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Fractals Hunting the Hidden Dimension

   2010    Science
The ultimate adventure in scientific inquiry, this fascinating program follows the exploits of a small group of pioneering mathematicians who discovered a whole area of study that is revolutionizing all branches of understanding in the world: fractal geometry. Fractals are most recognized as a series of circular shapes with a border surrounded by jagged "tail-like" objects. The program, aimed at the average viewer does a fine job of explaining the background of fractals, first by beginning with the story of Pixar co-founder, Loren Carpenter's work at Boeing, developing 3D terrain from scratch using fractals. From there the program starts at the beginning with an introduction to Benoit Mandelbrot and his revolutionary work. The explanations are full of solid factual information but never talk above the level of a viewer who has some understanding of basic mathematical principles. Once the concept is presented the program spends the rest of the time showing how prevalent the fractal is in life. For a program about a mathematical concept, "Fractals" is very engaging, showing how the process was applied to special effects as far back as the Genesis planet from "Star Trek II" all the way to the spectacular finale on Mustafar in "Star Wars: Episode III." I found myself astonished at how fractals were the source of the lava in constant motion and action during the Obi-Wan/Anakin fight. What is more amazing is when the program delves into practical applications such as cell phone antennas, and eventually the human body. For the average person who enjoys watching science related programs, even on a sporadic basis, "Fractals" will prove to be a very worthwhile experience. The program is well produced, integrating talking head interviews (including some with Mandelbrot himself) with standard "in the field" footage. The structure of the program is very logical and never finds itself jumping around without direction. In simplest terms, this is a program as elegant as the designs it focuses on.

The Captains

   2011    Art
Follow actor William Shatner through interviews with the other actors who have portrayed starship Enterprise captains in five other incarnations of the Star Trek franchise. Shatner's subjects discuss their lives and careers before, during and after their tenure with Star Trek. With the use of conversations and archival footage, they explore the pressures, stigmas and sacrifices that accompanied their roles and their larger careers. During the process of the film and with help from the other Captains, Sir Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew, Scott Bakula and Chris Pine, Shatner overcomes his disdain and learns to embrace his best known character, Captain James T. Kirk.

For the Love of Spock

   2016    History
Last year, just before Thanksgiving, I approached my dad, Leonard Nimoy, about the possibility of working together on a film about Mr. Spock. I had skimmed through some of the books on the making of Star Trek and felt there was so much more to explore about the creation and development of Mr. Spock. And the timing seemed right, as the 50th anniversary of Star Trek the original series was not that far away. Dad agreed that now was the right time, and that he was 100% committed to collaborating with me on this project. He also reminded me that we were (then) just days away from the 50th anniversary of the start of production on 'The Cage,' the original pilot for Star Trek in which dad first appeared as Mr. Spock.

Space

   2014    Art
What if we could explore the vastness of Space? Science fiction has always fed upon our need to explore – to wonder what is out there. Space journeys from Jules Verne’s earliest ideas about attempts to leave our planet, to the Star Wars far away galaxy through to Nichelle Nichols revealing how her groundbreaking role as Lt. Uhura in Star Trek led to her participation in the recruitment of NASA’s astronauts. It explores the deep sea inspiration for Avatar, finds out why Ursula K Le Guin wrote The Left Hand of Darkness and discovers how Stanley Kubrick was able to make 2001: A Space Odyssey seem so believable. In addition, the program looks at the way Dune and The Mars Trilogy embraced the challenge of world building and discusses the appeal of the beaten up ‘dirty space’ of Dark Star and Firefly. From the horrifying scenes of Alien, to the epic spectacle of Star Wars, this is a journey to the stars and the alien encounters that await us there.
Series: The Real History of Science Fiction
The Normans
The Normans

   2010    History
How Art Made the World
How Art Made the World

   2006    Art
Nova Wonders
Nova Wonders

   2018    Science
Himalaya with Michael Palin
Himalaya with Michael Palin

   2004    Culture
The Story of Maths
The Story of Maths

   2008    Science
Breakthrough
Breakthrough

   2015    Medicine
How to Stay Young
How to Stay Young

   2016    Medicine
Making a Murderer
Making a Murderer

   2015    History