WHAT IT’S ABOUT National Geographic Channel’s first scripted series — 10 hours — is an adaptation of Walter Isaacson’s “Einstein: His Life and Universe” (2007), starring Geoffrey Rush as Albert Einstein. The first two hours toggle between the life of the younger Einstein (Johnny Flynn) and Einstein in 1922, just after the assassination of his friend Walther Rathenau, foreign minister of the Weimar Republic, murdered by right-wing proto-Nazi terrorists. Also starring Emily Watson as Einstein’s second wife (and first cousin), Elsa Löwenthal. This is a Brian Grazer and Ron Howard production.
MY SAY You know you’re in for a bumpy 10-hour ride through the space-time continuum of Einstein’s life when one of the first scenes reveals him grinding against his secretary.
Bumpier still when, as a callow lothario, he blandly dismisses the affections of a potential spouse with this line: “I’m not sure I want to spend life with someone who can’t carry on a compelling conversation on the nature of things.”
Ah, what nature of things would that be, Albert? We find out soon enough: “I’m head over heels in love with your mind,” he tells future wife Mileva Maric (Samantha Colley), while both are under the sheets.