Carl Sagan’s Cosmos is one of the finest television series ever produced. It’s certainly the finest moment in science television. To this, there is no debate. Even if one were to try and go to bat for Planet Earth, the appropriate response would be, “Surely, you must be kidding.”
The 13-part series, which aired in 1980, was written by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, and Steven Soter, with Sagan serving as the host. It was the most watched series in the history of public television until Ken Burn’s Civil War documentary hit in 1990. Still, Cosmos has been aired in 60 countries and been viewed by more than 500 million people since its debut.
Because it’s freaking amazing! Even with all of that said, the news of a sequel to Sagan’s Cosmos should be embraced with open arms. Especially because Ann Druyan and Steven Soter are now teaming up with Neil deGrasse Tyson (our generation’s Sagan, btw) to tackle a 13-part update, which includes the amazing scientific advances over the past 30 years.
According to Deadline, science nerds have none other than Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane to thank for the sequel. And it gets stranger. Not only is MacFarlane producing the series, but it’ll air on Fox in primetime. Let that sink in for a moment. Fox, which isn’t exactly known for its love of science is going to air a 13-part sequel to Carl Sagan’s Cosmos in 2013.
The same network whose cable news channel anchors haven’t the foggiest idea how science affects the world in which we live will be airing the sequel to the best science show ever? We will now take a moment to pick up the pieces of our exploded brains.
“Never more than at this moment in the modern era have we needed a profound reminder of the colossally important and exciting role that science, space exploration and the human quest for knowledge must continue to play in our development as a species,” MacFarlane said to Deadline. “We should be vigorously exploring the solar system by now, and who better to inspire us to get there than Ann Druyan, Steven Soter, Neil deGrasse Tyson and, of course, Carl Sagan.”
MacFarlane is a self-professed science geek, and the sequel came about when he met Ann Druyan some time ago. The two hit it off over a discussion of Cosmos, and Druyan floated the idea of an updated sequel, to which MacFarlane jumped at the chance.
Back in September, they were on Bill Maher’s HBO show Real Time talking about the war against science — which, ironically, is at least partially Fox’s fault. But that may have something to do with why the trio of MacFarlane, Tyson and Druyan worked tirelessly to get Fox to pick up the series.
“We weren’t interested in going to the audience that already knew that it loved science,” Druyan told the New York Times. “We wanted to go to the largest possible audience and attract people who’d never even thought about it.”
According to the producers, the new series will tell “the story of how human beings began to comprehend the laws of nature and find our place in space and time. It will take viewers to other worlds and travel across the universe for a vision of the cosmos on the grandest scale. The most profound scientific concepts will be presented with stunning clarity, uniting skepticism and wonder, and weaving rigorous science with the emotional and spiritual into a transcendent experience.”
Check out the first episode of the Sagan series, courtesy of Snag Films.