Review: The Weather Channel’s Weather Geeks (Ep. 1, Storm Chasing)

Weather Geeks hosts Chris Warren (left) and Dr. Marshall Shepard (right) pose with the show's first guest, Dr. Charles Doswell (center) on the Weather Geeks set.

Weather Geeks hosts Chris Warren (left) and Dr. Marshall Shepard (right) pose with the show’s first guest, Dr. Charles Doswell (center) on the Weather Geeks set. Source

My first reaction upon hearing about the premiere of a new weather-based talk show on The Weather Channel (TWC) was a mix of shock, excitement and skepticism.

The long-standing trend of TWC to shoehorn content with little to no weather focus into their TV programming and their web site has been really off-putting for me, and to have a show like this seemingly pop up out of nowhere was a shock to the system.

For those of you who are familiar with the online show WeatherBrains, Weather Geeks can mostly be boiled down to a nationally-televised version of that.

Could this new show be a sort of redemption for TWC in the eyes of weather enthusiasts like myself who have grown leery towards what TWC has become in recent years? In some ways, that’s how it was seemingly advertised: “A show produced by Meteorologists, for Weather Geeks.” That is the tagline on their Twitter account. Welly, welly, well! We shall see about that.

The first guest for the show was Dr. Charles “Chuck” Doswell. Chuck. Friggen. Doswell. You may not get a better first guest than Chuck.

The man is a storm chasing legend, incredibly intelligent and has wonderful opinions to boot. Not only is Chuck’s mind in the right place, but his blunt “I will say what I want to say and I don’t care who disagrees with me” way of speaking garners cheers from the like-minded while boiling the blood of his dissenters. If he speaks, you listen. If what he says you’re doing is wrong as a chaser, then it’s probably time for some introspection.

Related: Chuck’s Chatter (Dr. Doswell’s blog)

So why post a review about a TV show on this site? Not surprisingly, Chuck was brought on to talk about storm chasing. Pros and cons, why it’s done, who it’s done by and the like. Now, I have focused on Chuck up to this point, but it’s worth noting that Weather Geek’s hosts Dr. Marshall Shepard and Chris Warren are no slouches, either. I respect both of them and think that they are fine hosts for the show.

The interview itself was pretty good. I would not necessarily qualify it as great, but it was a good enough start to the series. Most of the subject matter was appealing, and in general, Chuck was just allowed to talk and be Chuck. That is all I was really hoping to get out of this episode, so in that respect it met my expectations.

My major gripe was when it came to the topic of this “giant wall to protect the U.S. from tornadoes” that they felt the need to talk about. Waste. Of. Time. They managed to get Chuck to come in and do an on-camera interview, and they used some of those precious minutes to discuss the ridiculousness of this idea that has already been discussed and thoroughly mocked by the weather community?

Early in the program, Chris needed to halt one of the discussions because they were getting short on time. It was obvious that there was plenty to talk about besides the tornado wall.

They need to be a bit more productive with the time they have. While relevant to the topic, some of the b-roll of Twister and tornadoes shown at the start of different segments when no actual discussion was taking place could probably be taken out.

It was obvious that the hosts wanted more time for discussion, so why not give them that time and simultaneously save some cash on licensing fees?

The back-and-forth and hand-offs of the discussion between Chris and Marshall was a bit awkward at times during the interview, but I won’t count that against them since this was the premiere of the series. I am fairly certain that they will fall into a good groove down the line.

Overall, it was a good discussion about storm chasing, and it was enough to keep me interested in watching the rest of the series. While the show may not seem like it would be incredibly appealing of the general public, it was very refreshing to most of the weather community to see TWC move back towards this weather-focused programming.

Also, please, PLEASE put entire episodes online. I made sure to DVR the show, but it would be nice to be able to get it online, especially when I am not able to get to a TV for awhile or, you know, if something were to happen to the recording…

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Operational Meteorologist at WeatherBug (Earth Networks). See full bio.