"Brave New World" on ABC

Chris Fedeli (fedeli@email.msn.com)
Fri, 3 Sep 1999 00:01:38 -0400

Has anyone else been watching this series? I just finished watching tonight's installment about the prospects of extraterrestrial life and human expansion thoughout the universe.

At some points I had to contain my laughter. Not that they were saying anything wrong, but the production has such a made-for-kiddies feel to it. This program comes on at ten, so I'm assuming that ABC's target audience is upwards of the 2-9 demographic. But here's Bill Butell, using toy spaceships and stuffed dolls as props to illustrate advanced concepts like ""alien life forms"" and ""space travel"" (need me to repeat any of this?).

Probably a good thing though. Most of the american viewing public is at a pre-school level of future comprehension. A show like this one is breaking the news to people in the kindest possible way. It tills the soil gently, just enough for a few early, transhuman meme-saplings to take root, without disrupting the land so violently as to make it barren for years to come.

There are more episodes coming. Next week's subject is science's battle against disease. If the one's I've seen are any indication, the program will spend the better part of an hour interviewing Billy the nine year old genetic disease sufferer and his parents, along with the doctors racing for the cure, and then in the final few minutes Butell will raise a provocative afterthought or two. Perhaps he'll even ask the home audience, "Is it possible that aging itself is a disease that science will someday overcome?"

Good stuff. I'd say we should give him an award for educating the public, but I'm sure he already has enough honorary degrees from Harvard and Yale to wallpaper his study.