April TV roundup: Netflix brings back Bill Nye and 'Mystery Science Theater 3000'
Posted April 14
Among the most interesting of the new shows streaming on Netflix this month, at least perhaps for millenials, is "Bill Nye Saves the World," premiering April 21. Bill Nye "the science guy" is back, but his new show, he declares clearly in the first episode, is not meant for children.
While the content is clean and family friendly, rather than teaching about fifth grade science subjects such as matter or gravity, Nye is gearing his new show toward the now grown-up kids who know him from the '90s. He covers controversial, modern scientific topics, including global warming, vaccines, alternative medicine and GMOs.
The show opens with a rap song that hearkens back to the old PBS show's theme, with people shouting "Bill! Bill! Bill!" Nye appears in his trademark bow tie and lab coat, which he occasionally trades for a suit coat when he's outside the lab. He performs simple experiments, has correspondents provide pre-recorded videos related to the show's topic, and always has a panel of experts on hand to discuss the subject with him. Nye also brings on celebrities such as actor Zach Braff and baseball player Hunter Pence. A live studio audience provides cheering, laughter and even "oohs" and "aahs" in the background.
Nye is still his familiar, goofy self, and sometimes it can feel awkward to watch a show about grown-up topics that is also trying to be reminiscent of a show that was made for children. Nye still seems to be trying to make that mashup work, but the topics are interesting and millenials might find it worth a shot just for nostalgia's sake.
Other new streaming series
- "Mystery Science Theater 3000": Netflix is rebooting this cult classic from the 1990s that mocks cheesy old movies with new host Jonah Ray and his robot pals on Friday, April 14. Ray grew up watching the original show and is thrilled to now be involved, according to npr.org. Creator Joel Hodgson launched a Kickstarter campaign when he got the rights back to the show, and raised more than $5.5 million, breaking records for the site.
- "The Handmaid's Tale": Margaret Atwood’s dystopian “The Handmaid's Tale” is coming to Hulu April 26. The story takes place in Gilead, which is ruled by a totalitarian government, where only a small number can bear children and women have few if any rights. Elizabeth Moss plays the main character, a handmaid who goes by Offred, because she is only identified with the man, Fred, who she bears children to. Her fellow handmaid, Ofglen, is played by Alexis Bledel of “Gilmore Girls” fame, according to inverse.com.
- "Dear White People": The controversial 30-second trailer is already causing Netflix boycotts, but the 10-episode first season of this comedy based on the 2014 film (rated R) of the same name, is still premiering April 28. "Dear White People" tells the story of a group of diverse students and how they handle life at a predominantly white Ivy League university. Justin Simien, who also directed the film, based the story off of his own experience in college, according to cnn.com.
Returning network series
- "Better Call Saul": Episode one of this “Breaking Bad” spinoff’s third season aired Monday, April 10 on AMC with the regular, season-opening black-and-white flash forward to the life of Jimmy McGill (aka Saul) after “Breaking Bad” — managing a Cinnabon with a mustache and a bald head. The show continues where season two left off, with Jimmy confessing to his brother, Chuck, that he committed fraud to steal a law client from him. Audiences who have come to like Jimmy will continue to cringe as they watch his downward spiral into becoming Saul.
- "Brooklyn Nine-Nine": Breaking with tradition, season four of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" took a break for the winter and finally began again on Fox Tuesday, April 11. The first episode revealed Gina's fate after being hit by a bus in the last episode in January, and the fate of the precinct in general is brought into question.
- "Prison Break": After its original ending in 2010, "Prison Break" returned to Fox, Tuesday, April 11, with a fifth season miniseries that brings Wentworth Miller's character, Michael Scofield, back from the dead, according to digitalspy.com.
- "Doctor Who": Season 10 begins Saturday, April 15 on BBC One. According to express.co.uk, this will be the first full season since 2015 and the last with Peter Capaldi, who will also have a new companion, Bill, played by Pearl Mackie. Matt Lucas will be returning as Nardole, John Simm will return as the Master and Michelle Gomez as Missy. Time to brush off the TARDIS.
- "Gotham": Season three, after taking almost three months off, will start again on April 24 with eight more episodes. The rest of the season, according to comicbook.com, will bring war between Penguin and almost-Riddler Ed Nygma, with Barbara Kean getting involved as well.