Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

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Cosmos:
A Spacetime Odyssey
Cosmos spacetime odyssey titlecard.jpg
GenreScience documentary
Created byAnn Druyan
Steven Soter
Directed byBrannon Braga
Presented byNeil deGrasse Tyson
Composer(s)Alan Silvestri
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13
Production
Executive producer(s)
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)Cosmos Studios
National Geographic Channel
Fuzzy Door Productions
Broadcast
Original channelFox
National Geographic Channel
Original runMarch 9, 2014 (2014-03-09) – present
Chronology
Preceded byCosmos: A Personal Voyage
 
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Cosmos:
A Spacetime Odyssey
Cosmos spacetime odyssey titlecard.jpg
GenreScience documentary
Created byAnn Druyan
Steven Soter
Directed byBrannon Braga
Presented byNeil deGrasse Tyson
Composer(s)Alan Silvestri
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13
Production
Executive producer(s)
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)Cosmos Studios
National Geographic Channel
Fuzzy Door Productions
Broadcast
Original channelFox
National Geographic Channel
Original runMarch 9, 2014 (2014-03-09) – present
Chronology
Preceded byCosmos: A Personal Voyage

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is an American science documentary television series.[1] It is presented by Neil deGrasse Tyson and is a follow-up to the 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which was presented by Carl Sagan. The executive producers are Seth MacFarlane and Ann Druyan, Sagan's widow.[2][3] The series premiered on March 9, 2014,[4] simultaneously in the US across ten 21st Century Fox networks. The remainder of the series will air on Fox, with the National Geographic Channel rebroadcasting the episodes the next night with extra content[5]. The score for Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey was written by Alan Silvestri.[6]

Background[edit]

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".[7] The show has been watched by at least 400 million people across 60 different countries,[7] and until the 1990 documentary The Civil War, remained the network's highest rated program.[8]

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.[7]

Development[edit]

Animator Seth MacFarlane was instrumental in obtaining network funding for Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, and also serves as executive producer.

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.[9] 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".[9] 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."[10] MacFarlane had considered the reduction of effort for space travel in recent decades to be part of "our culture of lethargy".[7] 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.[7] 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".[7] 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".[7] 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.[9]

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".[11] 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."[12] 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.”[13] 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".[10]

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".[11] 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 was created by a team hand-picked by MacFarlane for the series.[10] Kara Vallow developed and produced the animation, and the animation studio used was Six Point Harness in Los Angeles, California.[14] 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".[15]

Broadcast[edit]

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts and narrates the show.

In August 2011, the show was officially announced for primetime 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.[2] 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.[2] The show would first be broadcast on Fox, re-airing the same night on the National Geographic Channel.[2] In Canada, the show was broadcast simultaneously on Global, National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo Wild.[16] A preview of the show's first episode was aired for student filmmakers at the White House Student Film Festival on February 28, 2014.[17]

Cosmos premiered on simultaneously in the US across ten Fox networks: Fox, FX, FXX, FXM, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo Mundo, 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.[18] It was the first documentary series to be broadcast on commercial networks.[citation needed]

International premieres[edit]

CountryDateChannels
 United StatesMarch 9, 9PMFox, National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Mundo, FX, FXX, FXM, Fox Life, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2
 CanadaMarch 9, 9PMGlobal, Fox, Nat Geo, Nat Geo Wild
 RussiaMarch 10, 8PMFox, Fox Life, Nat Geo, Nat Geo Wild
 UkraineMarch 10, 8PMNat Geo, Nat Geo Wild, FX
 GermanyMarch 10, 8:15Fox, Nat Geo, Nat Geo Wild, Fox Channel
 TurkeyMarch 10, 10PMFox, Nat Geo, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo People, Fox Life, Fox Crime
 PortugalMarch 10, 11PMFox, Nat Geo, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Adventure, FX, FOX Life, FOX Crime
 SpainMarch 10, 11PMFox, Fox Crime, Nat Geo, Nat Geo Wild, Viajar[19]
 MexicoMarch 11, 10PMNat Geo
 TaiwanMarch 15, 10PMFox, Nat Geo
 PhilippinesMarch 12, 10PMFox, Nat Geo
 United Arab EmiratesMarch 12, 8PMNational Geographic Abu Dhabi
 BrazilMarch 13, 10:30PMFox, Nat Geo, Nat Geo Wild, FX, Fox Life, Fox Sports 2
 IndonesiaMarch 15, 9PMNat Geo
 Hong KongMarch 15, 10PMNat Geo, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo People
 South KoreaMarch 15, 11PMNat Geo
 United KingdomMarch 16, 7PMFox, Sky1, Nat Geo, Nat Geo Wild
 South AfricaMarch 16, 7:10Fox (1st episode only), Nat Geo, Nat Geo Wild (11PM)
 AustraliaMarch 16, 7:30Nat Geo, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo People, FX, FX2
 IndiaMarch 16, 8PMNat Geo, Fox Traveller
 Sri LankaMarch 16, 8PMNat Geo, Fox Traveller
 JapanMarch 16, 8PMNat Geo, Nat Geo Wild, Fox, Fox Movies, Fox Crime
 France,March 16, 8:40PMNat Geo, Nat Geo Wild
 ItalyMarch 16, 8:55PMNat Geo Wild, Nat Geo People, Fox (1st episode only), Nat Geo
 GreeceMarch 16, 9PMNat Geo, Nat Geo HD, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Wild HD, FOX, FOX Life
 CyprusMarch 16, 9PMNat Geo, Nat Geo HD, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Wild HD, FOX, FOX Life
 FinlandMarch 16, 9:50PMFox (1st episode only), Nat Geo
 BelgiumMarch 16, 10PMNat Geo, Nat Geo Wild
 Czech RepublicMarch 16, 10PMNat Geo, Nat Geo Wild
 DenmarkMarch 16, 10PMNat Geo, Nat Geo Wild, FX
 HungaryMarch 16, 10PMNat Geo, Nat Geo Wild
 NetherlandsMarch 16, 10PMNat Geo, Nat Geo Wild, Fox Life
 NorwayMarch 16, 10PMFox, Nat Geo, Nat Geo Wild
 PolandMarch 16, 10PMFox, Nat Geo, Nat Geo Wild
 SwedenMarch 16, 10PMNat Geo, Nat Geo Wild, FX[20]

Episodes[edit]

No.TitleAir Date
1"Standing Up in the Milky Way"March 9, 2014 (2014-03-09)

The show begins with 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.[21][22]

Next famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson takes a tour of the Solar System with a 'Ship of the Imagination', going through the known universe, and establishing the components of Earth's "address" within the Virgo Supercluster. He then shares the story of the person who championed an expansive understanding of Earth's place in the universe by presenting 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 (similar to the presentation from episode 1 of the original series). The episode ends with deGrasse Tyson narrating how he met his mentor Carl Sagan, who hosted the first Cosmos series. 
2"Some of the Things That Molecules Do"[23]March 16, 2014 (2014-03-16)
The story begins with Neil sitting at a camp fire, and telling how the Wolf changed through artificial selection, and selective breeding into the Dog breeds around today. He then enters the Ship of Imagination, and explains natural selection with the process that helped to create the Polar bears. Along the way he talks about DNA, Genes and Mutation. Next he goes to a forest and describes the Tree of life, this leads him to discussing the Evolution of the Eye. He then discusses Extinction, by going to a monument called the Halls of Extinction, dedicated to the broken branches of the tree of life. Explaining the five great Extinction events. He then tells how some life has survived, and then focuses on the Tardigrade. From there he talks about what other kinds of life might have been created on other worlds. He then goes to Saturn's moon Titan. From there he speculates about life and how it first began. He then returns to Earth and tells about Abiogenesis and how life changed and evolved. The show ends with an animated sequence from the original series of life's evolution from one cell to humans. 
3"When Knowledge Conquered Fear"[24]March 23, 2014 (2014-03-23)
4"A Sky Full of Ghosts"[25]March 30, 2014 (2014-03-30)
5"Hiding in the Light"[26]April 6, 2014 (2014-04-06)
6"Deeper, Deeper, Deeper Still"[27]April 13, 2014 (2014-04-13)
7"The Clean Room"[28]April 20, 2014 (2014-04-20)
8"Sisters of the Sun"[29]April 27, 2014 (2014-04-27)
9"The Electric Boy"[30]May 4, 2014 (2014-05-04)
10"The Lost Worlds of Planet Earth"[31]May 11, 2014 (2014-05-11)
11"The Immortals"[32]May 18, 2014 (2014-05-18)
12"The World Set Free"[33]May 25, 2014 (2014-05-25)
13"Unafraid of the Dark"[34]June 2, 2014 (2014-06-02)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Overbye, Dennis (March 4, 2014). "A Successor to Sagan Reboots ‘Cosmos’". New York Times. Retrieved March 4, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d Rose, Lacey (August 5, 2011). "Fox Orders Seth MacFarlane's 'Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey'". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 28, 2012. 
  3. ^ Sellers, John. "Seth MacFarlane to Produce Sequel to Carl Sagan's 'Cosmos'". Reuters. Retrieved October 29, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Library of Congress Officially Opens The Seth MacFarlane Collection of Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan Archive". News from the Library of Congress. Retrieved November 12, 2013. 
  5. ^ "‘Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey’ Premiere: Air Date, Time, TV Channel, Live Stream". Retrieved March 16, 2014. 
  6. ^ Seth MacFarlane tweet at Twitter
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Itzkoff, Dave (August 5, 2011). "‘Family Guy’ Creator Part of ‘Cosmos’ Update". The New York Times. Retrieved June 28, 2012. 
  8. ^ Blake, Meredith (May 13, 2013). "2013 Upfronts: Fox, Seth MacFarlane to reboot Carl Sagan's 'Cosmos'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c "Science geek Seth MacFarlane donates to Carl Sagan’s notes collection". Washington Post. November 12, 2013. Retrieved March 6, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c Shear, Lynn (January 11, 2014). "Neil deGrasse Tyson: Cosmos’s Master of the Universe". Parade. Retrieved January 11, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b "Neil deGrasse Tyson — Space Chronicles". Center for Inquiry. Retrieved August 26, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Ankylosaur of the Cosmos". Skepticality. Retrieved 26 August 2012. 
  13. ^ "Big Picture Science – Seth’s Cabinet of Wonders". SETI. Retrieved 26 August 2012. 
  14. ^ McNally, Victoria. "Learn More About the Awesome Animation Sequences in Cosmos From Producer Kara Vallow". geekosystem.com. Retrieved 6 March 2014. 
  15. ^ Bierly, Mandi (March 8, 2014). "Seth MacFarlane explains the new ship on 'Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 8, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey". Shaw Media. Retrieved 9 March 2014. 
  17. ^ Coleman, Miriam (8 March 2014). "President Obama to Introduce 'Cosmos' Premiere". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 9 March 2014. 
  18. ^ Fox Networks Group Announces First-Ever Simultaneous Cross-Network Global Premiere Event For "COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY" On Sunday, March 9
  19. ^ http://www.elcorreo.com/vizcaya/20140310/television/obama-presenta-nuevo-cosmos-201403101334.html
  20. ^ http://www.reddit.com/r/Cosmos/comments/1zg9tl/cosmos_a_spacetime_odyssey_episode_guide_info_on/
  21. ^ Hibbard, James (March 8, 2014). "Obama to introduce Fox's 'Cosmos'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 9, 2014. 
  22. ^ President Obama's Intro to Cosmos, 2014
  23. ^ "(C-102) Some of the Things That Molecules Do". The Futon Critic. Retrieved March 10, 2014. 
  24. ^ "(C-103) When Knowledge Conquered Fear". The Futon Critic. Retrieved March 10, 2014. 
  25. ^ "(C-105) A Sky Full of Ghosts". The Futon Critic. Retrieved March 11, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey: Hiding In The Light". National Geographic Channel. Retrieved March 13, 2014. 
  27. ^ "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey: Deeper, Deeper, Deeper Still". National Geographic Channel. Retrieved March 13, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey: The Clean Room". National Geographic Channel. Retrieved March 13, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey: Sisters of the Sun". National Geographic Channel. Retrieved March 13, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey: The Electric Boy". National Geographic Channel. Retrieved March 13, 2014. 
  31. ^ "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey: The Lost Worlds of Planet Earth". National Geographic Channel. Retrieved March 13, 2014. 
  32. ^ "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey: The Immortals". National Geographic Channel. Retrieved March 13, 2014. 
  33. ^ "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey: The World Set Free". National Geographic Channel. Retrieved March 13, 2014. 
  34. ^ "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey: Unafraid of the Dark". National Geographic Channel. Retrieved March 13, 2014. 

External links[edit]