Land of the Lost Wolves

"Guys! I found one!"

By Jen Lavery

Land of the Lost Wolves is a two-part documentary series focusing on attempts to track a pioneering wolf pack.

Before European settlers arrived in the United States and introduced everything moving to the shouty end of the shotgun, wolves reigned supreme, with territories spanning North America. The ‘Lookout’ pack is returning to the Cascade Mountains in Washington State from Canada, where the species retreated after over a million were killed by their new neighbours. Read more of this post

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Rory McGrath’s Pub Dig

"Can I have a beer now please?"

According to the blurb, Rory McGrath’s Pub Dig is ‘two blokes and a digger’ (they forgot the entourage of skivvies helping out) exploring the history of some of Britain’s oldest public houses.

If you’re thinking it sounds a bit like Time Team with a remit of pubs alone, then you’d be right. Despite Channel Five’s best efforts to repackage this as something other than a Time Team rip off, it’s still…..well, a Time Team rip off, frankly.

‘Time Gentleman Please’ Team might have been a better name. Read more of this post

Horizon: Out of Control

Zombies on a diet- look away now.

Originally written for TV Pixie. 

Is your unconscious mind actually in control of your actions? Is it your hindbrain’s fault you crave that cake, despite the fact you already look like a late-stage Elvis? And how, exactly, do you learn to knit?

That was the basic premise of last night’s intriguing episode of Horizon.

In attempting to show that our sentient mind is the monkey rather than the organ grinder we travelled to New York, an Arizonan golf course, Oxford University(twice) and University College London: although a large amount of time was spent watching people’s feet sticking out of an MRI scanner.  Read more of this post

The Secrets of Everything

The Secrets of Everything is trailed like a programmes for lads, right, but lads who secretly want to know stuff without seeming well nerdy, yeah? Not stuff that matters, obviously, that’s for spods, but cool stuff like “what happens if everyone jumps at once?” and “what does human flesh taste like?”.

A cross between How it’s Made and Brainiac, The Secrets of Everything is presented by Greg Foot. Greg’s… God, what IS Greg? Not memorable, that’s for sure, but inoffensive enough. Read more of this post

Have You Been Watching…Earthflight?

"Here come the gulls" (C) John Downer Productions - Photographer: Michael W. Richards

We’ve been spoilt for choice by nature documentaries in recent years: Life, Planet Earth, Frozen Planet, Wet Planet: the list goes on. And they’re all fantastic, whatever the haters might say.

But how do other BBC nature documentaries hold their own against these stunning Attenborough heavyweights? Well, by inventing imaginative and experimental ways to get better footage, of course.

As cameras have become smaller and tougher, the potential for wildlife film-makers has vastly increased: they can now get excellent footage without having to send the work-experience kid into a tiger’s lair. “Sorry Brian- you’ve drawn the short straw again”. Read more of this post

Horizon: Playing God

"Spidergoat, Spidergoat, does whatever a spidergoat does..."

“We’ve found a way to take life and radically redesign it”, says Guardian Science Bloke™ Dr Adam Rutherford at the beginning of Playing God.

And boy, he wasn’t joking.

Forget Spiderpig, Adam introduced us to Spidergoats, the weirdest mashup since Grease vs Dr Dre.

Disappointingly to anyone who hoped they’d be wearing a red and black mask and solving crimes, it turns out they look exactly like regular goats, but with a spider gene that causes silk to form in their milk.

Still, pretty impressive. But if you thought Spidergoats were weird, that was just the beginning: the unsettling canapé before the far more alarming main course. At least goats and spiders already exist, it was just a case of smooshing them together and chopping off any spare legs. But in 2008 scientists (or ‘boffins’, if you read The Sun) created the very first entirely synthetic life form..wait for it…called ‘Synthia’.

Ahaha. Read more of this post

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