‘Bar’ Banter Makes Science Fun

Weather Channel forecasts enlightening TV

Three scientists walk into a bar, and …

That’s not the setup for a joke. It’s really not even the premise for a television show, even though there’s a show with that very name on The Weather Channel.

One can only wonder how the producers of “3 Scientists Walk into a Bar,” airing Sunday nights (10 p.m. Eastern) on The Weather Channel, came up with its catchy but misleading title.

The show generally does a good job producing experiments with a high fun factor.

The three hosts are attractive and charismatic, and they’d likely have pretty good chemistry (you knew that was coming) if they ever did meet in a bar. But there’s virtually no interaction among the trio here. Each segment is produced separately with each host. The show weaves them together, typically to serve a particular theme for a given episode.

Another offering in the “let’s make science fun with real-world experiments” genre, only one of the show’s hosts — Southern-fried rocket scientist Travis Taylor with a drawl that would put Jeff Foxworthy to shame — has actual scientific bona fides.

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The other two aren’t quite so much scientists as telegenic science geeks. Anthony Carboni and Tara Long are alums of the similarly themed show “Hard Science,” where they were often on camera together.

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When Carboni and Long teamed up to pan for gold outside Los Angeles on the most recent episode, it was almost like seeing Bruce Wayne and Batman standing next to each other. As for Taylor, he might well be producing his segments on Mars. None of that necessarily takes away of the show, which amusingly illustrates scientific concepts with field segments that often incorporate passersby, giving them a bit of a “late night talk show meets science” feel.

Whether creating homemade tornadoes and volcanoes or illustrating the best or worst ways to lower one’s body temperature by using identical twins, the show generally does a good job producing experiments with a high fun factor. It also provides well-articulated explanations of the science behind them.

It is a bit unclear what audience “3 Scientists” is targeting. From episode to episode (and even segment to segment), it can feel like a hip science romp for teenagers, a comedic take on “MythBusters” or an adult version of 1990s children’s science shows like “Beakman’s World.”

It also provides well-articulated explanations of the science behind them.

While all the episodes tend to have at least some focus on weather and natural phenomena, the first batch of three episodes, which premiered May 31, made its relationship with The Weather Channel somewhat more overt: Think lots of cutaways to Jim Cantore braving storm winds, a guest appearance by meteorologist Kait Parker, and so on. The second batch, which premiered Oct. 7, seems somewhat freer to do its own thing.

If you want to check out “3 Scientists,” be advised: The Weather Channel doesn’t include online access to the show’s episodes if your cable provider is Comcast. You will have to watch it on television, where it is available on demand.

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