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Latif Nasser in Connected.
Latif Nasser in Connected.
Screengrab: YouTube/Netflix


3/5 Stars


Science reporter and host Latif Nasser hopscotches around the planet to tease out the subtle and surprising ways that we are all inextricably linked to one another and our world.


Remember those factoid science and nature shows from your Nickelodean and KTV days? Well, like your ever-increasing horror at the state of the world, those shows have grown up too, evolving into its modern rendition in the form of Connected. As a 30s-pushing millennial, I tend to prefer my documentary shows to be filled with obscure destinations, weird food, cultural wonders and a self-deprecating host. Everything that Connected is not.

Instead, this science show – hosted by the uber-optimistic science journalist Latif Nasser – harks back to those children science shows, although more modern with a better regard for the perceived faculties of its audience.

Each episode focuses on a specific random topic and shows how weirdly connected our world really is. It's like a well-researched "six degrees of separation" game Nasser plays on a global scale – connecting birds that can predict hurricane season to your virtual dating life, or the Sahara Desert to red tide in Florida, or even how testing nukes can link to weight loss.

My favourite one was the episode on dust, which is something most people don't think about on a day-to-day basis. I love that Africa was included for a change in this kind of series, showcasing local African experts talking about the science in their own countries. Even South Africa made it onto the show, zoning in on Bloemfontein and Rift Valley Fever among sheep.

While I definitely learnt a lot of interesting things that would have been way more useful to know than what we were generally taught in school, I could not stop myself feeling annoyed by the host's childlike wonder at the world. It's not exactly a critique on his presenting skills – he has a genuine passion for his job – but rather that I am too old and jaded to fully enjoy these types of educational Magic Schoolbus journeys.

Nasser is like a modern-day Bill Nye, and his appeal is better geared towards the younger generation – the tweens and teenagers of the Gen Z variety. The world is one giant pessimistic crap show at the moment, and I think they can especially use this kind of positivity in their lives, even if it is for just six episodes. It's also a great family watch if you have nerdy kids and you are looking for something you all can enjoy.

And one whole episode is just dedicated to poop so their preadolescent humour needs will also be fulfilled.

In terms of cinematography, it's not Planet Earth, but it has some winning shots, especially when you're trying to make science labs look cool. For the more sciencey explanations, the show incorporates fun graphics that are easy to understand, again cementing the youthful quality of the show.

Connected wasn't a show for me – but it's perfect for science fanatics and a young audience who still have that wide-eyed thirst for knowledge. The world is a fascinating place and at a time when we're all feeling so disconnected, this is a great way to reconnect with the world again.



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