Set your DVRs for "Prophets of Science Fiction" starting tonight (November 9, 2011) at 10pm EST/PST on The Science Channel.
Tonight the Science Channel debuts a new series about science fiction masters, hosted by Ridley Scott (director of Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator, etc.). The eight-part series focuses on past masters of sci-fi literature, and how their foreward-looking notions have affected modern science. The first episode is about Mary Shelley (who wrote Frankenstein), and talks about notions of creating life. But the episode also talks extensively about Shelley's personal story (without spoiling it, let's say she had a lot of issues with creating life herself). This is an interesting series for nerds because it's both about history (specifically, the stories behind major sci-fi writers and their work) and about science (cutting-edge stuff that is arguably sorta kinda related to the sci-fi). While some of the science is fairly pedestrian (like mapping the human genome), the history of the writers may not be as well-known, and that keeps things lively. Although I've only seen the Mary Shelley episode, the series looks solid, and I'm looking forward to it. Future episodes will feature: H.G. Wells, Philip K. Dick, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Jules Verne, Robert Heinlein, and George Lucas.
Here's a good intro video -- it doesn't show much actual footage from the show, but gives a sense of what the series is all about:
For more info on the series, including Discovery's site.
Blogger disclosure: I was not specially compensated for writing this review. I'm a big fan of Ridley Scott, so I thought I'd check it out...and hey, I actually learned some stuff about Mary Shelley!