It’s still only season one of FOX’s new show, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, but already, the show is off to quite an interesting and captivating start, even introducing some quite controversial subject matter. For those who have not tuned in yet, Cosmos is a new TV series that airs on Sunday nights on FOX at 9:00 p.m. and premiered at the beginning of March. The show is produced by Seth Macfarlane.
The show will have 13 episodes total in the season, and just aired episode eight this past Sunday. Cosmos is a follow-up to Carl Sagan’s highly acclaimed 1980 13-part series, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which took viewers on a journey through the universe, covering topics from the origin of our life and the lives of other living species to where we are in the universe and what surrounds us. The show was written and presented by Sagan, and won both a Peabody Award and an Emmy. A book was also written to go along with the Cosmos series. This initial series, first aired by PBS, was their most widely watched program until the early 1990s.
After Sagan’s death in 1996, Ann Druyan, his widow and the co-creator of the original Cosmos series, with help from other scientists Neil deGrasse Tyson (the host of the show) and Steven Soter, worked to create a follow-up Cosmos series. They hoped that their modifications to this new series would attract those who were interested in the history of the world and events transpiring within the universe, and not just those who were interested in science. They hoped, though, to keep the spirit of the original Cosmos series in this new one, similarly calling people to action with each episode’s plot line.
The creators of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey on FOX can only hope that it will be as successful as Sagan’s initial show, but it appears that it is already shaping up to be a success. The show promises to take viewers on a journey from the beginning of time to present day, and show them different stories of how things work, were formed, and stories of historical figures; even at some points introducing controversial subject matter. Two weeks ago, an episode on how lead was taken out of the environment told about how people now know that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, and explored but shoots down the possibility of the Earth being 6,000 years old. Cosmos also explored a fight that lasted decades between scientists, the government, and big corporations about the hazards of lead emissions in the environment. By telling the story of a scientist who stood up against corporations to defend his views on the dangers of lead emissions, the corporations looked greedy and selfish on the show, and Cosmos opened up a controversial topic; one that could potentially make big companies look bad.
Other topics that have been discussed on Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey by host Neil deGrasse Tyson, a world renowned astrophysicist, include molecules, light and gravity, the lives and deaths of stars. Viewers can only hope that the FOX show will introduce more intriguing, insightful, and controversial subject matter in the weeks to come.
Opinion By Laura Clark