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Jan 23 2014

Cosmos series reborn

An old friend will reappear in modern guise in a few weeks. The choice of venue is a little bit controversial in some circles. But Heidi Hammel writing at the Planetary Society makes a fair case for it:

Remember Carl Sagan’s TV show, Cosmos? There is a new version, Cosmos – A Spacetime Odyssey (see its trailer) hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson on Fox. Wait, why Fox, you ask, aren’t they anti-science? The answer is: indeed Fox – because of the people who watch Fox. These are precisely the people we need to reach if we want to rekindle a fire for space science exploration in the heart of America. The premier episode airs on 9 March 2014. Leverage this: offer to be the host at a Cosmos kick-off event at your local library or middle school; invite your non-astronomy buddies over to watch an episode of Cosmos. Let me know some of your other ideas.

9 comments

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  1. 1
    Trebuchet

    The usual note applies: The Fox network, which also carries The Simpsons, is NOT the same as Fox News. It just has the same ownership. There may be some viewer overlap, but probably not all that great.

    What’s really sad is that Fox also owns the National Geographic Channel, which now spends most of its time broadcasting crap like “Alaska State Troopers” and “Border Wars”. The NGS should be ashamed of selling its good name in that way.

  2. 2
    Crimson Clupeidae

    I’m looking forward to watching this. I have the original on DVD (and watched it back in the day), and it was always one of my favorites.

  3. 3
    lpetrich

    If it discusses evolution, I hope that it doesn’t repeat that Heike crab stupidity of the first time around. It would be MUCH better to do some comparative anatomy. It would be easy to make it visually interesting, I think. I’m disappointed that the original Cosmos didn’t do any of that.

  4. 4
    Scr... Archivist

    Ipetrich @3,

    It would be easy to make it visually interesting, I think. I’m disappointed that the original Cosmos didn’t do any of that.

    How do you mean?

  5. 5
    peterh

    Looking forward to this. I have the DVD set with Sagan’s additional material. It will be interesting to see how Tyson manages the wealth of data that’s come to us since Sagan’s passing.

    And I think the original Cosmos did some neat visual things, given the state of video production at the time.

  6. 6
    Peter White

    Based on the preview, it looks like this will have all the razzamatazz of all the other current science shows on TV, even Nova, which used to be viewable without developing a splitting headache. Current science shows should be rated on an “Explosion Per Minute” basis.

    The original Cosmos series, like Jacob Bronowski’s “The Ascent of Man” series, was not only educational, it was extremely well produced. Both were fascinating to watch due to their content. The viewers were treated with respect, and presumed to have attention spans of at least one hour without needing constant loud bangs to remain conscious.

    I’d like to be proven wrong, but Tyson has a history of using razzamatazz to get his message across, and this preview is consistent with that history.

    Peter Jon White

  7. 7
    nora

    I can’t wait. We’re going to watch it live at the National Geographic auditorium in Washington.

  8. 8
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    There was only one Carl Sagan.

    I hope this is a good series, it probably will be.

    But it won’t be,can’t be the same. The original will always be the best in my view.

  9. 9
    Uber Genie

    Agree with Peter on how well original content being well produced and Tyson’s proclivity towards razzmatazz!

    The statement, “The Cosmos is all that is, was, or ever will be,” is a philosophic not scientific statement.

    Tyson is a dynamic educator and fun to watch. He shares those traits with Sagan. Unfortunately he is still drawing with crayons when it comes to philosophy (also like his predecessor). He quickly traverses into philosophic realms without any apparent knowledge that he has done so. It was annoying 25+ years ago and no less so now. He would do better to give the old Obama response “that is above my paygrade” than to stumble around and speak authoritatively about philosophy.

    It is sad to see such a great Cosmological understanding paired with such a remedial understanding of the bounds of science. Jury is out on the show but if his handling of this interview with Bill Moyers is any indication this may degrade into a science version of Real Time with Bill Maher.

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