Years ago, the science community and children of the eighties poked their meerkat-ish heads up at the mention of a ‘Cosmos’ remake. “Could it be true?” they wondered, “Is the world really ready to come back to science?”
Well, it’s a little too soon to answer that question, but I hope that a resounding “yes” will be the reply. For now, what we do have is a show about science airing on FOX during Sunday primetime. That’s pretty awesome.
So, the first episode of ‘Cosmo: A Spacetime Odyssey’ is a forty-minute long ode to the original, with some updated information and sort of obvious subtraction of Carl’s ominous warnings, like “The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars”.
The environmentalism and anti-war messages are downplayed, but as for the rest, it’s pretty much idea for idea the first episode of the original ‘Cosmos’, “The Cosmos and Our Place in It”, because it’s basically about the cosmos… and guess what… our place in it.
Now, if you’ve been on social media at all during the airing of this episode, you’ll find a lot of people oo-ing and awing about how small and insignificant we are, and I guess with state-of-the-art graphics that makes it even more evident as you consistently zoom out in HD. The calendar Sagan is so famous for showing the world, where he shows that recorded human history only happens in the last hour of the last day of the year is updated, created a breath-taking display of how young we are in comparison to the universe.
The spaceship of the imagination is also included, only this time it’s rendered in such amazing graphics that I’m not really sure it demands a lot of imagination from the viewer. Gone is Sagan’s beige bridge, and here is a sleek ship that darts through the rings of Saturn and follows the Voyager satellite.
And finally, Carl’s voice is heard throughout, adding to the nods the new ‘Cosmos’ is giving to its ground-breaking predecessor. Bonus, a story about how Neil deGrasse Tyson met Carl Sagan, and how that changed his life, and maybe ours as well.
However, it wasn’t completely a rehash of the 80s. One notable addition is the story of Giodarno Bruno, a Dominican friar who took Copernicus’ theory of the Earth revolving around the sun, and expanding it by saying the sun was only one of many. It told a tale of how important imagination and critical thinking is to understanding the nature of the universe, while soothing some religious feathers by suggesting that an infinite god would live in an infinite universe. More importantly, he shed light on a little known scientific figure that proved to be right despite popular opinion. Who will be the next person who makes the next big discovery?
Well, maybe they’re watching the show right now.
The episode was fun, but not really filled with new information for old fans. But then again, that’s not the point. The point of the show is to bring in a new generation of future scientists, and include them in the great Cosmic dialogue. I’m just glad to be a part of the ride, and I look forward to what new wonders the next episode will bring.