Quest for Wonder is a web-based children’s science program hosted by puppet versions of comedian Robin Ince and Professor Brian Cox. It is available for free at CosmicGenome.com with extra features available for paid Cosmic Genome subscribers.
TV science presenter Brian Cox has lost his wonder. Oh no! He and his Infinite Monkey Cage co-host Robin Ince go off on a quest to the Science Museum to get Brian’s wonder back. Along the way, we stop off at different museum exhibits to learn about mill engines, DNA, Mendle, Marie Curie, X-rays, computers, transistors, and space travel. The Robin puppet is classic Robin Ince talking too fast and going off on tangents. Brian Cox’s puppet is a deflated version of the professor you see on TV, as his lack of wonder leaves him uninterested in all the fascinating exhibits they admire. Will Brian get his wonder back or will he settle for a blue sock disguised as his wonder (and voiced by Josie Long)?
My seven-year-old step-son has been watching Quest for Wonder. I’m not sure he understands everything that is going on because he is only familiar with Brian and Robin from the Infinite Monkey Cage music video with Eric Idle and doesn’t pick up on the inside jokes or know why Robin making fun of Brian’s gorgeous hair is funny. However, after every episode, he’s astonished to find that Brian still has not found his wonder, even though the blue, furry creature that is meant to be the wonder is running around in the background the whole time. That isn’t to say he hasn’t picked up on some of the jokes. After astronaut Chris Hadfield plays just one note of Space Oddity (and is cut off by Robin for song licensing reasons), he started singing the rest, as he is well versed on the mission of Major Tom. Hopefully, he is learning about science history, too.
Although a lot of the content is actually aimed at adult fans (i.e. the strawberry “Wanted Dead or Alive” poster), they’ve done all the mandatory kid things that kids programs need to have. It’s got banjo music and smelly socks and Robin Ince singing the entire human genome sequence. We also have guest voices done by Dr. Helen Czerski, Reece Shearsmith, Dr. Roger Highfield.
Largely for the adults, there are six bonus episodes with less puppet airtime and more Cosmic Genome-style lecturing from great gets like Helen Czerski, Kevin Fong, Matt Parker, Kat Arney, Chris Lintott, and Chris Hadfield. These bonus episodes are only available to paying subscribers of the web video-based pop-sci magazine Cosmic Genome.