A Spacetime Odyssey

“The cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be. Our contemplation of the cosmos stirs. We know we are approaching the grandest of mysteries.” — Carl Sagan, 1980

“It’s time to get going again.” — Neil deGrasse Tyson, 2013

Thirty-three years ago, Carl Sagan and his wife Ann Druyan produced Cosmos, by far the most popular series ever to air on PBS until then (and viewed worldwide by an estimated 750 million people). The magic of Cosmos, and Sagan’s “isn’t this just so amazing” tour guide approach, was that it taught two generations of viewers that science was not something out of reach for the normal person. It wasn’t something obscured by big words and bigger ideas. It was something anyone could understand if they had a good enough teacher and the desire to learn. It changed the world.

Since then, science has fallen to a new low in the United States. Vilified by Republicans as an elitist waste of federal dollars, or an assault on religious freedoms, or the last sanctuary of out-of-touch environmentalists and liberals, its political status is that of a whipping post. Sagan would weep to see it.

Astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson thinks it’s time to reboot. And he’s got Ann Druyan on his side, writing for and producing a new Cosmos with all the pizzazz of modern special effects, digital filming, and of course a huge stockpile of photos and video footage from our many space probes and satellites. Tyson screened the official trailer at the Comic Con last month, and it gave me chills.

I cannot wait for 2014, when two more generations of viewers will sit down in this house for 13 new episodes of Cosmos. (Plus, the new ship is SO cool! The scene where it’s swooping low over the water? Shivers.)

The trailer is available in HD. Load it up, make it full screen, and turn up your speakers.

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About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
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8 Responses to A Spacetime Odyssey

  1. Paulo says:

    Thanks for this.
    I have so much to say about “Cosmos” and Sagan, one of the the most important influences in my life. So much that I won’t even go there now…
    Two things, though:
    1. I am very sure, just from the trailer, that I am going to love even more the soundtrack of the original series; it was probably inevitable that this one would succumb to the Marvel-styled fanfares of these past few years, but hey. That’s nothing, if the series stays true to the original intent (and, though Neil has threw me off a few times in the past with some aspects of his personal approach, I think nobody like him can fulfill Carl’s legacy); and
    2. Umm… what the heck is that at 1:11?

    • Paulo says:

      Never mind # 2. – I think I should have seen the whole thing til the end. It’s obviously part of the historical perspective.

  2. K-K says:

    Infreakingcredible!!! I can barely contain myself. Sagan is one of my heroes. I have all of his books except for “Contact”. It is out of print and I haven’t been able to find it at a used bookstore either. I’m confident deGrasse Tyson will do a splendid job. The Fox network though? One of those things that make you go “hmm”.

    • oregon expat says:

      Don’t confuse Fox Broadcasting with Fox News. While part of the same conglomerate, they’re very different branches. Fox Broadcasting has created and aired such shows as Bones and Glee, so we know they’re capable of decent programming.

  3. James says:

    I reserve judgement.

    Neil deGrasse Tyson is, I acknowledge, a remarkable man and perhaps a worthy heir to Carl Sagan, but ANYONE following up on Carls original series is ‘Walking in a giants footsteps’, and so much COULD go wrong and be cringe worthy in such a followup. I hope it’s worth watching.

  4. Jason Cleaver says:

    Nothing and no one can beat Car Sagan’s ‘Mote of Dust, Suspended in a sunbeam’ speech. But I think I will be watching to see them try.

  5. João Brandão says:

    I know I’m late to the party… but this video is an absolute necessity in this post:

    Neil deGrasse Tyson talking about how he met Sagan. He truly is his successor.

    • oregon expat says:

      That’s a great story, both Sagan’s approachability and Tyson’s vow to emulate it. My takeaway question, of course, is “After all that, he didn’t go to Cornell?? Why the HELL not?” (First guess: money.)

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