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Mega-disasters both natural and unnatural make for some of science fiction’s most heart-pounding story setups, but there’s more than a kernel of truth sparking fans’ imaginations when they see humanity pushing back against those big-budget catastrophes at the movies. In the mind of everyone’s favorite bowtied science brain, though, there might just be hope…which is the bright idea behind Peacock’s hugely anticipated The End is Nye docu-series featuring none other than Bill Nye himself.
SYFY WIRE has an exclusive first look at the all-new clip for the six-episode event series set to debut at Peacock on Aug. 25, and it’s safe to say that Bill’s not backing down from some of the biggest CGI-realized effects ever to bring a science documentary to life. How big are we talking? Like, positively supervolcanic — as in Yellowstone Caldera exploding, mushroom cloud-forming, town-engulfing big.
Bill and his trademark neckwear are in serious jeopardy in the new clip, which finds him flooring it out of a Rocky Mountain hamlet in a frighteningly futile attempt to outrace a superheated, 500 mph pyroclastic flow. Can Bill and his little electric car make it? Well…stick around to the end: It’s definitely Bill Nye like you’ve never seen him.
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Is it weird that we sense a hint of dark comedy in all that ashy volcanic aftermath? Not at all, as Nye and Peacock have teamed with Seth MacFarlane's (The Orville) Fuzzy Door banner and director/showrunner Brannon Braga (Cosmos: Possible Worlds, Star Trek) for a disaster docu-series that’s supposed to be scary…all the better for Nye’s optimistic solutions to shine through.
The streamer says The End is Nye is a passion project for both Nye and McFarlane (who even appears in each episode in a brief cameo). The duo decided it was time to bring a fun, upbeat energy to demystifying, solving, and even averting some of the biggest potential disasters humanity might face on a delicately-balanced planet. Each standalone episode in the six-installment series takes a wild, visually spectacular dive into the “mystery and terror of one specific threat,” Peacock teases. “Every catastrophe is abundant with thrills, but also offer hope and a way forward — a scientific blueprint for surviving anything that comes our way.”
“Our goal,” as Nye explained to San Diego Comic-Con fans in July, “is to scare you, and then to fill you with joy and hope.” Epically scaled cinematic set pieces — like running from a warp-speed volcanic death cloud — have the scary part covered, while Nye’s infectious optimism and humor swoop in to show how humanity can mitigate or completely avoid the show’s doomsday scenarios.
The idea, as Nye said at SDCC, “is to get viewers to realize that we can do something about these things that make us anxious. We can do something about earthquakes, incoming asteroids or comets, solar flares, or extra heat in the ocean…If all the electricity in the world were shut down by a solar flare, we wouldn't be turning it right back on in a weekend. It'd be a huge, huge problem.”
Nye, of course, brings a ton of name recognition to tackling sized-up science problems. Beloved by a generation of fans as the original “Science Guy” in the titular Bill Nye the Science Guy, which ran from 1993 to 1998, he’s been posing pathways out of disaster most recently as the host of Bill Nye Saves the World, which ran for three seasons through 2018 at Netflix. Since then, he's appeared on other shows — and even popped up in the latest Scooby-Doo movie to give voice to a pretty cool character: himself!
“[T]he big idea behind The End Is Nye is that for the first time in the history of our planet, we humans can control our fate,” Nye says in Peacock’s series preview. “We can see the potential for these overwhelming disasters, and we have the means to avoid them. With science, we can change the world.”
The End is Nye is produced by Universal Television Alternative Studio and UCP, divisions of Universal Studio Group, and MacFarlane’s Fuzzy Door. Alongside Nye, MacFarlane and president Erica Huggins are executive producing the series for Fuzzy Door; Braga also serves as executive producer as well as showrunner and director.
Count down to catastrophe and set your clocks for Aug. 25, when all six episodes of The End is Nye are set to premiere in one big, disaster-averting batch at Peacock.