By Joshua Burton
The nerd TV event of the decade is happening and you may not even know it. No, we’re not talking about some Big Bang Theory episode, we’re talking the new Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. Imagine a science fiction show – without the fiction. It’s a 13-part documentary on, well, everything. This show is both a legacy of science and a monument of classic entertainment and was made possible by a dead scientist and a talking dog. Intrigued? Read on.
Seth MacFarlane (you may know him as Brian from Family Guy, which he also created) teamed up with astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson to make a documentary about everything that ever is, was or will be. Cosmos is as much a documentary about the history and composition of the universe as it is a history and composition of our modern scientific method.
The show follows Tyson as he shoots around in his “Ship of the Imagination,” a CGI-rendered spacecraft that serves as his seat of narration for the duration of the show. Cosmos delves into popular topics like black holes and time travel as well as hot-button issues like evolution and the existence of life on other planets.
Tyson steps into a role left open by acclaimed physicist Carl Sagan, who wrote a book called Cosmos that was later adapted into the original TV series that “A Space-Time Odyssey” is based on. The 1980 “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage” was a huge hit, and sparked renewed interest in science and technology that had been running dry on social excitement since the early days of the Cold War. A Personal Voyage inspired many of the notable scientists who are at the forefront of many scientific branches today.
As narrator, Tyson uses the skills he has been developing for decades as not only a physicist, but an educator to bring the big questions of modern knowledge to the everyman. There are few well-known educators who try to educate average people on the wonders of scientific inquiry. Bill Nye (often known as “The Science Guy”) is another one of these huge names in education who knows how to explain the big subjects in easy-to-digest terms. Tyson does this with all the excitement – and often dramatic gravity – as any ideal professor would.
For a peek at the show, check out the epic trailer and it just might reignite some of that childhood wonder so many of us have lost over the years. Cosmos looks a lot like a space epic, as it shoots us into the depths of the universe and beyond. The magic happens as Tyson shows us the alien landscapes of our own planet, hidden secrets within our own genetics, and the dizzying perspective of our own place in the universe that is both humbling – and surprisingly human.
Check out Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey in your TV bookmarks and start adding your favorite science sites today. It will premiere on FOX and then move on to National Geographic after that. There’s a whole universe in your computer to map – go ahead and get started!