williamallenpepper

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WHY WE NEED COSMOS RIGHT NOW

“Celebrity scientist” Neil deGrasse-Tyson is hosting a reboot of the venerable science series hosted decades ago by the equal venerable Carl Sagan. If you haven’t watched Tyson on TV or listened to his podcasts, you’re missing out. This guy is part of a vanishing breed. Celebrity scientists are an endangered species. Sagan passed away years ago. So, let’s see, there’s Tyson, Bill Nye the science guy, Brian Cox, Brian Greene, and unless there’s some other Brian with a Ph.D I don’t know about who looks good on camera, that’s about it.

The Cosmos reboot debuted simultaneously a few Sundays ago on TEN TV networks, including Fox and National Geographic channel. It netted about 8.5 million viewers, including those who watched it in real time and those who DVR’d it. By traditional network TV standards, that’s not much. But in the modern,splintered entertainment landscape, it’s pretty respectable, especially for a Fox show Seth MacFarlane isn’t involved in.

Oh. Wait. Except, he actually is. MacFarlane is an executive producer on Cosmos. I’ll give you a moment to wrap your mind around the concept of Peter Griffin producing stories about the origins of life on Earth.

Welcome back. Cosmos is phenomenal TV. Remember when you were a kid in school and you’d take a field trip to the science museum? You’d sit there in the dark watching those really cool movies about the solar system. They looked like Star Trek episodes, but with stirring narration that made you want to stop cheating off the smart kid in your physics class and learn something.

They were inspiring. They were fun. This show is like that.

In a world where the decision of what to teach our kids is increasingly determined by politics rather than facts and science, where NASA is quickly becoming irrelevant, and where private rich people are driving technological and scientific innovation rather than taxpayers and higher learning institutions, we need something, ANYTHING that might make kids curious about the world around them again.

This show could be it.

I hope.

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