit.
25-30 minutes: diamonds. Not sure of the point, no pun intended.
30-35 minutes: entropy! OK, mention of something scientific.
35-40 minutes: more on entropy, but defining the passage of time as entropy? Hum.
40-45 minutes: the sun will go bang eventually. No shit.
45-50 minutes: black dwarves. OK, a morsel of science about said stars.
50-55 minutes: back to the sun going back. Still no shit.
55-60 minutes: a sort of recap. Still learnt nothing.

(Perhaps I should have mapped all the various places that were travelled to, so someone could tot up the travel bill)

Of course it might just be that I'm not syncing with whatever Wonders of the Universe is trying to convey. Like those people you sometimes meet who you just cannot get on with. It might well be that for those who have essentially never studied science it's interesting, it's a start. And for the record I don't think science programmes should be or need to be dry and boring without decent camera work, cinematography etc. Again, see Human Planet, which combined both fantastic production and information.

Personally though I couldn't stand Season 1 of Wonders of the Universe, and Season 2 is looking like a repeat of that.

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I really enjoyed it, because I'm from an Arts background and my knowledge of Science is woefully inadequate (I'm trying to rectify that). That said, I did take issue with a lot of what was said; not the principles, per se, but rather the way they were expressed.

Did you feel educated by it though? And out of interest, what issue did you have with what was said?

as someone who failed science completely at school, I actually really like the show and definitely come away feeling more educated!

Interesting. So perhaps it fails for those who have some science knowledge?

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