The Eyes of Nye
The Eyes of Nye was a science program airing on public television in the United States in 2005 and featuring Bill Nye. The show was more sophisticated than its predecessor Bill Nye the Science Guy, as it was aimed more toward adults and teenagers than children. All episodes were rated TV-G, except for "Addiction" and "The Evolution of Sex", both rated TV-PG. The creation of the show was motivated by the success of the television program Bill Nye the Science Guy, as well as a widespread contempt among scientists for scientific journalism in the media. The program was based in Seattle, Washington, produced by Buena Vista Television and broadcast during primetime by KCTS, the local PBS affiliate.
- Straight Talk — Parodies interview shows like Larry King Live. The guest is always a deep-voiced, overbearing senator whose opinion fluctuates quite wildly with each question.
- Opinions Now with Chris David — Parodies "debate" shows like Hardball with Chris Matthews. The host is very loud, constantly leans forward and glares at the camera, and demands solid answers, or at least strong opinions, at all times. Taking a jab at modern television news shows, the more level-headed and cautious experts are often ignored in favor of other guests with more extreme and livid views on the subject at hand.
- Science with Mr. Sanders — Parodies 1950s-era educational films. Mary and Tommy, stereotypical period schoolchildren, ask questions of their teacher, Mr. Sanders. The answers he gives are usually laden with his personal prejudices and disturbing information about his personal life. In a Twilight Zone-like twist, the characters imply that The Eyes of Nye is merely an educational film they are watching.
- The Hippy Couple — Parodies ignorant "New Agey" views on science, featuring a stereotypical hippy couple who ramble at length about love, ecological produce, and global warming. In the end, though, the couple really only appear to be interested in growing hemp, which seems plausible judging from their stoned appearance.
|Show #||Episode||Air Date||Synopsis|
|101||Astrobiology||April 3, 2005||Does extraterrestrial life exist? How are we working to find it, and what will happen if we do? Bill meets people who are hunting for aliens, visits a "Martian" landscape right here on Earth, and talks with one of astronomy's premier planet finders.|
|102||Pseudoscience||April 10, 2005||Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. And to be scientific, a claim or hypothesis must be able to be proven false. Bill exposes techniques used by psychics, explains the science of walking on a bed of flaming coals, and investigates "The Case of the Extraordinary Claim".|
|103||Addiction||April 17, 2005||Bill examines the controversial question of whether addiction is a disease. Segments focus on doctors who seek to better understand addictive behaviors by studying brain chemistry, psychology, and social factors; individuals who live with substance abuse issues; and scientists who are working to identify the genes that may lead to addiction.|
|104||Cloning||April 10, 2005||The possibilities of cloning reach far beyond creating genetically exact duplicates of animals or human beings. The same techniques could potentially be used to cure diseases or repair damaged organs. Bill talks with a developmental biologist about why cloning animals is so difficult, shows how cloning works, and visits a lab where stem cells are used to repair damaged spinal cords.|
|105||Nuclear Energy||April 24, 2005||With evidence of global warming mounting, Americans are revisiting the idea of nuclear energy. It's a clean energy source that can be produced domestically, but dealing with the waste remains a major hurdle. To find out whether the benefits are worth the risks, Bill visits a nuclear reactor and the Yucca Mountain, NV site where the U.S. government wants to store nuclear waste.|
|106||Sports||May 1, 2005||Bill explores the physics of a variety of sports, from the 100-meter sprint of Olympic champion Maurice Green to the cat-like reactions of U.S. women's soccer goalie Hope Solo.|
|107||Population||May 8, 2005||Bill explains what birth and death rates mean and looks at population issues around the world, from demographics to social and cultural aspects, to discover how education and industrialization can affect population. Field reports include stories about population trends in the Third World, a look at consumption trends, and an analysis of mass-media education methods such as soap operas that feature population issues.|
|108||Race||May 15, 2005||Bill explores why people of different skin colors look so different on the outside when the DNA on the inside is so similar, then has his own DNA sequenced to find out what he can determine about his "race".|
|109||Antibiotics||May 29, 2005||The battle between microbes and humans is far from over. In fact, deaths from infectious diseases have increased since the 1980s. Some of the rise is due to new "bugs" such as HIV and hepatitis C, but the alarming increase in antibiotic resistance is also responsible. Bill talks with experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about new narrow-spectrum antibiotics and "bacteriocins" and demonstrates just how important hand-washing really is in the fight against germs.|
|110||Genetically Modified Foods||June 5, 2005||Through genetic engineering, scientists can pull off such outrageous-sounding feats as crossing a tomato with a flounder. In fact, more than half of the foods on grocery store shelves now—even infant formula—have been genetically modified in some way. But do we really know yet whether they are safe for humans and the environment? Bill hears the various sides of this controversial issue by talking to traditional wheat breeders, organic agriculture researchers, and corporate genetic engineers.|
|111||Transportation||June 12, 2005||Bill examines the problem of pollution from transportation—which has outstripped manufacturing to become America's largest source of air pollution—by tracing the historical roots of American car culture, trying out some cutting-edge traffic simulation software, and exploring the promise of fuel-efficient cars and state-of-the-art hydrogen technology.|
|112||Global Climate Change||June 19, 2005||The world is getting warmer. Is it our fault? Is the rise in temperature a product of the Industrial Revolution, the burning of fossil fuels, and the modern propensity for driving down to the mini-mart in a car the size of a woolly mammoth? Or is it just part of a natural global cycle? Bill investigates with a visit to the National Ice Core Laboratory in Denver, where scientists identify and evaluate atmospheric gases from 400,000 years ago, and a demonstration of how increased levels of carbon dioxide affect temperatures on Earth.|
|113||Evolution of Sex||June 26, 2005||Why sex? For one thing, with sex we're trying to stay ahead of the germs that are always attacking us. With one act of mixing our genes through sexual reproduction, there are millions of new possible combinations to help fight off the parasites. Includes an explanation of the relationship between sex and parasites, an experiment in which women use scent to detect subtle genetic differences in men, and a discussion of the risks organisms take in reproducing sexually rather than asexually.|
PBS, which broadcast the original Bill Nye the Science Guy, turned down the offer to distribute Nye's new show. Randy Brinson, a co-producer of The Eyes of Nye, said in an interview that the reason for PBS's rejection of the show was a result of its desire for "more serious, in-depth Nova-style shows". Brinson went on to say that this and some "local production issues" were the cause of the show's delays, although in an interview for the same article Nye blamed financial problems within KCTS-TV (the producer of the show) for the delays. However, it was noted that The Eyes of Nye has been picked up for broadcast by about 100 public television stations, and that this may lead to further development.
Twelve of the thirteen episodes are available as a set for $49.00 on DVD from Disney Educational Productions. Because the target audience for the show are educational institutions, each episode is available on its own DVD. However, the price of these DVDs is also aimed at this audience, and is a result of the licensing restrictions involved in showing the episodes to classrooms.
Bob Nelson and Pat Cashman, members of the sketch comedy television show Almost Live!, of which Bill Nye was also a member, made guest appearances. Cashman was also the voice of the announcer for Nye's previous show Bill Nye the Science Guy. The show was directed by Emmy Award winning, Steve Feldman and Almost Live! director & cast member Steve Wilson.
- Paulson, Tom (2005-04-05). That Science Guy is back, in 'Eyes of Nye'. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved from http://www.seattlepi.com/tv/218731_nye05.html.
- "The Eyes of Nye Complete Series (DVD)". Disney Educational Productions. Archived from the original on February 4, 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-28. "The Eyes of Nye By Episode (DVD)". Disney Educational Productions. Retrieved 2007-02-28.