I am convinced that National Geographic is completely dumbed down in the US and much worse than it is in India. I only wonder why.
The other day, they were showing a great documentary about the Beslan crisis in NatGeo in India. Over here, it was probably something like “Secrets of the Kung Fu Temple”.
It’s not that I am missing out on good shows when I am not watching NatGeo. The daytime hours are filled with “Dog Whisperer” and “Seconds from Disaster”.
Why does NatGeo feel the need to show all these mindless programs? The viewers who want mindless programs are anyway watching E! or one of those endless reality shows that every other channel seems to be filled with. And viewers who want to see cute puppies can always switch to Animal Planet anyway.
Then there’s Science Channel. Don’t even get me started on Science Channel. They do have some good shows like “How it’s made”, but their daily programming also includes “Junkyard Wars” which is all about racing souped up vehicles. Obviously, if you stretch the definition enough, everything is Science.
The last good show I watched on any of these channels was “When we left Earth”, a lovely documentary of US efforts to put a man in orbit, and then on the Moon. But that documentary is now available for sale as a CD, and makes me question whether I should simply buy CDs of the rare good shows and stop my subscription to NatGeo and Science channel.
NatGeo’s “Journey to the edge of the Universe” sounded like one of those rare good shows, and sure enough, I was impressed as soon as I started watching it. It looks like the usual computer-generated graphics, I thought to myself, but at least it is realistic looking graphics. I watched Jupiter and Saturn and Titan and Triton, and the images were beautiful.
But it wasn’t until I saw the “Pillars of Creation” that I sat up with a start. I knew exactly where I had seen this picture before! This wasn’t graphics at all! This show was using actual NASA images to show planets and galaxies! Best of all, it makes you feel as if you are watching these galaxies from inside a spaceship.
After that, I was hooked. The show talks about pulsars and quasars and black holes in a very astrophysics-for-beginners way, and it does not talk down to you. Even if you don’t learn anything new from the show, trust me, you will really enjoy the experience.
You will find yourself journeying to the edge of your seat, if not the universe
I only wish I could watch this in an IMAX theater with 3D glasses.