Returning: Catalyst

The new-look Catalyst begins on ABC before the end of the month.

The revamp follows the end of the 30 minute series format to one hour single documentaries.

Whilst it was originally announced there would be 17 docos, ABC now advises there will be 12 episodes to be broadcast in 2017 and a further 8 episodes in early 2018 and a further block late 2018.

Episode One, “Meet the Avatars” is hosted by Dr Jordan Nguyen.

We’re living through a golden age of scientific discovery – and Catalyst returns to take you to the heart of the biggest science stories from Australia and around the world.

The series is made up of hour long programmes; each one looking at the latest science on single subjects from human health and medical breakthroughs to astronomy and technology.

We’re aiming to capture the wonder and excitement at the heart of these stories and meet the scientists and researchers working at the cutting edge of these fields.

Many of the films are hosted by presenters chosen for their expertise and ability to communicate the discoveries in their fields. We dive into the hunt for alien life beyond our solar system; investigate whether seaweed can help save the world; witness some of the extraordinary techniques used in operations to heal the human heart and undertake a world-first experiment to understand how changing what’s in your gut can radically alter your life.

We’re also working with international co-producers to bring some of the best filmmaking from around the world.

It’s a series that will surprise, delight, and inform in equal measure.

Episode One: Meet the Avatars
Hosted by Dr Jordan Nguyen
Virtual Reality is a multibillion dollar industry poised to transform your life in the same way the internet did 20 years ago. But it’s about a lot more than watching films and playing games. These humble headsets could replace a visit to the doctor, cure phobias, open a new world of emotion and experience and even bring the dead back to life. Biomedical engineer, Dr Jordan Nguyen, takes us to the global frontlines of this fascinating and often bizarre virtual world. He examines what it is and how it could transform the way we relate, learn, work and travel. He meets some of the most life-like avatars that scientists are creating to live in a virtual world and helps an Australian family create their own avatar – with surprising results.

Tuesday August 15 8:30pm on ABC.


  1. So the ABC sacks the in house production team and farms out a science show on a per series basis to an independent production company. This company then applies for an ATO 20% tax rebate for the production. The company may also seek funding from Screen Australia or a state funding agency. The ABC may save money but the tax payer is still paying for it and the end result is that there is no solid and ongoing structure or research for science programming. This is a very poor model for documentary programming, a technocratic and economist model, a flawed model for quality and excellence which actually requires time and experimentation and a highly talented team who know they have a permanent job. A very sad development but it seems few in government care.

  2. Maev....Sydney

    They are cheating…calling it Catalyst….nothing like the original….just a collection of documentaries from all over the world…with a guest presenter…..Money saving/cost cutting.
    Even having a young man with a doctorate to dress it up…does not make it anything like Catalyst…so stop calling this group of doco’s that…

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