NOVA

The WORST episodes of NOVA

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Helps viewers of all ages explore the science behind the headlines.

Last Updated: 6/19/2022Network: PBS
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Siamese Twins
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0.00
0 votes

#1 - Siamese Twins

Season 22 - Episode 5 - Aired 2/14/1995

Born joined at the pelvis, Siamese twins Dao and Duan were brought to the United States from Thailand to assess their chances for being separated surgically. NOVA covers the intricate planning and protracted operations that eventually made the two girls into two distinct individuals.

The Universe Within
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0 votes

#2 - The Universe Within

Season 22 - Episode 6 - Aired 3/7/1995

What amazing processes go on inside super-athletes and couch potatoes alike? NOVA uses the latest medical imaging techniques to explore the body's incredible inner workings-with the help of Olympic ice skater Bonnie Blair, world record long jumper Mike Powell and others.

Kidnapped by U.F.O.'s?
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3.00
1 votes

#3 - Kidnapped by U.F.O.'s?

Season 23 - Episode 6 - Aired 2/27/1996

Carl Sagan and other scientists investigate claims that people have been visited or abducted by aliens.

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Secrets Of Lost Empires: China Bridge
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4.00
2 votes

#4 - Secrets Of Lost Empires: China Bridge

Season 27 - Episode 11 - Aired 2/29/2000

The film, which is a part of the NOVA series Secrets of Lost Empires, documents a 1999 effort by a NOVA-assembled crew of scholars and timber framers to design and build a Chinese bridge known only from an ancient painting.

Directors: Michael Barnes
The Case of the Midwife Toad
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4.50
2 votes

#5 - The Case of the Midwife Toad

Season 1 - Episode 11 - Aired 5/12/1974

When Paul Kammerer committed suicide in 1926, it was taken by most of his fellow biologists as a tacit admission of guilt that he had faked his experiments purporting to show the inheritance of acquired characteristics. Arthur Koestler joins NOVA in an in-depth examination of Kammerer's infamous experiment.

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Lost Roman Treasure
star
5.00
2 votes

#6 - Lost Roman Treasure

Season 29 - Episode 11 - Aired 10/8/2002

Experts rescue priceless mosaics from an ancient city that is about to disappear beneath a reservoir.

Directors: Thierry Ragobert
The Case of the Ancient Astronauts
star
5.00
2 votes

#7 - The Case of the Ancient Astronauts

Season 5 - Episode 9 - Aired 3/8/1978

NOVA investigates the theories of von Daniken and others that the Earth has been visited by intelligent beings from outer space. Among claims examined are: that the building techniques used in the Great Pyramid of Cheops are so advanced that only an extraterrestrial intelligence could have built it; and that the engraved stones of Palenque in Mexico depict an ancient astronaut at the controls of a space rocket.

In the Land of the Llamas
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5.00
2 votes

#8 - In the Land of the Llamas

Season 17 - Episode 19 - Aired 12/4/1990

NOVA profiles the llama, alpaca, vicuna and guanaco of South America. At one time nearly extinct, these four members of the camel family are exceptionally well adapted to life in the beautiful high Andes.

The Case of the UFOs
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5.00
2 votes

#9 - The Case of the UFOs

Season 9 - Episode 11 - Aired 10/12/1982

For the first time on television a rigorous, scientific investigation into the fact, fiction, and hoax of unidentified flying objects. With vivid film and accounts from several eyewitnesses including astronauts, NOVA sifts the evidence for and against the existence of UFOs.

The Secrets of Sleep
star
5.50
2 votes

#10 - The Secrets of Sleep

Season 2 - Episode 4 - Aired 11/24/1974

Most of us spend one-third of our lives in a state of which we understand remarkably little—some people sleep for only a few minutes a night, and function perfectly well, while others declare that eight hours isn't enough. NOVA explores traditional notions about how much sleep we need; looks at effects of the sleeping pill, and, perhaps the most baffling of all aspects of sleep—dreaming.

Judgment Day: Intelligent Design On Trial
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5.75
36 votes

#11 - Judgment Day: Intelligent Design On Trial

Season 34 - Episode 13 - Aired 11/13/2007

In this two-hour special, NOVA captures the turmoil that tore apart the community of Dover, Pennsylvania in one of the latest battles over teaching evolution in public schools. Featuring trial reenactments based on court transcripts and interviews with key participants, including expert scientists and Dover parents, teachers, and town officials, "Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial" follows the celebrated federal case of Kitzmiller v. Dover School District. This program was coproduced with Paul G. Allen's Vulcan Productions, Inc. In 2004, the Dover school board ordered science teachers to read a statement to high school biology students suggesting that there is an alternative to Darwin's theory of evolution called intelligent design–the idea that life is too complex to have evolved naturally and therefore must have been designed by an intelligent agent. The teachers refused to comply. Later, parents opposed to intelligent design filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing the school board of violating the constitutional separation of church and state. "There was a blow-up like you couldn't believe," Bill Buckingham, head of the school board's curriculum committee, tells NOVA. Buckingham helped formulate the intelligent-design policy when he noticed that the biology textbook chosen by teachers for classroom use was, in his words, "laced with Darwinism." NOVA presents the arguments by lawyers and expert witnesses in riveting detail and provides an eye-opening crash course on questions such as "What is evolution?" and "Is intelligent design a scientifically valid alternative?" Kitzmiller v. Dover was the first legal test of intelligent design as a scientific theory, with the plaintiffs arguing that it is a thinly veiled form of creationism, the view that a literal interpretation of the Bible accounts for all observed facts about nature. During the trial, lawyers for the plaintiffs showed that evolution is one of the best-tested and most thoroughly con

Ship That Changed the World
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5.92
13 votes

#12 - Ship That Changed the World

Season 48 - Episode 8 - Aired 6/2/2021

Some five centuries ago, a major revolution overturned traditional ship design: in just a few years, ships were transformed from small coastal-bound transports into massive ocean-going vessels. Once regular trans-oceanic travel became feasible, everything changed. Powerful navies arose and fought for supremacy at sea, while the new ships enabled empire-building European powers to invade and colonize Indigenous lands and exploit their peoples. How did this transformative change in ship design come about? Scholars and historians have always faced a problem: few wrecks dating back to this crucial period survive, so rough drawings and incomplete records have been their only evidence. Now, a well-preserved wreck off the coast of Sweden dating back to the era of Columbus reveals new details about the engineering that changed the world. Dive with NOVA as we recover the sunken clues to this significant new discovery.

Doomsday Volcanoes
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5.93
75 votes

#13 - Doomsday Volcanoes

Season 40 - Episode 1 - Aired 1/2/2013

In April, 2010 the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano turned much of Europe into an ash-strewn no-fly zone, stranding millions of travelers. But was Eyjafjallajökull just the start? Now, an even more threatening Icelandic volcano, Katla, has begun to swell and grumble. Two more giants, Hekla and Laki, could erupt without warning. Iceland is a ticking time bomb: When it blows, the consequences could be global. As CGI takes us inside these geological monsters, we meet atmospheric scientists who are working to understand just how devastating an eruption could be—not just for air travel but for the global food supply and for Earth's climate. Could we be plunged into years of cold and famine? What can we do to prepare for the disaster to come?

Directors: Duncan Copp
Quest for Solomon's Mines
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5.94
70 votes

#14 - Quest for Solomon's Mines

Season 37 - Episode 16 - Aired 11/23/2010

Countless treasure-seekers have set off in search of King Solomon's mines, trekking through burning deserts and scaling the forbidding mountains of Africa and the Levant, inspired by the Bible's account of splendid temples and palaces adorned in glittering gold and copper. Yet to date, the evidence that has claimed to support the existence of Solomon and other early kings in the Bible has been highly controversial. In fact, so little physical evidence of the kings who ruled Israel and Edom has been found that many contend that they are no more real than King Arthur. In the summer of 2010, NOVA and National Geographic embarked on two cutting-edge field investigations that illuminate the legend of Solomon and reveal the source of the great wealth that powered the first mighty biblical kingdoms. These groundbreaking expeditions expose important new clues buried in the pockmarked desert of Jordan, including ancient remnants of an industrial-scale copper mine and a 3,000-year-old message with the words "slave," "king," and "judge."

Directors: Graham Townsley
Sultan's Lost Treasure
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6.00
2 votes

#15 - Sultan's Lost Treasure

Season 28 - Episode 1 - Aired 1/16/2001

The program follows a French-led expedition to recover thousands of porcelain and other artifacts from a centuries-old Chinese shipwreck off the coast of Brunei.

Directors: Stephen Sweigart
The Women Rebel
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6.00
2 votes

#16 - The Women Rebel

Season 3 - Episode 16 - Aired 5/23/1976

Margaret Sanger was responsible almost single-handedly for changing the whole attitude of the male-dominated medical profession towards "women's issues" and, above all, for gaining social and political acceptance for the concept of birth control. This NOVA docudrama reconstructs her life, told as flashbacks interspersed throughout an interview. Piper Laurie stars as Margaret Sanger.

Trial of Denton Cooley
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6.00
1 votes

#17 - Trial of Denton Cooley

Season 5 - Episode 7 - Aired 2/22/1978

In a dramatic docudrama, NOVA reconstructs the controversial lawsuit raised against renowned heart surgeon Dr. Denton Cooley when one of his patients died after heart surgery, and examines the legal and moral issues this raises in the practice of modern medicine.

The Great Wine Revolution
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6.00
1 votes

#18 - The Great Wine Revolution

Season 5 - Episode 8 - Aired 3/1/1978

A science-based revolution in the making of wine is underway. NOVA traces the secrets of the aging process and science's involvement with the predicting of mass production high-quality vintage wines.

Buried in Ice
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6.00
2 votes

#19 - Buried in Ice

Season 15 - Episode 3 - Aired 2/2/1988

Scientists investigate the frozen remains of members of the 19th century Franklin Expedition to the Canadian Arctic and ask why all perished.

The Dawn of the Solar Age
star
6.33
3 votes

#20 - The Dawn of the Solar Age

Season 4 - Episode 12 - Aired 4/20/1977

Solar energy is increasingly popular as a home heating source. But only recently has it been seriously considered as a source of industrial power. NOVA looks at this new industrial approach, such as the use of a huge windmill in Ohio, giant machines that may generate electricity from the heat of the tropical seas or from the motion of waves, and an orbiting solar power station able to beam microwaves to earth.

Blueprints in the Bloodstream
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6.33
3 votes

#21 - Blueprints in the Bloodstream

Season 5 - Episode 3 - Aired 1/18/1978

It has been known since the turn of the century that there are four human blood groups, based on different red cells and serum characteristics. NOVA looks at the more recent discovery that the different white cell types, as determined by a variety of different molecular markers on the cell surface, open up the possibility of the prevention of disease.

Doctors' Diaries (2)
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6.33
3 votes

#22 - Doctors' Diaries (2)

Season 36 - Episode 8 - Aired 4/14/2009

Seven doctors, 21 years... Saving lives is only part of the story.

Directors: Michael Barnes
Sinking City Of Venice
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6.33
3 votes

#23 - Sinking City Of Venice

Season 29 - Episode 14 - Aired 11/19/2002

Experts struggle to save the City of Canals before it vanishes beneath the waves.

The Bible's Buried Secrets
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6.36
11 votes

#24 - The Bible's Buried Secrets

Season 35 - Episode 16 - Aired 11/18/2008

“The Bible’s Buried Secrets,” produced by Rhode Island-based Providence Pictures for PBS's science series Nova, attempts to uncover who wrote the Hebrew Bible and whether it’s history or parable, delving into the origins of the Israelites to explore their gradual transformation into a monotheistic people. The show also poses provocative ideas – including the “revelation” that many Israelites believed that God had a wife – and disputes literal readings of the text.

Directors: Gary Glassman
The Elegant Universe: Welcome to the 11th Dimension (3)
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6.37
35 votes

#25 - The Elegant Universe: Welcome to the 11th Dimension (3)

Season 30 - Episode 14 - Aired 11/4/2003

String theory is radically changing our ideas about the nature of space, opening up the possibility that extra dimensions, rips in the fabric of space, and parallel universes actually exist.