Pick of the week

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

Ge­nius by Stephen Hawk­ing Wed­nes­day, 9.30pm, NatGeo (610) “Any­one can think like a ge­nius, any­one can an­swer big ques­tions for them­selves,” says physi­cist and cos­mol­o­gist Stephen Hawk­ing, and this five-part se­ries sets out to prove it. In essence a re­al­ity show for smart peo­ple, each episode of Ge­nius by Stephen Hawk­ing su­per­vises three “or­di­nary volunteers” — Jim, Joy and Cat in the first episode, ti­tled Where are We? — to per­form a se­ries of rel­a­tively straight­for­ward ex­per­i­ments to an­swer the guid­ing ques­tion. Thus, with the aid of a ute, a boat, a he­li­copter and var­i­ous scale mod­els of Earth, the moon and the sun sup­ple­mented by plen­teous post-pro­duc­tion spe­cial ef­fects, the trio are able to di­vine the cir­cum­fer­ence of Earth, the dis­tance be­tween plan­ets, and so forth. The se­ries, from a pro­duc­tion com­pany named Big­ger Bang by Hawk­ing him­self, fol­lows all the an­noy­ing tropes of the re­al­ity uni­verse: overly dra­matic and lead­ing mu­sic, par­tic­i­pants ad­dress­ing the cam­era di­rectly to ex­plain what the viewer just saw or is about to see, and the forced bon­homie of the team­work per­formed. Yet it is this very ad­her­ence to the re­al­ity for­mula, ex­as­per­at­ing as it can of­ten be, that will at­tract in­quis­i­tive young­sters who might other­wise turn up their nose at the maths and science in­volved. Hawk­ing him­self says it best in his nar­ra­tion: “For­tu­nately, we hu­mans know ev­ery­thing ... but how did we find out?”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.