At first glance, the idea of "Wallace and Gromit have their own science education show" seems a bit weird. Especially when you see Wallace, the claymation man with unmistakable sweater vest, sitting at a desk saying "Hello viewers." But actually, Wallace & Gromit's World of Invention, which just came out on DVD in the U.S., is cracking great fun. You can see some snippets from the first episode in the clip above.
This show is a pretty entertaining way for your kids to learn about science and engineering — especially if they're already fans of Wallace and Gromit from stories like The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and The Wrong Trousers. Partly, it works really well because a big part of Wallace and Gromit's concept is that they're inventors who create these bizarre Rube Goldberg contraptions — sometimes to do really simple things, like putting your pants on in the morning, and sometimes to travel to the Moon. So it actually feels sort of natural for the duo to create their own talk show where they showcase inventions.
In every episode, live-action segments about real-life scientists and inventors are interspersed with bits of Wallace and Gromit creating their own ill-fated contraption, from a power generator that works on elephant farts to a space rocket. Over the course of the episode, Wallace keeps trying to do his "announcer" job while meanwhile his latest invention is going more and more out of control in the background.
The good news is, the live-action bits about real-life science are pretty entertaining and fun — and I learned more from them than I usually do from the Discovery Channel a lot of the time. Partly, it's the overwhelming cuteness of the Scottish accent with which the main woman explains the latest scientific discovery or weird invention. And partly, it's the fact that a lot of the inventors and experimenters the show digs up are genuinely wacky and fun.
Adults will probably enjoy smoking a bowl or drinking some tequila and watching the claymation insanity interspersed with science lessons as well. But your kids will probably be totally absorbed — and it might make them fractionally more likely to grow up and create their own weird contraptions as adults.