Where were you when the first the documentary by Carl Sagan, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, aired? It was September 1980. I had just been welcomed into my parents’ dear arms, so I missed it. That’s why I’m glad that I was able to catch a reboot of sorts, “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey,” at the Adler Planetarium this week. Chicagoans from far and wide came for the chance to see the new series hosted by astrophysicist, and general science buff, Neil deGrasse Tyson.
It premiered in 10 locations across the country, and those of us who were lucky enough to see it sat in complete awe. I took my family, and no one said anything from the moment the series started until the last credits rolled. That’s saying a lot.
I will say that Dr. Tyson has a great way of breaking down the scientific so that laymen can completely understand what’s going on on the screen. From giving us a tangible way to think about the formation of the world using a current 365-day calendar, to counting off seconds and letting us know that thousands of years’ worth of history occurred.
The cinematography was phenomenal. The ability to literally create on screen what many of us have so long imagined went on in creating the world, and lots of what we couldn’t EVEN imagine. It’ssimultaneouslyartistic and mind blowing.
I was definitely surprised to see the executive producers included Seth MacFarlane of Family Guy fame; the Fox representative said it caused a head snap when it was first brought up. I do have to admit that if you have watched any of his TV shows, he does have a bit of a thirst for things in science, crassness aside. It was great to see his childlike wonder explode on screen during the live Q&A that immediately followed the screening.
I would definitely say that no matter where you stand on the side of how our universe came to be, Cosmos can definitely add more substance for conversation. It certainly did for my teenaged son and me on our short drive back home. Lots of questions I couldn’t answer, which means that we’ll be doing some research as long as he’s interested.
Tune in 8 p.m., Sunday, March 9for the television premiere of “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.” The first episode will air on Fox, FX, FXX, FXM, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, Nat Geo, Nat Geo Wild, and Fox Life. Only Fox and Nat Geo will air episodes 2 through 13.
If you’re really hankering for more explanation, Adler Planetarium will host a chat group during the show’s 13-week run each Monday (10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.) about the Cosmos. Resources will be available to answer any questions that you may have. It also will be producing a series of short podcasts related to the show that will also explore the Adler’s one-of-a-kind collection of astronomy artifacts.
Now, for the important question, do you think that we’re all alone?