How did we get here? Are we alone? And how can the mysteries of the universe be explained by popping a chocolate souffle in the oven? In Through the Wormhole, Earth‘s favourite voiceover guy, Morgan Freeman, attempts to answer these questions. He also tackles the biggest question of all: will time travel ever make it possible for Freeman to see his dear old grandmother again?
This series proves a fresh take on the science programme format. Brian Cox might jet all over the world to shout exciting bits of science at us while perched on the edge of a live volcano, but Through the Wormhole takes a less windswept approach. No idea is left unillustrated by its team of overactive cameramen and visual- effects wizards, who have all clearly had too much coffee. A description of black holes as waltzing through space naturally leads to shots of a ballroom full of swirling dancers. And when a scientist tells us “the potassium in a banana is radioactive”, we are shown a chef slicing up said piece of fruit.
Consequently, it’s no great surprise that Andreas Albrecht is introduced not just as a “leading cosmologist” but also as a “renowned chocoholic”. And so we see Albrecht order a chocolate souffle, the cooking of which symbolises how our universe is composed of different elements working together.
With its dramatic pauses, its “pow” and “whoosh” sound effects and the endearing charm of its laconic host, Through the Wormhole never takes itself too seriously. It’s a gentle educational guide, with Freeman balancing quotations from professors with tender stories about his own upbringing.
Meanwhile, the urgent soundtrack, the production values and all those ravishing supernovae combine to give the whole series a movie-like feel. Freeman’s personal anecdotes even start to feel like a plot. In the end, you can’t help hoping he gets to see granny again.