Cosmos was one of the landmarks of modern science.
I’m not sure that’s an over-statement. Education, and enthusing and inspiring the public about the subject, has to count as a significant part of what modern science is.
In 1980, over the course of thirteen hour-long episodes, Carl Sagan brought numerous areas of science to life, introduced many wonderful and exciting concepts, and infused every moment with his passion and curiosity and delight at the pleasure of learning about the universe.
I can’t think of anyone of any note in the skeptical community who hasn’t either spoken with deep fondness of the impact that Cosmos (and Sagan generally) had on them growing up, or of the excitement of discovering it more recently, in the case of those who weren’t around to see it the first time. (I’m still working my way sporadically through the DVD box set.)
It’s such a beautiful project. Sagan died in 1996, and Cosmos was perhaps the most prominent part of his legacy.
More than thirty years later, we’re finally getting a sequel.
Another thirteen parts, entitled Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey.
The creative team behind this fantastically ambitious project include: the original series’s co-creators, Steven Soter and Ann Druyan (the latter also being Carl Sagan’s widow); Seth MacFarlane – or, to give him his full title according to most reports about this, “Seth MacFarlane yes really that Seth MacFarlane”; and Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Tyson is intelligent, engaging, and loves what he talks about. I cannot think of anyone more appropriate to step into Sagan’s colossal, if metaphorical, shoes. Possibly Phil Plait. But Tyson’s a fantastic choice.
It’ll be a couple of years before this turns up on TV, but I’m going to be optimistic that it’s worth waiting for.