Science Filmmaking Problems

Have you noticed that the science documentary networks that used to present 100% factual science content have now started drifting into an odd abyss of reality programming? I’m not saying it’s all bad, but there seems to be a diversion from good science – the stuff I remember loving as a budding filmmaker. The situation has been on my mind a lot lately, having now done several shows for various networks, including a TON of pitching various programs. I present the problem I’ve found with the current trends here:

The real problem I see is that networks are getting ratings for shows that most of us science communicators think are terrible. Is it because people love the show, or because people are in awe a bit that there is something so terrible on TV – essentially a race for the most viral-type program. Here is the latest trend in Discovery –

I’m not sure what the solution is. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the trends, the problems, or ways to reverse it.

Truth or Lies - Rob Nelson Naked Jonas Stenstrom
Do shows get more views (or website clicks) if they’re naked and afraid?

Written by Rob Nelson

Rob is an ecologist from the University of Hawaii. He is the co-creator and director of Untamed Science. His goal is to create videos and content that are entertaining, accurate, and educational. When he's not making science content, he races whitewater kayaks and works on Stone Age Man.

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