Last week, San Diego enjoyed its yearly deluge of science-fiction, fantasy, and pop-culture during its yearly Comic-Con convention. And to be sure, there were thousands of attendees, lots of costumes and plenty of news about upcoming film and TV projects.
I’ve never attended (the long lines just don’t seem worth it to me) but I always keep up on the news from it. And this year, the preview that most caught my attention wasn’t a fantasy movie or science-fiction tv show, but the announcement that the FOX network is producing an updated version of Cosmos – the landmark PBS series from 1980 with Carl Sagan – with astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson at the helm of the (also updated) Ship of the Imagination.
The series is the product of Ann Druyan (Sagan’s widow), deGrasse-Tyson, and the perhaps unlikely Seth MacFarlane (who has actually been a science proponent). The show will air starting in February 2014. Here is the preview:
That certainly looks “edgier” than the stately Sagan-with-a-Vangelis soundtrack from before, but I’m intrigued by and excited for this. Re-stating Sagan’s original introduction at the outset, “The Cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be…We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.” sets the right tone in my mind and, yes, caused me to choke up a little. Perhaps that’s because I can not understate the effect of Cosmos on the course of my life. No teacher, no class, no role model in my life kindled within me the desire to pursue a vocation in research and discovery more than Carl Sagan and Cosmos.
With such a weighty nostalgia for the original, this new venture might seem as if it’s treading on dangerous territory, but I can’t think of anyone better to pick up the torch for this era than deGrasse-Tyson. I mean, besides me. But they didn’t call me, did they? Maybe Neil and the new series will be able to reverse some of the tides of anti-science and misinformation that we needlessly struggle against here in the 21st century and inspire a new generation of teens discover with equal parts imagination and skepticism.