Every year, thousands of people descend upon Austin, Texas for South by Southwest, the 9-day multimedia extravaganza where the only limits are imagination and the human body’s stamina. The film festival recently announced the opening night slate, and the most surprising of the seven entries is Fox’s upcoming science series COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey, which will debut along with Jon Favreau’s star-studded comedic drama Chef and Rob Thomas’ long-awaited Veronica Mars feature. Rubbing shoulders with such potentially esteemed films means COSMOS will help keep Austin smart as well as weird.
The new show is of course an updated edition of the classic Carl Sagan series, and was developed by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane. The public face of the program is world renowned astrophysicist and socially approachable genius Neil deGrasse Tyson, who will also give a keynote speech on Saturday, March 8, as part of the Interactive portion of the festival. THe announcement doesn’t provide any specifics on the topic of the day, and only says that deGrasse Tyson will “enlighten and inspire with unique insights regarding the Universe that surrounds us.”
In reality, he could talk about what fruits he likes to mix with his morning yogurt and we’d sit there engrossed. This is a solid signing for SXSW, who will also see keynote speeches from Mythbusters‘ Adam Savage, artist and writer Austin Kleon, and biologist and Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s wife Anne Wojcicki.
Oddly enough, COSMOS isn’t even the only non-narrative science/sci-fi feature making its debut on opening night. Offbeat documentarian Alexandre O. Philippe (The People vs. George Lucas) will premiere his Doc of the Dead, which both chronicles in depth the massive uprising of zombie culture, and also posits the reality behind a potential zombie outbreak.
COSMOS, which will being airing on March 9 on both Fox and NatGeo, is a 13-part miniseries that utilizes both the Spaceship of the Imagination and other vehicles of wisdom to bring to the population a deeper look at things the original couldn’t have shown us. Tyson was by far the best person to take over for this spiritual sequel, as he was mentored by Sagan himself, and is excellent at presenting concepts in ways that are universally understandable.
Even if you’ve seen them before, it’s completely worth the four minutes it takes to make an awesome sandwich to eat while you take four minutes to watch these promos.