Genius: Season 1 – Albert Einstein (9pm / National Geographic Channel) – Premiering on April 25, 2017 at 9pm National Geographic will air its first scripted event: Genius a 10 part mini-series on the inspiring and troubling life of Albert Einstein. So In!
We do this dance…we have this particularly gross system in place. We meaning society…us. We. Somebody will discover a vital truth, a profound idea…a remarkable finding about the cosmos and God’s place in it and we…we push back.
That’s not how we do things around here.
You don’t gain acceptance by being different; history has revealed this pattern by now.
Remember that cheezy Apple commercial to “think” different…presenting all these great minds from history. All commonly vilified either at some point in their lives or worse all the time and sadly they couldn’t purchase a sleek and simple Apple computer to soothe their woes. (You can’t sell originality…the ad was never about originality…if everybody bought Apple computers then you wouldn’t be original; you’d be like everybody else with an Apple computer. Remember when the ipod first came out and the white ibuds were seemingly everywhere? That’s not originality; it’s certainly not individuality. If you’re like everybody than you can’t be somebody which makes you a nobody.) Point is…if you tell people to think different…eventually some will comply.
Albert Einstein did think different; he was highly original and complex and glimpsed a fraction of what makes our Universe so compelling. And true to our established dance he was often rejected, toiling away as a patent clerk for many years; the scientific community pushed back, outright rejected his ideas…even sometimes based on the offensive premise that he’s a Jew. How frustrating and worse guilty of the crime of predictability. Small men do small things.
There’s a lot of life for producers Brian Grazer and Ron Howard to mine (Howard directed the first episode) from Walter Isaacson’s biography Einstein: His Life and Universe (which bring us full circle back to Steve Jobs. Link yourself with Einstein and you get ego satisfying click-bait for life.)
And not just science…Einstein had a number of side-pieces; eventually marrying his first cousin. That like much of his work doesn’t make sense to me. But so be it…Albert typically had a number of Valentine’s Cards to hand out. Apparently that hair and that cardigan was enough to impress the ladies.
The series will wrap on June 20, 2017. Geoffrey Rush is elder Albert Einstein (good casting!), Johnny Flynn as young Albert Einstein and before it’s all done I’m sure we’ll run into J. Edgar Hoover, The Curies (“It’s the Curies! We must flee!”), Carl Jung and more all set in the backdrop of World War 1 and 2. Surreal.
That’s a life…of work and achievement, of adventure and romance, of selfishness and beauty.
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.