Reviews

Nova (1974) IMDb

Extent

Review refers to just a few scattered programs.

Categorization

Akin to Horizon (1964).

References here: Explained (2018).

moving picture non-fiction series

Entry:

“Creatures of Light” (2016) IMDb

Extent

Seen in 2018.

Seen edited for Vetenskapens värld.

Subject

Bioluminescence and biophosphorescence.

Commentary

Beautiful, with substantial scientific depth, looking for reasons as well as applications.

episode moving picture nature non-fiction

Entry:

School of the Future (2016) IMDb

Extent

Seen in 2017.

Seen edited for Vetenskapens värld.

Commentary

Largely shallow and uncritical, especially with regard to material reward for good behaviour and fostering blind self-esteem (positive thinking).

episode moving picture non-fiction

Entry:

“Extreme Animal Weapons” (2017) IMDb

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Subject

The evolution of horns, tusks, spurs etc.

Commentary

A BBC coproduction.

moving picture nature non-fiction

Entry:

Decoding the Weather Machine (2018) IMDb

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Seen with Swedish-language narration on SVT, as a two-episode series.

Commentary

Despite the Koch money, it’s a fair overview of climate-change science and general avenues of conservative mitigation, from Fourier and Tyndall to perovskite and no-till farming.

moving picture non-fiction series

Entry:

Black Hole Apocalypse (2018) IMDb

Extent

Seen in 2019.

I saw the merged two-hour version.

Commentary

Poorly named and surprisingly uninformative.

episode moving picture non-fiction

Entry:

“First Face of America” (2018) IMDb

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Seen in its Swedish-language adaptation on SVT.

Subject

Naia, an almost perfectly preserved skeleton found with the bones of megafauna from pre-human America, driven to extinction by the first people there.

episode moving picture non-fiction

Entry:

“Prediction by the Numbers” (2018) IMDb

Extent

Seen in 2018.

Subject

A non-technical introduction to probability theory as used, for example, in predicting the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election.

Commentary

It’s got Nate Silver and Moneyball (2011), but it’s shallow and cheaply dramatized.

moving picture non-fiction

Spin-off:

Nova Wonders (2018) IMDb

moving picture non-fiction series

Entry:

“What’s Living in You?” (2018) IMDb

Extent

Seen in 2019.

episode fiction moving picture

Entry:

“Can We Build a Brain?” (2018) IMDb

Extent

Seen in 2019.

episode fiction moving picture

Entry:

“Dead Sea Scroll Detectives” (2019) IMDb

Extent

Seen in 2020.

Subject

The history of the conservation and forgery of (the) Dead Sea Scrolls, including some amazing X-ray tomography of carbonized parchment from the ark of a burned ancient synagogue, where the scrolls are tessellated partly by hand so they can be unfolded on computer only, and the ink is readable by its slight difference in opacity due to metal content. After all this labour, it turns out to be a scroll of Leviticus (ca. 500–400 BCE), providing another piece of evidence for when the text reached its modern forms. Other experts debunk forgeries bought by the Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby.

Commentary

As usual, the overall takeaway is “Don’t put tape on stuff you’re keeping, and be careful with UV light.” There’s a fascinating chapter on the archaelogy of Qumran, the monastic community to which a lot of the scrolls are attributed; it’s fun to think that such a twisted, almost bureaucratic, somewhat marginal place could have a significant influence on our ability to know what was happening to the religion, in roughly the same way as, but not directly connected to, the way the Nag Hammadi library over in Egypt popularized gnosticism through The Gnostic Gospels (1979). The shadiness the Hobby Lobby smuggling scandal adds a touch of Delta Green potential to the resurfacing of these cults thousands of years later.

moving picture non-fiction

Entry:

“Kilauea: Hawai’i on Fire” (2019) IMDb

Extent

Seen in 2019.

moving picture nature non-fiction