Why Bill Nye Went In An Adult Direction For His Netflix Show

bill nye saves the world netflix drew carey

(Image credit: Image courtesy of Netflix)

Bill Nye is a big name on the small screen for a whole generation of kids who grew up watching his Bill Nye the Science Guy show on PBS. He shared his love of science and knowledge of how the world works with youngsters everywhere. Naturally, when news broke that Nye was coming back to television with a brand new show of his own, many figured that he was set to host another program aimed at kids. Well, Bill Nye Saves the World on Netflix is definitely not designed for a young audience, and viewers have seen episodes cover everything from marijuana to sexually transmitted diseases. Bill Nye recently spoke with CinemaBlend about his Netflix show, and he had this to say about why he went in a more adult direction:

We did a hundred shows of the Science Guy show and we covered a lot of elementary science that everyone should know. So this show is to address people who grew up watching the old show and I hope are ever more curious about the world around them and nature and our place in the cosmos. And I remind everybody, after the Science Guy show, I did a show called The Eyes of Nye, I did the 100 Greatest Discoveries, Greatest Inventions. I did Stuff Happens, I appeared on countless news shows as a commentator or commenter. So I've been fighting the grown-up fight for decades and when Netflix came along with their remarkable resources, I jumped at the chance to make another show. What I'm saying -- pun intended -- is it's been an evolution.

Unbeknownst to those kids who only recognized Bill Nye for his work as a host and educator on Bill Nye the Science Guy, he has actually been furthering science on adult platforms for many years. Instead of just doing Bill Nye the Science Guy 2.0 with his new show, he decided to go in a direction that would address the adults who are ready to expand their knowledge of science beyond what they learned as kids.

There's certainly no shortage of topics to cover for adults. Nobody knows everything there is to know about science, not even Bill Nye himself! In order to cover as much information as accurately as possible while still maintaining the fun on Bill Nye Saves the World, he brings in experts to weigh in on complex issues of science. According to Nye, Netflix has really enabled him to do more on television than was ever possible on broadcast television:

In a sense, the new show is easier. Because we're not constrained to 28 minutes 46 seconds or 22 minutes 30 seconds. Whether it's on PBS or in syndication. You can go 31 minutes [on Netflix]. You can be 27 and a half minutes. And Netflix is okay with it. And the other thing is we have resources on this new show. By that I mean we flew the #BillMeetsScienceTwitter scientists from all over the world to the studio and we had just world class writers, Writers Guild writers, and they really in my view took things up a couple notches from the other cable shows I did in the early 2000s. So the Netflix show, having more resources makes it easier in a way and more fun. But of course when you have more resources there's more pressure on the guy on camera. But hit me the ball, as I like to say. Bring it on. If you stop being nervous, quit doing it.

Netflix is undeniably king when it comes to streaming TV shows, and the service has given Bill Nye and the rest of the team at Bill Nye Saves the World the resources and freedom to do whatever produces the best result rather than cram everything into a set number of minutes per episode. Certain topics and demonstrations on Bill Nye Saves the World simply warrant more coverage than would be possible in 22 or 28 minutes, as might be required of a show on broadcast television. The new show has been able to reinvent itself and try new things in the season and a half that have aired so far, and there are still more episodes to come.

Of course, in this day and age, not everybody is going to agree on whether or not a show works, and Bill Nye has received his fair share of attention from social media trolls. That said, he went on in our chat to reveal the kind of positive reactions he's gotten from people he meets in person:

People I meet, now these are self-selected people who choose to approach me in the airport or on the subway or in the grocery store, people are very supportive. People think it's great. People that come up to me. Many people use the expression 'You were my childhood.' And I go 'Wow, cool.'

Taking his new show in an adult direction has clearly been a good thing for some viewers who had been fans of his work back when they were kids. While seeing him use more mature language and tackle topics that definitely never came up on Bill Nye the Science Guy was undoubtedly a shock to the system to those who only knew him as the Science Guy host, he's proven that he brings the same love of science and demonstration to Bill Nye Saves the World.

The first season and a half of Bill Nye Saves the World are available streaming on Netflix now, and the second half of Season 2 will debut at some point. If you're also in the mood for some of Bill Nye's earlier work, you can find a collection of more than thirty episodes of Bill Nye the Science Guy streaming on Netflix as well. Our 2018 Netflix premiere schedule can fill you in on even more streaming options courtesy of Netflix, and our midseason TV premiere guide is worth a look as well.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).