Last Friday night, I was at a bar and a woman I’d never met before joined our group. A little while later, I heard her referring to someone named Seth, but I didn’t pay much attention — until it became clear that she was talking about Seth MacFarlane. And not just talking about him, but referring to him as though they were friends. I waited until the next semi-polite break in conversation and then clarified that she was indeed talking about THE Seth MacFarlane, which she was — apparently she’s been working for him for three years doing script supervising (not that I knew script supervisor was an actual job title). I asked her if she by any chance had done any work on the new Cosmos, and she pulled up a picture on her phone of her and Neil deGrasse Tyson looking all chummy. “When does the show premiere?” I asked her, given that Fox had been pretty vague about its pilot date. “I’ll find out,” she said, and promptly started texting someone. I thought she was kidding. She wasn’t. “March 9,” she announced a minute later. Now, Fox has confirmed that, indeed, March 9 is the start date, and they’ve released a new trailer (see above — the original trailer is below) for the show. Between this conversation and the new trailer, I’m more excited than ever to see the new series. I hope everyone else is too.
I thought the new show would be a reboot, covering and updating the episodes Carl Sagan filmed back in the early ’80s, but apparently not. According to my new friend, Carl Sagan had a dozen more Cosmos scripts that never got made, and these became the basis for the 13 episodes of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey that will start airing on Fox in March. And indeed, the new trailer refers to the show as a continuation of Sagan’s “visionary journey,” rather than an updated rehash. Does that mean there won’t be an episode focusing on, say, Mars? If there is, you can bet Tyson will work a different angle, given the information we’ve gleaned about the Red Planet in the last 35 years.
The new trailer gives us another glimpse of the stylized science presented in the first trailer. The most immediately noticeable difference from Sagan’s is the cinematography — while the old Cosmos had some pretty awesome clips and images, technology has advanced considerably since then. The new show looks astounding, and has a slickness the old one didn’t. I suppose that makes sense, given Tyson’s slickness compared to Sagan’s. I just hope the new show maintains the sense of wonder that Sagan brought to the old show. But from everything I know about Tyson, I’m not too worried about that. Enthusiasm for space oozes from his pores. My bar friend mentioned a Cosmos party held at, I believe, some land MacFarlane owns in the Southwest where the sunsets are magical and the views of the sky are unimpeded. That’s where she took the picture with Tyson, and she said they all milled about, drinking, talking, and looking up. Nothing on Earth sounds better than that to me. Cosmos seems poised to deliver my Christmas wish.