Why is it that every disaster movie begins with someone in power ignoring a scientist? The premise behind the new Bill Nye show The End Is Nye is that disasters could be mitigated or even prevented if we just listen to the scientists. The Science Guy teamed up with Seth MacFarlane and his production company Fuzzy Door to bring the show to life. MacFarlane will cameo in each episode as someone who makes a bad situation worse. Nye’s character dies in every episode but, as host, he’ll also break down how we can all avoid a similar fate.
The trailer for the show debuted at San Diego Comic-Con. Erica Huggins, President of Fuzzy Door and Executive Producer on The End Is Nye, joined Nye on the panel. As did Brannon Braga, best known as one of the creative forces behind Star Trek: The Next Generation, Voyager, and Enterprise as well as Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey and Possible Worlds. He is an executive producer, writer, and director on The End Is Nye. Nerdist chatted with Nye and Braga during the convention.
Nerdist: How did you balance depicting disasters with a hopeful message about how there’s still time to save ourselves and the planet?
Bill Nye: When we all have anxiety—which we all do now in our society with all these things going on—people watch disaster movies. You might think that when things are going wrong people would watch rom-coms. But that’s not human nature. When the pandemic started, everyone rented Contagion. So we made six disaster movies. With the second half being this optimistic view: “If we just made these changes, everything would be great! With science!” I’m very proud of it. We’ll see if it works. It is to be hoped that people will want to watch the first half. “Everything is making me anxious, let me watch some more anxiety-producing things.”
Brannon Braga: I am a hard-core humanist. Everything I’m doing these days is infused with optimism. I prefer to do shows like this that have something positive to impart to people. I’m often asked why Star Trek is so enduring. Because it depicts a future we all would like to be a part of. I think there’s reason to be hopeful.
What lessons from science fiction help when making fact-based shows like The End Is Nye?
BB: With Cosmos, I learned really quickly the main difference is you can’t make stuff up. When you’re plotting an episode of a science fiction show, you can turn to science for inspiration and to shore up a crazy idea. But with science you have to get everything right and you also have to find a way to make it narratively dramatic. But it has to be impeccable in its plausibility.
BN: Why do we watch television? My opinion: same reason we go to sidewalk cafes. We just like to watch people. And so, in this show, there’s six stories. There’s a plot. Stuff happens. To people.
Is there science behind bow ties being cool?
BN: Yes, there is! A straight tie to me is not that different from a bib. When you have a bow tie on and you lean over, it doesn’t slip into the soup. That’s why waiters wear bow ties. And it doesn’t flop into the flask in the lab. And I don’t know if you know this, but when I wear a bow tie it’s my policy to also wear a shirt.
Even when taking this selfie, Bill Nye the Science Guy is an educator at heart. He showed me the best way to hold the camera without getting my hand in the way. It may not be as fundamental to humanity’s survival as the lessons from the show but, as he says in the trailer, “Together we can save Earth, with science!” The six episode Bill Nye show streams on Peacock beginning August 25, 2022.
Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. Did you know that she is a big Bill Nye the Science Guy fan? Now you know! Melissa also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth.