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The new Stephen Hawking documentary series is no Brief History of Time, that's for sure....
Acorn Media / 231 Minutes / 2011 / Unrated / Street Date: October 16, 2012
Brave New World is convinced that the next great scientific achievement is right around the corner. Wearing a steady optimism on its sleeve, this science-documentary collection doesn't just investigate steps forward in various fields, it intends to find the potential societal benefits in all of them. Central figure Stephen Hawking and his collaborators look deep into the cosmos here, of course, but their overall narrative aims are more immediate than theoretical.
Over the course of five episodes - Machines, Technology, Biology, Health, and Environment - we get a glimpse in Brave New World about the merits of scientific advancement. Presenting researchers and theorists as veritable movie stars, this series goes out of its way to manifest their ideas and intents as not just fun sci-fi ideas but legitimate implementations of logic and invention: Brave New World focuses on potential gamechangers in our constantly evolving intellectual spheres.
Yet while the show's aims are laudable to a fault, it unfortunately must be noted that this box set is pretty difficult to get through. Its ideas and focuses are wonderfully evocative, but as a doc series, its narrative locomotion pretty much runs on empty. Science geeks will absolutely fall victim to much of the material here - especially its early installments - but just because Brave New World is smart and insightful doesn't mean it's consistently entertaining.