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.
We love science here at GFR, and we love people who can inspire passion about science in others nearly as much. The late Carl Sagan was one of the very best people ever when it came to that latter feat, and his series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage inspired a sense of wonder about our marvelous universe in people of all ages. It’s been over 30 years since the series first aired, but now it’s rising from the ashes as Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey, set to air on Fox next year. Hoping to get the series some high-profile exposure, Fox premiered a 30-second teaser in the midst of the World Series last night. You can check it out above.
Just a quick note that you may want to watch this on the biggest screen you can, with the highest definition available. You won’t be disappointed.
There is only one thing wrong with the above trailer, and it pains me to say those words. It’s when Fox’s name shows up before the logo for the National Geographic Channel. It completely took me out of the clip, and even when NatGeo’s name did come up and restored a modicum of due respect for the project, it was over. These are just dumb words falling out of my mouth, currently agape because Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, just in its trailer alone, has already exceeded some of my expectations for this upcoming series, an ethereal sequel to Carl Sagan’s landmark universe-exploring PBS documentary series from 1980. In fact, my one mouth spawned its own separate mouth, Queen Alien style, and it is also hanging down past my chin.
We live in fascinating but troubling times when it comes to science. Each new month seems to bring more fantastical ways in which the science fiction of yesteryear is becoming the science reality of today. Unfortunately, those hopeful stories are constantly interspersed with tales of yahoos treating science, at best, like an elective they don’t want to participate in, and at worst, like a conspiracy designed solely to undermine their personal religious beliefs. Perhaps more than ever before, we need people like Bill Nye and Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. We need passionate defenders of science, people who can make the younger generation excited for and enthusiastic about science. We need…well, Cosmos.
The late Carl Sagan’s iconic 1980 series Cosmos did wonders instilling enthusiasm and wonder about space in a generation too young to have lived through the most productive years of the space race. Now Cosmos is finding new life, courtesy of two well-known figures, one you’d expect to be involved with a project like this (Neil DeGrasse Tyson) and one likely to make you do a double-take (Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane). Now Fox has announced that a new, 13-episode run of Cosmos will indeed hit the air sometime in 2014.
Word that MacFarlane was spearheading a new incarnation of Cosmos first broke in 2011, and there haven’t been any major updates in the time since. MacFarlane is serving as the program’s producer, along with astrophysicist Steven Soter and writer/producer Ann Druyan (who wrote the big-screen adaptation of Sagan’s Contact in the mid ‘90s). Tyson will serve as the show’s host, following in the footsteps of the late Sagan himself. Hopefully, if the series is a hit, we might get more episodes after the first 13 are aired.
There’s been a lot of talk recently about the desire to bring Star Trek back to television, with a new series. Though there are a couple of different plans in motion nothing is really concrete yet. One thing seems certain though: If CBS is going to bring Star Trek back, they need to do something different.
How about Seth MacFarlane?
When I say different I don’t mean juggling time periods or anything like that. I’m talking about a whole new attitude for the show. Something to make it really relevant again. The thing that made the original Star Trek great was the way in which it deftly tackled hot button political issues of the time with great science fiction stories. In Voyager and Enterprise, the franchise really got away from that. And in the movies, Star Trek has just become pure entertainment. That’s fine for the feature films, but if you’re going to do a television series… it’s time Trek mattered again.
Seth MacFarlane is exactly the kind of guy who could do that, and what’s more, he wants to do it.
In a recent interview with THR MacFarlane revealed that he’s kind of ready to be done with Family Guy, and once he’s done, he really wants to be in the Star Trek business. He says, “I don’t know who would give me the keys to that car… But I’d love to see that franchise revived for television in the way that it was in the 1990s: very thoughtful, smartly written stories that transcend the science fiction audience.”