Sunday, August 18, 2013

Brain Games: Smart TV Is Back

So there I was chatting up a Grade 6 class last fall when a very precocious 11-year old girl asked me why most TV was so stupid.
Well, have I got a smart new series for her.
It's called Brain Games and debuts on National Geographic channel Tuesday evening at 10.
I saw two half hour episodes which I'm guessing will form the first hour.

But watching in 30-minute spurts is peffectly OK with me because there's so much information to take in.
But the 11-year old was right as the number of TV channels increases smart TV has all but disappeared from the dial.
In a desperate search for ratings of any kind dumb and dumber reality TV has taken over control.
That's why I'm high on Brain Games.
I'm thinking any Grade Six student would enjoy this --along with all parents. The first eoiside starts with footballs being tossed across the screen.
You the viewer gets asked how many footballs flew by. I missed the correct number and so will you.
The youthful host is Jason Silva who is a self confessed "wonder junkie" who just likes playing visual perception tricks on poor viewers.
But he does get our attention. And he makes his points about the way the human brain is wired and I'm not surprised he is a fellow of the Hybrid Reality Institute.
His partner in missing perception is trickster Apollo Robbins who takes simple card tricks to teach us that the human brain's peripheral vision just ain't what it seems to be.
Because Brain Games teaches us about human focus and does so in bite sized lessons that are fun to watch.
The activities are all staged on location and not in the TV studio. And people off the street get recruited to test their perception --most of them flunk out merrily I'm happy to report.
The concept was originally a three hour TV special that aired way back in 2011.
The basic theory is that the human brain is good at some things like differentiating face but pretty lousy in perception contests.
The brain tends to focus on what it considers important filtering out everything else.
Robbins shows with a simple card trick how passers by are so fixated on his deck of cards they don't see the winning card is stuck on his forehead.
This is a participation series --you cannot help but play along and get fooled. In one experiment passers by must decide which of two women is taller --the girls have been placed in a room where depth and perception have been diddled with.
In another experiment college students asked to focus on two cheerleaders fail to notice the other cheerleaders who come and go are really guys in drag.
My brain is telling me to keep watching and for once I'll have to go along with this perception.
MY RATING: ***1/2.

No comments: