Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
A Spacetime Odyssey
|Created by||Ann Druyan
|Directed by||Brannon Braga|
|Presented by||Neil deGrasse Tyson|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Cosmos Studios
National Geographic Channel
Fuzzy Door Productions
National Geographic Channel
|Original airing||March 9, 2014|
|Preceded by||Cosmos: A Personal Voyage|
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is an American documentary television series. It is a follow-up to the 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which was presented by Carl Sagan. The new series' presenter is Neil deGrasse Tyson. The executive producers are Seth MacFarlane and Ann Druyan, Sagan's widow. The series premiered on March 9, 2014, simultaneously in the US across ten 21st Century Fox networks, including Fox, FX, FXX, FXM, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD and Fox Life. According to Fox Networks, this is the first time that a TV show is set to premiere in a global simulcast across their network of channels. The remainder of the series will air on Fox with Nat Geo rebroadcasting the episodes the next day with extra content. The score for Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey was written by Alan Silvestri.
The original 13-part Cosmos: A Personal Voyage first aired in 1980 on the Public Broadcasting System, and was hosted by Carl Sagan. The show has been considered highly significant since its broadcast; David Itzkoff of The New York Times described it as "a watershed moment for science-themed television programming". The show has been watched by at least 400 million people across 60 different countries, and until the 1990 documentary The Civil War, remained the network's highest rated program.
Following Sagan's death in 1996, his widow Ann Druyan, the co-creator of the original Cosmos series along with Steven Soter, a producer from the series, and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, sought to create a new version of the series, aimed to appeal to as wide an audience as possible and not just to those interested in the sciences. They had struggled for years with reluctant television networks that failed to see the broad appeal of the show.
Seth MacFarlane had met Druyan through Tyson at the 2008 kickoff event for the Science & Entertainment Exchange, a new Los Angeles office of the National Academy of Sciences, designed to connect Hollywood writers and directors with scientists. A year later, at a 2009 lunch in New York City with Tyson, MacFarlane learned of their interest to re-create Cosmos. He was influenced by Cosmos as a child, believing that Cosmos served to "[bridge] the gap between the academic community and the general public". At the time MacFarlane told Tyson, "I'm at a point in my career where I have some disposable income ... and I’d like to spend it on something worthwhile." MacFarlane had considered the reduction of effort for space travel in recent decades to be part of "our culture of lethargy". MacFarlane, who has several series on the Fox network, was able to bring Druyan to meet the heads of Fox programming, Peter Rice and Kevin Reilly, and helped secure the greenlighting of the show. MacFarlane admits that he is "the least essential person in this equation" and the effort is a departure from work he's done before, but considers this to be "very comfortable territory for me personally". He and Druyan have become close friends, and Druyan stated that she believed that Sagan and MacFarlane would have been "kindred spirits" with their respective "protean talents". In June 2012, MacFarlane provided funding to allow about 800 boxes of Sagan's personal notes and correspondences to be donated to the Library of Congress.
In a Point of Inquiry interview, Tyson discussed their goal of capturing the "spirit of the original Cosmos", which he describes as "uplifting themes that called people to action". Druyan describes the themes of wonder and skepticism they are infusing into the scripts, in an interview with Skepticality, "In order for it to qualify on our show it has to touch you. It still has to be rigorously good science--no cutting corners on that. But then, it also has to be that equal part skepticism and wonder both." In a Big Picture Science interview, Tyson credits the success of the original series for the proliferation of science programming, “The task for the next generation of Cosmos is a little bit different because I don’t need to teach you textbook science. There’s a lot of textbook science in the original Cosmos, but that’s not what you remember most. What most people who remember the original series remember most is the effort to present science in a way that has meaning to you that can influence your conduct as a citizen of the nation and of the world--especially of the world.” Tyson states that the new series will contain both new material and updated versions of topics in the original series, but primarily, will service the “needs of today’s population". “We want to make a program that is not simply a sequel to the first, but issues forth from the times in which we are making it, so that it matters to those who is this emergent 21st century audience.” Tyson considered that recent successes of science-oriented shows like The Big Bang Theory, and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and films like Gravity, that "science has become mainstream" and expects Cosmos "will land on hugely fertile ground".
Tyson comments on the "love-hate relationship" viewers had with the original series' Spaceship of the Imagination, but confirms that they are developing "vehicles of storytelling". Tyson affirmed that defining elements of the original series such as the Spaceship of the Imagination and the Cosmic Calendar with improved special effects, as well as new elements, would be present. Animation for these sequences were created by a team hand-picked by MacFarlane for the series. Kara Vallow developed and produced the animation, and the animation studio used was Six Point Harness in Los Angeles, California. The updated Spaceship was designed to "remain timeless and very simple", according to MacFarlane, using the ceiling to project future events and the floor for those in the past as to allow Tyson, as the host, to "take [the viewer] to the places that he’s talking about".
In August 2011, the show was officially announced for primetime broadcast, to be broadcast in the spring of 2014. The show is a co-production of Druyan's Cosmos Studios, MacFarlane's Fuzzy Door Productions, and National Geographic Channel; Druyan, MacFarlane, Cosmos Studios' Mitchell Cannold, and director Brannon Braga are the executive producers. Fox's Reilly considered that the show would be a risk and outside the network's typical programming, but that "we believe this can have the same massive cultural impact that the original series delivered," and committed the network's resources to the show. The show would first be broadcast on Fox, re-airing the same night on the National Geographic Channel. In Canada, the show will be broadcast simultaneously on Global, National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo Wild. A preview of the show's first episode was aired for student filmmakers at the White House Student Film Festival on February 28, 2014. It was the first documentary series to be brodcasted on major networks.
|1||"Standing Up in the Milky Way"||March 9, 2014|
|Famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson takes a tour of the Solar System and the known universe before sharing the birth of Renaissance Italian Giordano Bruno's vision of the universe as a limitless expanse of space and time. He then makes an exploration into the Cosmic Calendar, which dates back to the dawn of the Big Bang. The episode ends with deGrasse Tyson narrating how he met his mentor Carl Sagan, who hosted the first Cosmos series.
The episode included a brief introduction recorded by United States President Barack Obama to describe the "spirit of discovery" that the series aspires to give to its viewers.
|2||"Some of the Things That Molecules Do"||March 16, 2014|
|3||"When Knowledge Conquered Fear"||March 23, 2014|
|4||"A Sky Full of Ghosts"||March 30, 2014|
|5||"Hiding in the Light"||TBD|
|6||"Deeper, Deeper, Deeper Still"||TBD|
|7||"The Clean Room"||TBD|
|8||"Sisters of the Sun"||TBD|
|9||"The Electric Boy"||TBD|
|10||"The Lost Worlds of Planet Earth"||TBD|
|12||"The World Set Free"||TBD|
|13||"Unafraid of the Dark"||TBD|
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- McNally, Victoria. "Learn More About the Awesome Animation Sequences in Cosmos From Producer Kara Vallow". geekosystem.com. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
- Bierly, Mandi (March 8, 2014). "Seth MacFarlane explains the new ship on 'Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
- Rose, Lacey (August 5, 2011). "Fox Orders Seth MacFarlane's 'Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey'". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
- "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey". Shaw Media. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
- Coleman, Miriam (8 March 2014). "President Obama to Introduce 'Cosmos' Premiere". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
- Hibbard, James (March 8, 2014). "Obama to introduce Fox's 'Cosmos'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
- Official Fox website
- Official National Geographic website
- Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Official Fox Trailer
- Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey at the Internet Movie Database