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90's Vs: Bill Nye the Science Guy vs...

Welcome to 90's vs where I take two things from the 90's and compare them to see which one was better. Lets get familiar with the shows we are looking at today. Educational kid shows have usually been known for being non entertaining and talking down to their core audience to the point where it's unwatchable and the target audience is uninterested with the material. But that wasn't always the case in the nineties. The thing is that has been a trend from the 90s and sometimes in the present. Is that shows from then had alot better writing and could do more and be able to do more with it's content then today's shows. This could be said for the educational kids shows of the 90's such as Magic School Bus, WishBone and today's match Which is Bill Nye the Science Guy and Beakman's World. So how about we look at both of them separately and then compare the two and see which was the better show.

Bill Nye The Science Guy:

Started in September 10th 1993 Bill Nye The Science Guy was made to teach kids and entertain them by having science be mixed with variety show styled comedy which usually was the form of slap stick and episode long running gags. The show usually opened with Bill at a location or in a skit based on the theme of the episode. After the theme song Bill enters "Nye Labs" to continue about the subject of the episode. Episodes themselves usually have random segments that would repeat every few episodes and then conclude with a parody music video and then Bill's exit. Credits would ether show him leaving, A black background or even bloopers from the episode. The show ran until June 1998 lasting almost five years and 100 episode with 5 lost episodes as well as winning nineteen Emmy awards during it's run. Bill Nye is still used in school as a way to teach kids in an entertaining way or the teacher is just bored and wants to show something to the kids that they would like.

My thoughts on Bill Nye are that even though it is a good show at times the slap stick is misplaced or unneeded. My biggest complaint has been and always will be the music videos. As a kid when they came on I changed the channel until they were over. As I got older and after watching a few episodes I remembered why they were bad and actually have reasons to justify my dislike of them. I understand why they did the videos and the parody songs. It mostly was for filler and to recap what was learned from the episode. However the issue was that they picked the wrong songs to parody most of the time. At times they had ok ones that were barely listenable. The theme song is a pretty good theme song and video for it. Like Daft Punk's "Around The World" The Bill Nye theme says "Bill Nye The Science Guy" Over and over with a few background sounds and voices to it.

Now lets look at our second show

Beakman's World:

Starting on September 18th 1992 Beakman's world had a slightly bigger cast of hosts. With Beakman being the main host and a female assistant that changed every season and his "Lab rat" Lester. Which was a puppet in the pilot episode then was a man in a tattered dirty rat suit. Unlike episode long running gags in Bill Nye Beakman had it's own running gag lasting the whole series involving Lester in that he is just a guy in a rat suit or an actor with a obviously bad agent. However it isn't really pointed out just hinted at. The episodes usually start out with Two Penguins watching tv in the antarctic that do some kind of gag and then they switch the channel to Beakman's World. Following that Beakman runs down questions that were sent in by kids to have answered. Then follows the theme song. After the intro the episode involves some humor and experiments based on the questions at the beginning of the show that you could do at home with Lester's unwilling assistance. The end of the episodes were like how they began with the penguins and then it cuts to credits with the penguins in the background. The show lasted until 1998 with 91 episodes and lasted about 5-6 years. This too has won a couple Daytime Emmy awards in it's run among others.

My thoughts on this show is that the science and the humor is spread a bit more evenly through this. The theme I'm not too fond of sound wise. Video wise I like what they do with it. Even though as a kid I didn't really see this one that much. However seeing it as an adult there is the classic nineties humor where it's both amusing at times for kids as well as adults who happen to be watching. If I were to have a low point of the show it would have to be the penguins. They never were that funny and the one liners weren't that funny. Though I enjoy that the show was more interactive because you can send in letters asking questions that could make it on the show.

Now the comparison:

Both shows are written really well trying to balance humor and education. Though I sadly can't really judge on writing alone due to both shows sharing the same writer Michael Gross. Format wise while both are similar format Beakman's World feels a bit more solid then Bill Nye. With Bill Nye the segments were a bit more random and would have to jump episodes some times to get a decent or favorite segment or there would be more bad segments then good so you have no idea what you are gonna get. While Beakman even though more linear it has a more focused feeling to it. Theme song wise I'm going with Bill Nye. The reason is because of the song is a bit more catchier and more well  liked by me then Beakman's theme song which is only good with video while Nye has a good audio and video theme to it. The humor Is better in Beakman's World due to it being more even on the education as well as the humor which was more evened out. While Nye is more humor then education which leads to ether unneeded gags or just unfunny jokes or the jokes can come out as awkward. The cast is also more solid in Beakman's World then Nye. The biggest flaw is that most Nye episodes is that there isn't that much of a main cast outside of Bill and the voice that was usually the wise guy of the show. Even though the kids were regulars yes and they did get experts for the show in the episodes they usually changed and to me that doesn't really make it a solid cast. However I will say this about Nye with the kids being part of the show it allows kids to have some sort of relation for it which is good. However in my eyes interactivity for a science show is better then relation.

All and all even though both are great shows in their own right when it comes to it I feel that Beakman's World is the better show. Join me next time on 90's VS where we find out if a Rainbow can out read a dog.

Till next time this is ThatDudeinTheHoodie saying live life and live 90's

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RetroOtaku620 Posted on Sep 03, 2023 at 11:31 AM

Personally, I like both Beakman's World and Bill Nye the Science Guy. I've grew up watching both shows, so I can't really choose between them.

Vaporman87 Posted on Jan 25, 2014 at 04:03 AM

On the subject of Bill Nye, I heard he will soon be debating Ken Ham from Answers In Genesis (the proprietor of the Creation Museum) on the topic of human creation/evolution. Interesting.

pikachulover Posted on Jan 03, 2014 at 02:17 AM

Bill Nye I think is remembered more because he is a real scientist. I didn't really like the parody videos either because half the time I didn't know which song they were parodying.

Beakman was just played by an actor. But Beakman's World was based off a comic strip called You Can with Beakman and Jax.

The Mad Scientist Kids Club was a funny Beakman's World like knockoff show. It was short lived and low budget.

ThatDudeintheHoodie Posted on Jan 02, 2014 at 10:00 PM

Thank you guys for the support and Glad you like it :D

echidna64 Posted on Jan 02, 2014 at 07:31 PM

Great article hoodster! I love Bill Nye, growing up he was the source of so many inside jokes between me and my brothers such as saying, "Consider the following.." and it's a shame that Beakman has faded into obscurity.


Benjanime Posted on Jan 02, 2014 at 04:21 PM

for me, beakman's world was my favorite of the two. i also liked how they got mark mothersbaugh for doing the show's music, also known for composing music for rugrats

Vaporman87 Posted on Jan 02, 2014 at 03:49 PM

Nice comparision there TDITH. I enjoyed this article quite a bit. I can't say I watched either show, though I would at times catch a bit here and there of Bill Nye's show.

They both seemed like valiant attempts at making learning interesting. Science is one of the easier subjects (in my opinion) to make interesting, as much of it involves performing experiments and witnessing the unique and sometimes baffling results.

I have to say, my opinion of Bill Nye dropped a great deal when he started running his mouth on the subject of origin science and, specifically, criticizing whole swaths of religious people for their beliefs on the subject. Apparently Bill fancies himself capable of entering that touchy and controversial area and going toe to toe with some the best minds on both sides of the subject. I think he should stick to children.

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