Saturday, April 05, 2014
I've been watching FOX TV and National Geographic's updated version of Carl Sagan's iconic science series, Cosmos, with Neil deGrasse Tyson since it premiered last month. It's fantastic.
Produced by Family Guy's Seth McFarlane and Star Trek's Brannon Braga, the show uses modern computer graphics and animation to tell the story of the universe, from the Big Bang to its eventual heat death, through biology, cosmology, geology, to the history of science. Neil deGrasse Tyson has an easy, open style of explanation that translates the most complex scientific concepts. He's wonderful.
I especially like the use of animation and celebrity voices to portray the history of science and scientists, telling the stories of great scientific discoveries like the theory of gravity, and the laws of motion. These stories are so well told, they've even nearly brought me to tears a couple of times. We humans can do amazing things when we put our minds to it, and the show makes that beautifully clear.
Nearly every episode directly addresses some anti-science religious claim, not by directly calling the claims out, but by explaining why ideas like a 6000 year old universe or that the eye couldn't have evolved are wrong. The explanations are devastating to the religious interpretations without being heavy-handed. The show celebrates the wonder and awesomeness of the universe.
I never saw the original Cosmos when it aired. The writing credits list Carl Sagan, which means that at least some of the narration is lifted from the original show. I wonder how much.
The show airs on FOX station at 9PM Sunday nights, and on the National Geographic Channel on Monday nights at 9PM.