Jeff Goldblum seems like the perfect candidate to front any documentary series. The beloved actor’s effervescent and whimsical personality, combined with his natural curiosity and open-mindedness, makes him an ideal pick for such projects.
So, the arrival of The World According to Jeff Goldblum in November 2019, a Disney Plus docuseries presented by the Jurassic Park star, made for intriguing and entertaining viewing. The show followed Goldblum’s travels across the US to learn more about familiar and unusual topics, from ice cream production to the history of tattoos. Such was its popularity, the show received a 2020 Emmy nomination for ‘Outstanding Hosted Nonfiction Series or Special’.
It’s unsurprising, therefore, that a second season was announced in January 2020. Since then, a lot has happened – namely, a global pandemic. And, as Goldblum tells TechRadar, the past 18 months only served to remind him of how much he values his family and his work.
- These are the best Disney Plus shows to watch right now
- Or check out these top tier Disney Plus movies instead
- How much does a Disney Plus subscription cost?
“[Season 2’s first episode] is about fireworks, so we were treated to an amazing light display at the end,” Goldblum explains. “Seeing my kids and wife enjoying that private show was just spectacular. [It’s a] once in a lifetime experience – I'll never forget it and, yeah, it choked me up a lot.”
Ahead of season 2’s release on November 12, aka Disney Plus Day, TechRadar sat down with the movie icon to discuss which episode was the most enjoyable to film. We also learned how season 2 builds on its predecessor’s success and whether the show will journey to other nations in the future.
Building on success
How does a show like The World According to Jeff Goldblum ensure that its next outing is better than its first? After all, as a well-received docuseries, it should stick with the formula that made it successful, right?
As Goldblum explains, though, the series’ chief creative team, as well as its production companies in National Geographic Studios and Nutopia, wanted to improve on the series’ three core pillars.
“We’re always looking to entertain, enchant and educate,” Goldblum says. “Everyone is so smart, focused and clear headed on what they want to achieve [on this show]. And they allowed me to develop my creative appetite more, where I can encounter people spontaneously and learn as I go. I followed my own curious mind, taking left turns and unexpected tangents here and there. And we developed that more in the voiceover sections, gabbing it up and trusting that they would make me look coherent.”
Goldblum, an executive producer on the series, and the show’s creative team also enlisted outside help with each episode’s ideas. As he reveals, US novelist and radio host Kurt Andersen (Fantasyland, Turn of the Century), who is also a long time friend of Goldblum’s, was a reliable sounding board throughout season 2’s production.
“I talked about each episode with Kurt,” he says. “He’s a big thinker, a very smart guy, so he helped us figure out what the most expansive angles would be on each subject.”
Selecting which subjects to target, too, was challenging. With so many interesting topics to potentially cover – season 1’s episodes included deep dives on sneakers, denim, coffee, and gaming – Goldblum and company had tough decisions to make over what season 2 should focus on.
Eventually, 10 subjects that Goldblum was equally fascinated by were selected. Season 2’s first five episodes, whose topics include dogs and monsters, will launch on November 12. The other entries, meanwhile, will arrive at a later date. As Goldblum confirms to us, part 2 of season 2 will land on the streamer in January 2022, and will include an episode discussing astronauts and outer space.
For now, which season 2 entry was Goldblum’s favorite to film? Perhaps unsurprisingly, and in typically eccentric fashion, Goldblum says he can’t separate them.
“I love them all,” he shares. “The dog episode – oh my gosh – every part of that, including an appearance from my beloved Woody, was delightful. And then there’s monsters, because we all need to embrace the shadow parts of ourselves and our relationships. For the magic episode, I’ve always been interested in it. And talking to Penn [Jillette] and [Ray] Teller was great as I learned about con artistry.
“For fireworks, I was reminded that they’re like stars at night, and that inflamed my curiosity as we’re finding out more about our universe. That was humbling and mind blowing. And, finally, we cover dance, which is right up my alley. I love it – we went to a roller disco in Atlanta, Georgia, and seeing everyone enjoying themselves was terrific.”
As amusing and interesting as Goldblum’s show is, one major criticism has been levelled at it. Despite its title suggesting that the show is global in scope, the series is yet to travel outside of the US. Naturally, the ongoing pandemic prevented the show from heading to other countries for season 2. But the series’ US-only focus was a particular sore point among some viewers during its first season.
Asked if he’d like to take his show to different continents for a potential third season, Covid-19 permitting, Goldblum reveals that he’s talked about it with his fellow creators – and he’s certainly open to the idea.
“It’s very interesting that you ask that,” he teases. “As you know, a lot of these topics are local with America-based people and places I visit. But they often telescope out into international waters, and even our solar system and the cosmos. There’s no plan to do it [visit other continents] yet, but I’m interested in going around this lovely world of ours.”
It would be a shame if Goldblum and company didn’t take the show elsewhere. As Goldblum admits, the topics within are universal, and there are numerous cultural and societal traditions across the globe that would make for entertaining viewing. So, looking past the pandemic, there’s no excuse why future seasons should solely be based in the US.
Still, that doesn’t make The World According to Jeff Goldblum any less enjoyable. Goldblum’s unconventional presenting style and keen interest in each subject make it an appealing show for all ages. Each episode’s 25-minute runtime also makes the content easy to digest.
And yet, there’s more to The World According to Jeff Goldblum than meets the eye. This isn’t your typical docuseries – it’s grounded in the actor’s memories of his family, particularly his parents, which is touched upon as regularly here as in season 1.
It’s this hidden poignancy that makes the series stand out from its peers. After the past 18 months, this reminder for us not to take our own family and friends for granted is touching. Goldblum’s Disney Plus show isn’t just humorous and endearing: it’s also pretty moving.
The World According to Jeff Goldblum Season 2 Part 1 lands on Disney Plus on Friday, November 12.
Get daily insight, inspiration and deals in your inbox
Get the hottest deals available in your inbox plus news, reviews, opinion, analysis and more from the TechRadar team.
As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.
An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.
Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across.
Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.