Bill Nye the Science Guy is an American live action half-hour program that originally aired from September 10, 1993 to June 20, 1998, hosted by Bill Nye and produced by Buena Vista Television. The show aired on PBS Kids and was also syndicated to local stations, making it the second first-run television program behind The Open Mind. It still airs on some PBS stations as an educational program for in-school use. Each of the 100 episodes aims to teach a specific topic in science to a preteen audience. The show is frequently used in schools as an education medium.
Created by comedian Ross Shafer and was based on sketches from KING-TV's sketch program Almost Live!, Bill Nye the Science Guy was produced by Disney Educational Productions and KCTS-TV of Seattle.
Bill Nye the Science Guy won nineteen Emmy Awards during its run.
The show ran about the same time as and covered similar topics to Beakman's World, in fact sharing one crew member, editor/writer/director Michael Gross. Before this show, Bill Nye had previously worked alongside Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future: The Animated Series, where Nye played Doc Brown's assistant and demonstrated several experiments.
Bill Nye the Science Guy has been likened to the next generation version of Mr. Wizard. Bill's TV persona is a tall and slender scientist wearing a blue lab coat and a bow-tie. He mixes the serious science of everyday things with fast-paced action and humor. Each episode began with a cold open, where Nye introduced the episode's topic, which leads into an opening credit sequence, and shows Nye in an animated scientifically world, such as Nye's disembodied head spinning, radio frequencies, and plastic toy dinosaurs flying. In later seasons, the theme song was cut short by a static screen. After the opening credits, Pat Cashman would say "Brought to you by...", in which a product name was related to the episode's topic, followed by Nye walking onto the set, called "Nye Laboratories", which is filled with scientific visuals including many "of science" contraptions announced dramatically, relevant to the topic of each episode. Science-related film, TV, and commercial parodies configure the facts of the episode's topic.
There are several individual segments featured in each episode, such as "Way Cool Scientist", which featured an expert discussing on the episode's topic, "Consider the Following", where Nye discussed a certain aspect of the episode's topic, "Nifty Home Experiment", where the audience is shown how to do a simple home experiment relating to the episode's topic, "Try This", where the audience is shown how to try a simple demonstration relating to the episode's topic, "Hey, Look at This", where the expert gives a closer look by relating to the episode's topic, "Check it Out", where the audience is shown how to affect their environmental issues by relating to the episode's topic, and "Did you know that...", where an interesting factoid related to the episode's topic was presented. "Luna Van Dyke, Private Eye" was one of the recurring segments on the show. The segments featured Luna Van Dyke focusing on a story that is related to the episode's topic.
Most episodes contain a mock song parody and music video in the "Soundtrack of Science" by "Not That Bad Records". "Not that bad" is a catchphrase that Nye would often say in these episodes, substituting a scientific roundup of the episode for the lyrics to a popular song. This is usually the last segment of each episode. When the show was over, Bill thanks the viewers for watching before explaining in a clever description of a topic's activity. After that, a female announcer would say "Produced in association with the National Science Foundation". On PBS airings, a female announcer would say "Produced in association with Walt Disney Television". The credits rolled over bloopers from the episode.
The show's memorable theme song is set to a house beat, with Pat Cashman saying the show's title in a distorted male voice, which comes across a bass rhythm line. And the number is punctuated by repeating the word "Bill!" as a percussive shout. The sound and speed fluctuations of the voice were accomplished through a vocoder and electronic pitch fluctuation. The theme song is credited to Mike Greene.
The show's episodes consisted of several compositions from Associated Production Music. Some featured tracks include:
- "Act of Heroism (C)"
- "Blood in the Gutter" by Laurie Johnson
- "Dramatic Impact #3" by Ivor Slaney
- "The Gunfighter" by Ennio Morricone
- "Hit and Run" by Ralph Dollimore
- "Killer Birds" by Gregor Narholz
- "Saw Theme"
- "Spindlelegs" by King Palmer
Many of these tracks were also featured in SpongeBob SquarePants and The Ren and Stimpy Show. Another common track used was the theme from the English show Dave Allen At Large, here used as the theme from "The Jackie Smazz Show." "Killer Birds" was used in an All That episode.
A computer game for the series, titled Bill Nye the Science Guy: Stop the Rock!, was released in 1996 for Windows and Macintosh by Pacific Interactive. In the game, a large meteoroid called "Impending Dumé" threatens to make a catastrophic collision with the Earth. A team of scientists develop a laser satellite-controlling computer system called MAAX (Meteoroid and Asteroid Exploder) to destroy the meteoroid; however, MAAX develops a personality of its own (in an obvious parody of the sentient computer HAL from the film and novel 2001: A Space Odyssey) and refuses to save the planet unless Earth's scientists can solve seven science riddles. Nye Labs decides to take on MAAX's challenge, and the player, depicted as the newest member of the Nye Labs team, is asked to solve these riddles using Nye Labs' equipment before Impending Dumé hits (represented through an in-game timer). The game featured a fully explorable Nye Labs, as well as video cut scenes featuring Bill Nye and other Nye Labs scientists. However, the characters and cast members from the TV series, sans Bill Nye and a few others, do not appear in this game, instead being replaced by game-exclusive Nye Labs team members and new actors.
List of episodes
- Main article: Bill Nye the Science Guy episode list
Daytime Emmy Awards
- 1996 – Outstanding Writing in a Children's Series – Erren Gottlieb, Bill Nye, James McKenna, Scott Schaefer, Adam Gross, and Seth Gross
- 1996 – Outstanding Sound Editing – Michael McAuliffe, Dave Howe, Ella Brackett, Thomas McGurk, and Jim Wilson
- 1997 – Outstanding Writing in a Children's Series – Kit Boss,Erren Gottlieb, Michael Gross, James McKenna, Bill Nye, Ian G. Saunders, Scott Schaefer, and Darrell Suto
- 1997 – Outstanding Directing in a Children's Series – Darrell Suto, Michael Gross, Erren Gottlieb, and James McKenna
- 1997 – Outstanding Single Camera Editing – Darrell Suto, Michael Gross, Felicity Oram, and John Reul
- 1997 – Outstanding Sound Editing – Thomas McGurk, Michael McAuliffe, and Dave Howe
- 1998 – Outstanding Writing in a Children's Series – Erren Gottlieb, James McKenna, Bill Nye, Michael Gross, Darrell Suto, Scott Schaefer, Kit Boss, Lynn Brunelle, Michael Palleschi, Ian G. Saunders, and Simon Griffith (Tied with Sesame Street)
- 1998 – Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series – Bill Nye
- 1998 – Outstanding Single Camera Editing – Darrell Suto, Michael Gross, Felicity Oram, and John Reul
- 1998 – Outstanding Sound Editing – Dave Howe, Thomas McGurk, and Michael McAuliffe
- 1998 – Outstanding Sound Mixing – Dave Howe, Thomas McGurk, Michael McAuliffe, Bob O'Hern, Resti Bagcal, and Marion Smith
- 1999 – Outstanding Children's Series – Erren Gottlieb, James McKenna, Elizabeth Brock, Jamie Hammond, Hamilton McCulloch, and Bill Nye
- 1999 – Outstanding Directing in a Children's Series – Michael Gross and Darrell Suto
- 1999 – Outstanding Single Camera Editing – Felicity Oram, John Reul, Michael Gross, and Darrell Suto
- 1999 – Outstanding Sound Editing – Dave Howe, Thomas McGurk, and Michael McAuliffe
- 2000 – Outstanding Writing in a Children's Series – Bill Nye, Michael Gross, Darrell Suto, Ian G. Saunders, Michael Palleschi, Lynn Brunelle, and Mike Greene
- 2000 – Outstanding Children's Series – James McKenna, Erren Gottlieb, Elizabeth Brock, Jamie Hammond, and Bill Nye
- 2000 – Outstanding Sound Editing – Dave Howe, Michael McAuliffe, and Thomas McGurk
- 2000 – Outstanding Sound Mixing – Dave Howe, Michael McAuliffe, Thomas McGurk, Myron Partman, and Resti Bagcal (Tied with Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show and Bear in the Big Blue House)
- Bill Nye, The Science Lab Official Site
- Bill Nye, The Science Guy at Disney.com
- Episode Review "The Sun", Deep Yellow's "My Favorite Star".
- Bill Nye - Popular Video (02:32) - Warning That Creationism Threatens Science Education in The United States.
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