Gravity won a slew of Academy Awards, The Big Bang Theory is one of the hottest shows on TV, and Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is dropping more knowledge on Americans than a Mos Def verse. The original Cosmos was developed for television by astronomer Carl Sagan in 1980. The man may not be as well-known now, but until his death in 1996, he was the public face of astronomy and the cosmos. We can thank Sagan for being the driving force to bring the stars (no, not Kim Kardashian) back into the consciousness of America.
Today, that role is filled by celebrity astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the man who's also responsible for hosting the revival of the series. Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey may just be the most important show you'll see. It’s the story of us, but it’s more than that. It’s our shared history and our prospective future. It’s everything that ever was or ever will be. It’s a remarkable journey and one you should do everything in your power not to miss. —Dominick Grillo
1. You'll learn that you're pretty insignificant in the scheme of things...
And science is sorry-not-sorry about that. As a random human on Earth, we can (reasonably) expect to live for around 75 years. We succeed and we fail, we learn and forget, and we try to have some fun along the way.
One of the most interesting aspects of Cosmos is its ability to frankly tell us of our own insignificance. Our huge planet is just a speck of dust in a cloud of nothingness in the never-ending ocean of the universe. Those lives that seem so incredibly long? Ha! That’s nothing compared to the history of time. Humans have occupied a miniscule amount of the universe’s 13 billion years. That’s too much time to even comprehend, but it’s a little easier with the help of Cosmos.
2. This is an event, not a television series.
Every once in a while, there comes a television series or film or piece of art that becomes an event. It’s something that everyone needs to see and discuss and integrate into their lives. Roots was an event. The Ten Commandments was an event. Cosmos is the event of 2014.
The study of space and time is a never-ending affair, but the same cannot be said about Cosmos; the show is a short 13 episode miniseries. There will be no second season or film adaptation (though another revival in 30 years isn’t entirely out of the question), so now is the time to begin learning.
3. It'll help you impress your friends.
Cosmos is a nonstop ride of interesting facts. Did you know that wolves were the first animal selectively bred by mankind? Long ago, our cave men ancestors befriended the gentlest wolves and killed the most violent ones. The actions of our predecessors directly caused every single different dog breed that roams the Earth today. Pretty cool.
4. Neil deGrasse Tyson is a whiz.
If we’re going to be transported back to our high school science classroom, we want Mr. Neil deGrasse Tyson to be the one to help us do it. Tyson’s enthusiasm is palpable; he looks like a big schoolboy when he begins talking about space and time, and it’s clear he’s having a great time.
He’s fearless in his belief in science, and he thinks it can only benefit mankind to directly face its own cosmic insignificance. Heavy stuff, but Tyson makes for a better scientific cheerleader than we could have imagined.
5. It tries to answer the question: Where did you come from?
Where did we come from? Where are we going? These are heavy questions mankind has grappled with for eons. The answers given by Cosmos may frighten or even anger you, but this is the most essential of information. In order to understand our present situation and to predict the future, we need to know the past.
Cosmos doesn’t pretend to have all of the answers, but it has more than you probably expect. Science has made tremendous advances, and Cosmos takes us back through the ages to the very beginning of time – the very start of everything.
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Photo Credit: Fox