Watch Stephen Hawking tell the extraordinary story of his extraordinary life

At the start of the film Hawking, Stephen Hawking, through his now-well-known computerized voice, says, “This film is a personal journey through my life, told in my own life. Come with me and I will tell you the story of how I became who I am.”

PBS broadcast the film on TV last night and it’s now online, and it is extraordinary: the behind-the-scenes access and his story. While there is b-roll footage and some weak reenactments, Stephen Finnigan’s film mostly uses photographs, interviews, and Hawking himself to recount the events of his life.

It’s both uplifting and haunting, as Hawking says things such as, “Sometimes I wonder if I am as famous for my wheelchair and my disabilities as I am for my discoveries.” The 71-year-old is, he says, “totally reliant” on others, just as he was as an infant. But: “I have developed a desire to make the most of each and every minute.”

The Sing-Off loses its star

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NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.