Wallace and Gromit’s World of Invention debuted in 2010 on the BBC as a six-part series. The episodes: “Nature Knows Best,” “Reach for the Sky,” “Home Sweet Home,” “Come to Your Senses,” “Better Safe Than Sorry,” and “From A to B.” Each looks at the science of inventions--some successes, some failures, all clever and innovative.
The series is far from stuffy and opts for a fun approach to what might be a boring subject to some. In between segments and interviews, there are recurring bits: Contraption Countdown (animal-inspired inventions; failures in aviation; useful household contraptions); Curiosity Corner (termites’ house-building skills; bomb-detecting bees; laser beam-guided flying saucers); Inventor of the Week (Theo Jansen’s walking animals made of recycled materials; Gustav Mesmer’s flying bicycle; Trevor Baylis’ wind-up radio); and Jem Stansfield’s It Never Got Off the Drawing Board (Einstein’s complicated fridge; a mobile phone shown off over 100 years ago; actress Hedy Lamarr’s frequency-hopping torpedo).
The headline given to Wallace and his dog Gromit is a bit misleading and more of a ploy to attract viewers and sales. They’re hosts only but, since we don’t get to see Nick Park’s claymation duo all that often, they are welcome ones.
Wallace and Gromit’s World of Invention may not be as essential to fans of the residents of West Wallaby Street as their shorts, but it is still solid, amusing entertainment. If nothing else, it could be a useful program to use in middle school science classes when the teacher next door has the Bill Nye tapes.