Science Friction is an excellent documentary that examines if that favourite network program on History, Travel Channel or A&E is getting their facts right. Skeptoid Media wants to debunk more than just the supernatural. This work targets all those other specials about archaeology, geology and zoology. Programs like Ancient Aliens and Ghost Adventures are their least of their worries.
Those scholars who’ve appeared in these specials say a lot of what they have expressed is taken out of context. Dr. David S. Anderson, Jonathan Davis, and Dr. Ken Feder are misrepresented. They make up a third of the people interviewed to expound what these shows have gotten wrong. It’s easy for viewers to fact check themselves, but these days, not even Google is safe, unless the information presented is annotated and given a bibliography. In this piece’s case, it’s to have a website to list the credentials of the people they’ve interviewed.
Even though we have a few respectable names, namely Michio Kaku, appear in many programs, others not so familiar get shafted. Academics may not want to be interviewed after watching Science Friction because they don’t often know the dangers of appearing being on tv.
I’m glad this work by Emery Emery isn’t targeting a particular field of study, because there are a lot of holes to poke at with all those programs about haunted places, and ghost hunting. Even though a lot of viewers think they can learn something from it, all they’ll never get a full picture on what goes on in an investigation. It’s often compressed from a night or a few days to a 25 or 50 minute presentation (sans commercials), and to take out the boring stuff is the job of video editors and the producers most likely saying let’s keep this and junk the rest.
Archaeology has a lot to worry about. December 21, 2012 is famous because of nearly every news outlet also fear mongering. There was no end time, and my anthropology teacher in college said it’s merely a date and there was no written legend to even suggest what the next age is on the zodiac calendar.
A show I enjoy watching often is NASA’s Unexplained, and all I take from it are ideas to use in my next role playing game. It’s a program that I’m surprised Science Friction hasn’t examined. The way it’s edited suggests there’s a lot of information being cut out. Anyone who has seen this program knows the people interviewed barely get a two minutes of talk time before it cuts to the narrator filling in the blanks. It’s a perfect example of everything wrong with these pseudo-sci-fi documentaries, and what we see with this work is in how this editing technique factors into other shows.
We only have to remember to take information from television with a grain of salt. All the proper educational shows are on PBS, anyway.
4 Stars out of 5