Sun
Jul 21 2013 1:00pm

“You don’t get anywhere without science.” Watch the Cosmos Trailer

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Neil deGrasse Tyson San Diego Comic Con trailer

Fox has released a trailer for the new series of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, which will air as a 13-part mini-series beginning in the spring of 2014. Although we miss the Carl Sagan voiceover and that special 1980’s this-was-shot-on-video wubbly visual style, the trailer hosts some nice homages to Sagan’s original series.

The new series is executive produced by Ann Druyan, television producer and widow to Sagan, Brannon Braga (Star Trek: Voyager), and Seth MacFarlane (anything animated on Fox that isn’t The Simpsons or Bob’s Burgers). Our host in this updated series is astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, and both Tyson and Druyan are dogged in their pursuit to make scientific knowledge understandable and prolific among the populace. “You don’t get anywhere on this planet without science,” noted Druyan during the San Diego Comic Con panel.

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Neil deGrasse Tyson San Diego Comic Con trailer

No details have yet been released on the subjects that the episodes will cover, but the trailer suggests crash courses in quantum mechanics and physics, from the smallest particle to forces that shift the universe (and possibly beyond). There appears to be a healthy amount of the show devoted to the history of scientific discovery, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the show veers into biology, genetics, evolution, technology, and higher concepts.

The presentation looks very slick, too. Watch the trailer and keep an eye out for homages to Carl Sagan!

Whoa, wait a minute. Is that Space Jesus?

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Neil deGrasse Tyson San Diego Comic Con trailer Space Jesus


Stubby the Rocket is the mascot of Tor.com. Stubby thinks that the reason Jesus is with us always is because he can travel at faster-than-light speeds.

14 comments
Mike Conley
1. NomadUK
My initial reaction to the prospect of Fox producing science for television is to seriously consider adopting creationism.

The talent behind it certainly appears sound. I wonder, though, whether they will be permitted to express the same political viewpoints that Sagan did: his opposition to nuclear weapons, his belief in the basic unity of mankind, and his questioning of authority.

Science is all very nice when it leads to cool gadgets or pretty pictures from outer space, but when it makes people start thinking, one wonders just how far it will be allowed to go.
Bazbuzinkum
2. Bazbuzinkum
FOX? Damn, that's disappointing.a
And what the eff is with the Jesus?
Steven Cole
3. scole66
... And by 10pm edt, the video has been marked private.
Shelly wb
4. shellywb
I love how closed-minded people are about the series just because of the name of the network it's appearing on. Ironic, when the most important aspect of a scientist is open-mindedness to all possibilities.
Bazbuzinkum
5. Eric Saveau
shellywb, the reaction of many people to the network isn't closed-mindedness, it's an assessment based on history. That assessement could certainly turn out to be wrong, and that would be delightful if so, but such a turn would not make the initial assessment somehow unfounded.

Also, "Open-mindedness to all possibilities" is actually NOT the most important aspect of a scientist; rather, curiousity, diligence in observation and being meticulous about data are by far the most important aspects. A scientist is open to possibilities only insofar as the data presents them; a scientist who, say, remains open to the possibility of an invisible dragon toppling items in his garage when the presence of two children and a large dog is clearly a more parsimonious candidate would be a very poor scientist indeed.
Bazbuzinkum
6. (still) Steve Morrison
What an odd coincidence; the UNIX fortune program gave me a quote from Carl Sagan, and it is rather relevant to this thread:
Another writer again agreed with all my generalities, but said that as an inveterate skeptic I have closed my mind to the truth. Most notably I have ignored the evidence for an Earth that is six thousand years old. Well, I haven’t ignored it; I considered the purported evidence and then rejected it. There is a difference, and this is a difference, we might say, between prejudice and postjudice. Prejudice is making a judgment before you have looked at the facts. Postjudice is making a judgment afterwards. Prejudice is terrible, in the sense that you commit injustices and you make serious mistakes. Postjudice is not terrible. You can’t be perfect of course; you may make mistakes also. But it is permissible to make a judgment after you have examined the evidence. In some circles it is even encouraged.
—Carl Sagan, “The Burden of Skepticism”
Jenny Thrash
7. Sihaya
Druyan didn't really need to release a new COSMOS into the wild, certainly not under conditions she didn't approve of. Tyson's professional position is quite secure, too. They probably both could have turned down this project if they got even a whiff of something hinky. Between the two of them, I expect some fine work.
Bazbuzinkum
8. KF
@5, Eric Saveau:
"...the reaction of many people to the network isn't closed-mindedness, it's an assessment based on history. That assessement could certainly turn out to be wrong, and that would be delightful if so, but such a turn would not make the initial assessment somehow unfounded."
Is it not also worth remembering that this is the network that the very liberal Futurama ran on, for a while at least? And on which the very liberal Simpsons has run for nearly a quarter of a century?

If this new Cosmos series was being run by or broadcast as a part of Fox News, I'd agree with you completely. But it's not. And if Ann Druyan and Neil Degrasse Tyson weren't involved with this, again, I'd agree with you, but they are.

To apply the second part of your post to the first part of your post, you're ignoring a previously demonstrated possibility with regards to the network's programming (not the news network), and ignoring two very significant data points in Druyan and Tyson.

(I say all of this as a liberal who does not like Fox News.)

@7, Sihaya: Completely agree.

@2, Bazbuzinkum: That's more likely to be a scientist of some kind. I think we also see him being burned at the stake in the trailer.
Bazbuzinkum
9. Eric Saveau
@KF -
Is it not also worth remembering that this is the network that the very liberal Futurama ran on, for a while at least? And on which the very liberal Simpsons has run for nearly a quarter of a century?
Yes, it is. And also the same network that ran a "documentary" purporting to demonstrate that the moon landings were faked. The presence of a couple of cash cow shows that happen to be of a liberal bent do not negate the unfortunate anti-science bent that has been known to manifest on Fox and is even more pronounced on its sister networks.
If this new Cosmos series was being run by or broadcast as a part of Fox News, I'd agree with you completely. But it's not. And if Ann Druyan and Neil Degrasse Tyson weren't involved with this, again, I'd agree with you, but they are.
This would be a good point at which to back up and review the comments that brought us here. The first commenter expressed an "initial reaction" of skepticism regarding Fox producing a science show, then speculated regarding any constraints to the program's authorial voice while still sounding hopeful.

The second commenter expressed similar disappointment and wondered aloud at the religious iconography in the trailer.

Then shellywb smugly dismissed those two commenters as "closed-minded" merely for expressing an understandable concern and followed up her dismissal with a deeply foolish mischaracterization of the scientific enterprise.
To apply the second part of your post to the first part of your post, you're ignoring a previously demonstrated possibility with regards to the network's programming (not the news network), and ignoring two very significant data points in Druyan and Tyson.
In my response to shellywb I did not ignore the possibility that the program could be perfectly sound regardless of its backing by Fox, I merely addressed instead what was wrong with her dismissal of the first two commenters and with her mischaracterization of science. I am happy to go on record as being excited about the prospect of this new series, and of being huge fans of both Tyson and Druyan and their accomplishments. At the same time, I will go on record as saying the involvement of Fox gives me some pause. The latter statement of record does not negate the former, nor vice-versa. Neither reaction is an unreasonable one. Surely that is self-evident, yes?
Bazbuzinkum
10. KF
@9, Eric Saveau - Thanks for the clarification. I'm not sure I'd read shellwb's comment as smugness, though. And I think the concerns about Fox in relation to this series, that I've seen expressed at most of the places that have reported on the new trailer, are overblown. Seth MacFarlane's involvement gives me more reason to pause than that, and even there, I'm not concerned.

Tyson seems to be all for it being on Fox (according to an article over at io9) since it may let him reach a different audience .

Obviously, we'll see how the series turns out when it comes out.
Kara Harkins
11. kara_h
As to the network I would look to what they have done to past remakes and proposed ones more than what news station they are associated with. The less said about what they did to Doctor Who the better. When they were going to do Torchwood one of the changes they insisted on was that Jack be straight (which would fundamentally change his character). Hopefully Tyson & company keep tight reins on this as the video looks great (and, yes, some pretty obvious homages throughout). This could be what I am waiting for as I am one of those that bought the DVD set of it (which was not cheap for a single season).
Jenny Thrash
12. Sihaya
#10: Why does MacFarlane give you pause? From what I understand, MacFarlane is a skeptic and a big fan of Tyson. Is it more that you think the presentation will be flippant and sarcastic? I'm really not in the know, since I've only sporadically watched any of his work.
Bazbuzinkum
13. Josh L
You guys really think NdT would be involved if Fox is going to screw everything up?

Did I hear a few notes from that 28 Days Later theme in there?
Bazbuzinkum
14. Lezlie
Who did this great soundtrack?

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