Last night was the premiere of a new TV show, named after the original series presented by Carl Sagan: COSMOS: A Personal Voyage. I'm sure lots of other geeks out there were slightly nervous about the revamp, hosted by the ever popular Neil deGrasse Tyson. He typically comes across as having a good sense of humor about him, but not particularly warm, a trait many identify with Sagan. "How will this new energy translate?" some wondered.
It was...well, perfect.
There was a certain innocence preserved in the mannerisms of the script and depiction of the story, combining Magic School Bus with Doctor Who. In this new COSMOS: A Space Time Odyssey, we flew in the spaceship of the imagination to see our world in the past, as well as the future, floating in an infinite body of mystery which we were free as viewers to explore. Tyson gave reverence to Carl Sagan, telling his story of being a boy in the Bronx who was invited to visit Sagan in his home. This was a facet of his own personal voyage that I wasn't aware of, and the tie between the two made the show all the more enjoyable to watch.
Then came the animation. Long stretches of stories were told, unfolding in gorgeous visuals as Tyson narrated the epic. Last nights hero was Giordano Bruno, an Italian man of faith and science who lived in the 16th century. We see Bruno continue to present his case for Earth not as the center of the universe, but in fact simply another one of the players of the great cosmic stage. Who knows what he truly experienced, but the animated reveries, doing their best to show the ecstatic state he took when experiencing this knowledge of the universe, was simply breathtaking. This was a fairly brave choice for the shows first hero, since it already could stir the pot of religious debate as well as historic. He was not a scientist, and even Tyson concludes that his vision of the cosmos was "a lucky guess." Otherwise known as...enlightenment? Anyone?
I got into a conversation with a woman the other day about this premiere; she was disappointed that it would be airing on FOX due to her opinions on the network, and wished it to be on PBS. I understood her position, but I pointed out that it's actually very exciting for this sort of thing to be so culturally popular at this point (and acceptable!) that it would be aired on a major network.
There have only been a handful of shows I've felt compelled to keep up with on a weekly basis. In short, I will be thrilled to attend this church of information every Sunday evening, and feel honored to be part of a time in history where this sort of knowledge can be openly broadcasted and discussed. The transition we're experiencing is significant. We are encouraged to shine.
SIDENOTE: If anyone would be interested in hosting a weekly screening party, please email me! This could lead to some incredible discussions, and further growth!