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08-11-2011, 04:08 PM #1
A new 'Cosmos' tol be on TV starring Neil deGrasse Tyson, produced by Seth Macfarlane
Super excited about this one! Neil deGrasse Tyson is the man. NdGT is one of the only people I follow on Twitter. Why? Because of his awesome statements like this, "Simple Logic: Worried that FOX viewers don't know, think, or care about science? That's why COSMOS belongs on FOX."
Astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson will be the host for the new "Cosmos" series.
By Alan Boyle
Three decades after Carl Sagan's original "Cosmos," a new version is heading for the Fox TV network in 2013 ... with some fresh surprises in the mix.
One of the biggest surprises apparently has to do with the guy who helped get the series green-lighted by Fox: Seth MacFarlane, the creator of "Family Guy," a Fox cartoon sitcom that The New York Times calls, ahem, "bawdy and irreverent." But it shouldn't be all that surprising. "Family Guy" has been known to poke fun at scientists as well as the scientifically challenged, and because he was born in 1973, MacFarlane was at the perfect age to start drinking in Sagan's wisdom when the original "Cosmos" appeared in 1980.
The astrophysicist following in Sagan's footsteps for the new 13-episode series will be Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is director of New York's Hayden Planetarium as well as a seasoned author and TV host. Tyson said he and MacFarlane discussed the idea of re-energizing "Cosmos" as a follow-up to a Science and Entertainment Exchange session they both attended.
"It was his vision that any 'Cosmos' that's done today needs to reach the kinds of people who wouldn't otherwise think about science," Tyson told me. "Fox is not exactly known for its science shows. You put a science program on Fox, people will sit up and take notice."
Tyson put MacFarlane in touch with Ann Druyan, Sagan's widow and co-founder of Cosmos Studios, who will serve as an executive producer and writer for the new series.
Druyan recounted how MacFarlane made a strong pitch for the concept with Fox executives. "He said that if he personally had to pay half of the cost of the pilot out of his own pocket, he would do it," Druyan told me. But it didn't have to come to that. Once Fox Broadcasting chairman Peter Rice started watching Sagan's recorded "Cosmos" shows with his family, he was hooked.
Now Druyan and astrophysicist Steven Soter are hard at work, writing the scripts for the new series. Both of them also worked with Sagan on the original "Cosmos."
"Steve and I have been thinking about this and working on this for many years," Druyan said. "This will be completely original, but it will be 'Cosmos.' ... We know 'Cosmos' when we see it, and this is 'Cosmos.'"
The original series delved into the nature of life (earthly and extraterrestrial), the universe and everything, all from the perspective of Sagan's "personal voyage" of scientific discovery. If you haven't seen it, you simply have to check out "Cosmos" on Hulu.
Thirty-three years after "Cosmos" came out, the book based on the series is still No. 1 on Amazon's astronomy best-seller list. Dryuan said she's "so proud and so happy" to hear that the original "Cosmos" is so revered, and that the new "Cosmos" is so anxiously anticipated.
"I think there's been a real hunger in our society of late for getting back to a time when the revelations of science can command attention on prime-time television," she said.
'Cosmos'-ness meets Neilness
Druyan was reluctant to reveal any of the new twists that she and Soder might work into the new scripts. "We want to save a lot of surprises," she said. But she assured me that Tyson would be much more than a Sagan clone.
"We picked Neil for his 'Neilness,' and we wouldn't dream of making him impersonate Carl," she said. "We picked him because he has that same kind of charismatic passion to communicate the wonders revealed by science. But we are writing this for him, in his voice. You'll be feeling the 'Cosmos'-ness of it, but I know Neil will be bringing what is so special about him to this presentation."
Astrophysicist Carl Sagan (1934-1996) was the host of the first "Cosmos" series, which premiered in 1980.
The 52-year-old Tyson, who is seven years older than Sagan was when the first "Cosmos" premiered, voiced a similar sentiment.
"I cannot be Carl Sagan. I can only be myself," he told me. "But we both, from a very early age, were looking up and wondering about the universe. ... To the extent that we overlap, it's not that I'm cueing off Carl Sagan, it's that we're both cueing off a common experience that every astrophysicist has."
Tyson said one of the secrets of Sagan's success was his ability to play the role of a "tour guide" to the cosmos, rather than a teacher at the front of a classroom.
"What people remember the most about 'Cosmos,' and what it did best, and what I don't think has been duplicated, is the effort to convey the meaning of science to a citizen of planet Earth," Tyson said. "'Cosmos' brought science to the public in a way that meant something to their relationship to each other, to the world and to the universe."
Tyson said some of the tools that Sagan brought to the task will return in updated form for the new "Cosmos." For example, Sagan illustrated the long sweep of the universe's 13.7 billion-year existence by condensing it into a 12-month "Cosmic Calendar." If the universe began on Jan. 1, our solar system was formed on Sept. 1, life arose on Earth on Sept. 21 — and the human species made its appearance after 10 p.m. on the last day of the year.
"We have other stories to tell, to place on that calendar," Tyson said. And he can hardly wait to tell them.
"This new 'Cosmos' is overdue, and I'm honored to be a part of that," Tyson said.
08-12-2011, 03:04 PM #2
To properly present Cosmos, Tyson must repeatedly say "billions and billions". Sagan would be proud.
08-13-2011, 03:17 PM #3
Billions and billions
Sagan with a model of the Viking Lander probes which would land on Mars. Sagan examined possible landing sites for Viking along with Mike Carr and Hal Masursky.
From Cosmos and his frequent appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Sagan became associated with the catchphrase "billions and billions". Sagan stated that he never actually used the phrase in the Cosmos series. The closest that he ever came was in the book Cosmos, where he talked of "billions upon billions":
A galaxy is composed of gas and dust and stars — billions upon billions of stars.
—Carl Sagan, Cosmos, chapter 1, page 3
However, his frequent use of the word billions, and distinctive delivery emphasizing the "b" (which he did intentionally, in place of more cumbersome alternatives such as "billions with a 'b'", in order to distinguish the word from "millions" in viewers' minds), made him a favorite target of comic performers, including Johnny Carson, Gary Kroeger, Mike Myers, Bronson Pinchot, Penn Jillette, Harry Shearer, and others. Frank Zappa satirized the line in the song "Be In My Video", noting as well "atomic light". Sagan took this all in good humor, and his final book was entitled Billions and Billions which opened with a tongue-in-cheek discussion of this catchphrase, observing that Carson himself was an amateur astronomer and that Carson's comic caricature often included real science.
The popular perception of his characterization of large cosmic quantities continued to be a sense of wonderment at the vastness of space and time, as in his phrase "The total number of stars in the Universe is larger than all the grains of sand on all the beaches of the planet Earth". However, this famous saying was widely misunderstood, as he was in fact referring to the world being at a "critical branch point in history" as in the following quote from Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, Episode 8: "Journeys in Space and Time":
"Those worlds in space are as countless as all the grains of sand on all the beaches of the earth. Each of those worlds is as real as ours and every one of them is a succession of incidents, events, occurrences which influence its future. Countless worlds, numberless moments, an immensity of space and time. And our small planet at this moment, here we face a critical branch point in history: what we do with our world, right now, will propagate down through the centuries and powerfully affect the destiny of our descendants. It is well within our power to destroy our civilization and perhaps our species as well."
08-21-2011, 07:34 PM #4Mr. Old Lady
- Join Date
- Nov 2002
- A Luxurious Ghetto Trapped Between Times
Awesome. Watching the original Cosmos series is like waking up for the first time. Even if you already know 99% of what he talks about... the way he brings the info to you is art or poetry. To tell each of us that we're made up of stars. I really hope humanity can embrace this stuff and start investing more towards science, discovery, space, medicine, etc... things that push our entire species ahead rather than all the little trivial distractions (TV, fashion, celebrities, etc...) or the battles we get caught up in. Imagine if we spent all the manpower and money we spend on wars on space or medical programs. After watching the series I thought the most important thing one can do with their life is to dedicate it to studying something new and giving that knowledge back to humanity. Even if all of your life is merely a small stepping stone in a given field. Time is so long and our lives so short.
08-21-2011, 07:40 PM #5
i'd watch it. maybe even smoke a joint in homage.
hard to beat mindblowing shit like that though:
Last edited by f2f; 08-21-2011 at 07:53 PM.
08-21-2011, 08:21 PM #6What can brown do for u?
- Join Date
- Jun 2006
- London, UK
Loved the original Cosmos, looking forward to the new one.
And ^ that video made me think of this:
More here: http://www.symphonyofscience.com/Gallery
Go that way, really fast...if something gets in your way, TURN!