I know it has been a while, but think back to elementary school — those days when the TV cart would roll out and everyone gathered around criss-cross apple sauce, ready to learn. I remember losing my mind with my classmates, specifically to shows like “Eyewitness” and “School House Rock.” But nothing compared to one theme song — “BILL! BILL! BILL! BILL NYE, THE SCIENCE GUY!”
That song is a hype-train waiting to be boarded. It was, and to me, still is the jock jam of science. There is a deep-seated nostalgia value that resonates with Bill, which Netflix has capitalized on with their new original series, “Bill Nye Saves the World.” But we will not be going over the new series. Today, we will be looking at that good, good, nostalgia of the original Bill Nye.
Aired on syndication and PBS networks from 1993 to 1999, “Bill Nye the Science Guy” started as a tiny joke on “Almost Live!” — a Seattle-based sketch comedy show that Nye was acting in. Nye corrected his co-star, John Keister, on his pronunciation of “Gigawatt” and in a moment of brilliant improv, Keister responded, “Who do you think you are — Bill Nye the Science Guy?” From that, Bill formed his Science Guy persona.
In the six years that “Bill Nye” was on the air it had five seasons, 100 episodes, 23 Daytime Emmy nominations, and 19 victories. Netflix sadly only has 31 of the full 100 episodes. However, it makes it easy to binge the show if you decide to do so, as well as invoking the feeling that the episodes available are more like a best-of collection.
From the Earth’s crust to storms, Bill teaches us the basic science of the episodes’ topics. They also have both a DIY science project and a music video for every episode. The cringy 90s MV’s are … okay. They were cool at the time, but they don’t hold up as well today.
To Binge or Not to Binge
It holds up as a great show and the walk down memory lane was nice, but “Bill Nye” is not exactly binge-worthy. I got through about five-or-so a session before I was burnt out on science. Although, this show is great for your younger sibling or cousin and it isn’t a slog for you to sit down and watch it with them.
If you are looking for something current and more adult, “Bill Nye Saves the World” follows a similar structure, but it is easier to binge. There are three seasons of the new series, with six to eight episodes each. The show deals with more modern topics like dieting, pollution and the sexual spectrum.
Based on my own personal interests, the episodes on plants and flowers is the coolest. It’s hard to pick one because they are all pretty much the same — it all depends on what flavor of science you like.
“Mr. Wizard,” “The Magic School Bus,” “Bill Nye Saves the World” and “The ‘Who Was’ Show.”
“Bill Nye the Science Guy”
4 out of 5 stars
Available to stream on Netflix
31 episodes, about 15 hours