Cosmos: Carl Sagan’s visionary series returns [Review Part Two]

This is part two in my miniature review of the first episode of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey  which aired on March 9. This is a re-imagining of Carl Sagan’s original Cosmos which ran in 1980. If you have not already, read the first part of my overview here.

The CGI and Visuals

The American networks pushed the marketing for Cosmos for months. They had two versions of a teaser airing in the ad breaks of their 10 channels for what seemed like eons. The trailers were flashy; filled with what I presume to be the most elaborate computer-generated graphics that will appear in the show. This made me concerned that the actual series would be overloaded with CGI and not with actual footage showing the wonders of the universe as they appear in real life. Thankfully, the show found the perfect balance.

The space exploration sequence early in the first episode was FX heavy but this is to be expected. I foresee the spectacle to diminish throughout the season to remain in budget. It is a television show after all.

The Pacing and Tone

Yet again, I have only praise for the consistency of the first episode of Cosmos. The show quickly found its footing to deliver fascinating information, under the 40-minute prime time constraint, while still keeping viewers interested. I predict the series will have a very dynamic approach to topics much like A Personal Voyage, where the enthusiasm for scientific discovery is portrayed in order to appeal to people’s genuine curiosity for the universe around them.

Tyson 2009
Neil deGrasse Tyson: your personal astrophysicist (Credit: wikipedia/commons)

The Host

Some know him for his science activism, some for his work in cosmology. Many even know his face because of the popular internet meme. Whatever way you are aware of Neil deGrasse Tyson, he is the host for Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. And he is the perfect man for the job.

With Carl Sagan himself hosting the original series several decades ago, Tyson had big shoes to fill. Sagan maintained such presence on screen and his delivery of scientific concepts allowed people to connect with him while they learned.

Tyson does not compare to Sagan but that is the best thing about this change. He takes a very different approach to hosting his Cosmos. Instead of holding your hand through the journey (like Sagan), Tyson guides you though the episode and brings his own passion to the screen.

Neil deGrasse Tyson promoting Cosmos for National Geographic (Credit: wikipedia/commons_
Neil deGrasse Tyson promoting Cosmos for National Geographic (Credit: wikipedia/commons)

Overall, episode one of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey was a huge success. My standards were very high and I had a major worry the show would be a let down after the historic 80s series. Instead of breaking down by expectations, it blew them away (in the most positive method imaginable, of course). I expect many others to feel the same way I do about the reboot too. Buckle up, there is another twelve episodes to go. But this time it is more than a personal voyage, we are a part of this odyssey together.

This will be my last mention of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey for the time being. Once the series ends in three months time, I will do a series overview to round up my thoughts on the success of the show.  

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