Look Around You is the BAFTA-nominated comedy series based on the unforgettable Open University and Television for Schools programs of the1970s. Through a series of gloriously deadpan experiments, we observe a colony of ants build an igloo, receive a telephone call from abrain, discover why ghosts can't whistle, and reveal the largest number in the world. Science has never been so silly.
Look Around You
is a spoof science program that hilariously re-creates both the drab, depressing air of 1970s educational television and a bygone world of tedious school science lessons. Each of the 10-minute episodes--or "Modules"--takes the form of a number of surreal and pointless experiments based on a chosen theme ranging from "Water" and "Sulphur" to "Ghosts" and "Brains."
Look Around You's humor lies not only in an absurd take on education and the impenetrable jargon of science, but also in evoking a sense of nostalgia in the viewer. In this respect the series is helped immeasurably by faultless production and attention to detail. Narrated in austere English, using precise scientific terminology, this is a world of scratched film inserts, dubious periodic tables, cheap, synthesized music, giant hairstyles, bulky, teak-finished technology, and a proliferation of DYMO labels. Each show is even prefaced by a few seconds of the "Television for Schools & Colleges" countdown clock. The tutorial format of the series is not without its problems though--it is essentially a single, plotless joke stretched to eight episodes, and there are no characters to speak of, save glimpses of the deadpan and much-maligned lab-technician (cowriter Peter Serafanowicz). Despite these shortcomings, Look Around You is still a refreshingly different comedy, which is so well put together that you can almost smell the Bunsen burners while you watch. --Paul Philpott