Cosmos: Far Out, Man

by Ethan Alter March 10, 2014 6:00 am
<i>Cosmos</i>: Far Out, Man

Back in 1980, the only thing Cosmos needed to ignite the imaginations of a generation of youngsters was scientist/showman Carl Sagan standing front and center in the frame explaining the vast mysteries of our world and the universe that lies beyond. It's a sign of how much we've devolved as a viewing public -- or more charitably, the lack of faith network executives have in us -- that the new Cosmos, now sporting the grandiose subtitle A Spacetime Odyssey instead of the more modest A Personal Voyage, can't simply turn the camera on new host and Sagan's heir apparent, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and let him geek out about the awesomeness of outer space and stuff. Instead, the series surrounds him with feature-film level special effects, animated recreations of major historical events and a prime Sunday night berth on Fox that follows the youth-oriented double bill of The Simpsons and Family Guy, the long-running cartoon blockbuster from Cosmos's exec producer, Seth MacFarlane, apparently looking to upend his public image as a smug, intellectually-challenged playboy who sang about boobs on the Oscars.

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