In the song “Turning Turtle” from Mary Poppins Returns, Mary says “It’s good to get a different point of view.” That’s exactly what Disney+ subscribers will get on November 12th when the streaming platform launches with a new exclusive series from National Geographic, The World According to Jeff Goldblum. Disney + National Geographic + Jeff Goldblum = Inspiring hilarity.
The premise of the series is simple. Each episode focuses on a specific topic, something that you would consider ordinary or not worth further exploration. Through Jeff Goldblum’s inquisitive nature and open mind, we experience it in a whole new way. Because this is NatGeo, viewers will get the historical significance of the topics as well, with brief histories provided through hypnotizing animated graphics. With Goldblum’s narrations, I found myself looking forward to these segments every episode. He seems to recognize that as well, teasing you before they start to play.
A series by National Geographic starring Jeff Goldblum on topics such as sneakers, ice cream, tattoos, and denim seems like an odd choice for a Disney+ exclusive launch title. After all, NatGeo is a very recent addition to the Disney portfolio and Goldblum’s Disney work has never included anything with the name “Disney” above the title. And yet, it feels right at home on a Disney branded streaming platform for some inexplicable reason. It’s a brilliant move, considering that Disney fans are hardwired to want to experience all of the new original content coming their way November 12th. With such a strong debut from NatGeo on the platform, it will make them even more likely to click that yellow-border section of the platform to experience their library of branded content like Free Solo and Hostile Planet.
It’s also worth noting that the series employs the longstanding “Hidden Mickey” tradition. I was able to find the mouse that started it all somewhere in each of the four episodes. With endless possibilities for topics, I would love to see Jeff Goldblum explore the Disney fandom or elements of the company like animation and theme parks. Another fun reason to come back for more every week is that the logo changes each episode to match the topic. The ice cream episode features the logo over Neapolitan ice cream with the logo made of candy. After the shot is established, a scoop drags through the screen to mess it all up.
I was given access to the first four episodes, but it didn’t take that long to fall in love with The World According to Jeff Goldblum. Like Goldblum himself, the show is lively, quirky, funny, and enigmatic. It takes to heart the Epcot philosophy of “Edutainment,” landing more on the entertainment side than education, but still giving you at least a few fun facts on the topic that will stay with you. You’ll wish Disney+ would mass-dump the entire season because this show is the definition of “Binge-worthy.”
I give The World According to Jeff Goldblum 5 out of 5 black framed glasses.
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.