Relaunching Carl Sagan’s ‘Cosmos,’ Fox Tampers With The UniverseJanuary 29, 2014
By Bob Ingrassia,
Who’s sick of seeing classic stories get a “reboot” for the modern era?
And, for that matter, who’s sick of the tech term “reboot” being applied to works of art and entertainment?
Well, here’s an updating of a old gem that I’m actually looking forward to seeing: Fox is resurrecting Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos” series.
I was 11 when “Cosmos” first aired in 1980, just old enough to appreciate Sagan’s mind-expanding concepts and inspiring prose about the origins of life, our solar system and the entire universe. He somehow made humans feel terribly inconsequential and yet absolutely vital at the same time.
The new version, which launches this year, looks promising. Sagan’s widow, Ann Druyan, and his “Cosmos” co-writer, astronomer Steven Soter, are the driving forces behind the project. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson will host. That puts the update in good hands.
In one odd twist revealing that the universe truly is incomprehensible, “Family Guy” creator Seth McFarlane is one of the executive producers. He played a key role in landing the franchise for Fox.
For many people, Sagan’s name triggers the inevitable “billions and billions” imitation. The fact is, Sagan never actually used that phrase in “Cosmos” or his other writing. Yes, he talked about billions quite a bit, putting heavy emphasis on the “b” so we’d get the point. But the actual catchphrase came from Johnny Carson’s Sagan impersonation on “The Tonight Show.”
Sagan, who died in 1996, was actually a fountain of accessible deep thoughts. A few of his gems:
For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.
The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars.
The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of star stuff.
The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, of falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.
And for the Auto-Tune set, we have this awesome remix: