Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Ancient Mariner, Jul 23, 2013.

  1. Ancient Mariner

    Ancient Mariner Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That would be most welcome. Keep in mind, it's not a critical issue - as in, it's not something that ruins the experience. It's different and not entirely unexpected. But considering I've watched the original series roughly once a year since the DVDs came out, for me, at least, it's an adjustment.

    By the way, for anyone who didn't attend the premiere, and wanted to see the Q&A that followed (with Tyson, Seth McFarlane, Ann Druyan, Brannon Braga, and others), you can watch the hour-long session HERE. Some genuinely enjoyable moments in there.
     
  2. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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  3. ThankQ

    ThankQ Admiral Admiral

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    I liked the bit about Carl at the end.
     
  4. Ancient Mariner

    Ancient Mariner Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I just finished watching it again ... and it was much better this time. Now that I am more accustomed to the difference in styles, this version flows much, much better than it initially did. Tyson really is very, very good. And I just love his personal anecdote at the end of the episode.
     
  5. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The first episode was pretty good, I thought. I agree that the faster pace was a bit off-putting at first (although not as much as the line about "Oh yeah, they also invented sex") but overall, I enjoyed it. The Giordano Bruno bit was kind of pedantic but I tried not to let it bother me too much...

    (I did think it was quite ironic that the movie advertised during commercial breaks was Noah. :guffaw: )

    Probably my favorite scene in the whole episode was when Tyson returned to the same place where Sagan filmed the intro to the original series. Where is that, BTW?
     
  6. ThankQ

    ThankQ Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, the evil Darth Pope was a bit over the top even for this nonbeliever. I'm fearful that stuff like that will cause a lot of people just to shut it out on spec.
     
  7. Shatnertage

    Shatnertage Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I thought that was pretty incredible. I hope my kids are as inspired by this as I was by the "maiden voyage."
     
  8. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    @ThankQ: "Darth Pope"... :guffaw:

    I am not shutting this out on principle. It's 100% possible to be a Christian and yet still fully respect Drs. Sagan and Tyson and all that they are trying to accomplish. There is nothing anti-Christian about science or the love of it. But scenes like that are not exactly helping.

    On a completely unrelated matter, I thought Tyson's "ship of the imagination" looked more than a bit like Boba Fett's. :lol:

    And towards the end of the calendar scene, when the thing crawled out of the water next to Tyson, I kept expecting it to bite him on the ankle. :D
     
  9. Nerroth

    Nerroth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The one part I wasn't quite fond of was the idea that Giordano Bruno was the only person anywhere on Earth to imagine a more expansive universe of space and time. A thousand years before Bruno's time, Aryabhata had a few ideas of his own about such things, and discussed them in a more pluralistic environment than was available in the Europe of Bruno's day.

    But perhaps there'll be time spared for non-European cosmologies in later episodes.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It's promising so far, but the ratio of flash to substance was a little high for me, and some of the astronomical depictions were too inaccurate (like the ridiculous cliche of the asteroid belt as a dense Empire Strikes Back-style clutter). As for the rushed pacing and somewhat superficial coverage, the first episode of the original Cosmos did something similar, presenting an overview or thesis statement of the series as a whole and then delving more deeply into specific topics in subsequent weeks. Hopefully the same will be true here. But I suppose a faster pace is only to be expected if the series is to appeal to a modern audience, let alone one watching commercial television.

    Tyson was a pretty good presenter -- not quite as lyrical and soulful as Sagan, but effective and polished, and with a marginally similar vocal timbre to Sagan's. And that bit at the end about how Sagan inspired him helps establish his bona fides as Sagan's successor.

    There are things I miss from the original series. It's hard to imagine Cosmos without Vangelis's music. Alan Silvestri's score is grand enough but kind of conventional, without as much personality as the original's mix of stock cues ranging from electronic music to classical symphonies to traditional folk songs.

    And very, very little of what we saw was real. The original had terrific effects for its day, but it also spent a lot of time showing us real people and places and objects, and that gave it more of a sense of presence and tangibility. This was mostly CGI and cartoons and a guy on a greenscreen stage, and I'm concerned that might make it less relatable.

    Still, it did a good job establishing the mission statement: that science is about questioning assumptions and beliefs, building models, and accepting or rejecting them based on the evidence rather than tradition or preconceptions, and that using that method has revealed profound truths that we had no inkling of before. (Although I think it was a little Eurocentric here and there -- Copernicus wasn't the first person to conceive of heliocentrism, but was preceded by Aristarchus and various medieval Muslim scholars. Copernicus was just the first to embrace and develop the idea fully.) And I could see the political subtext in the Giordano Bruno story -- allegory for how reactionary and fundamentalist thinking in America today is threatening the freedom of scientific thought and education.

    The use of animation for historical narratives was an interesting addition to the repertoire of Cosmos, but I felt it got a bit too reliant on dramatization and dialogue rather than a narrator's summary. As with some of the space VFX, there were times when it threatened to undermine plausibility and factual accuracy a bit too much in the name of dramatic effect. But for the most part it worked pretty well, although I'm not a big fan of Flash animation and the way things move in it.

    The really surprising thing to me was that Brannon Braga was credited not merely as an executive producer, but the director of the episode and one of the series directors. I've never known him to direct before, and as of this writing he has no director credits on IMDb.
     
  11. Tain

    Tain Ensign

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    So far this is Brannon Braga's best work.
     
  12. 1001001

    1001001 Let the Good Times Roll!! Moderator

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    I watched it with my 11 year old son (exactly the age I was when I saw the original).

    He gave it an "A/A-".

    I thought it was really good. I wasn't sure how faithful they were going to be to the original. It's a fine line to walk, I imagine.

    The Cosmic Calendar was awesome.

    Well done.

    :techman:
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I'm not sure how meaningful a comparison one can make there, since before he's only ever been a writer, producer, and executive producer, while here he was only credited as executive producer (one of four) and director (a first). Neil DeGrasse Tyson himself was the sole credited writer.

    But yeah, it does seem to be one of the better things Braga's been involved with. It's certainly an immense improvement on anything else Seth MacFarlane has produced.

    Did anyone catch if the end credits listed the voices in the animated segment? I thought I heard Phil LaMarr at one point.
     
  14. auntiehill

    auntiehill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I really liked the Cosmic Calendar. Man, if I felt like an insignificant speck before, then I surely KNOW I'm an insignificant speck now. :lol:

    I do feel some of it was a bit "dumbed-down" but this was only the first episode, so as hubby said, it's best to look at the first one as the "primer" for what's to come. I look forward to seeing more.
     
  15. Coloratura

    Coloratura Snuggle Princess Premium Member

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    I love it. The whole idea is to draw people in, to get them interested in science again, and to do it by using real science. Is it stylized? Hell yes, and that's awesome, because science can be about facts and figures, and it can do it with panache. I think it accomplished that goal, and I figure we'll get into the more analytical stuff later. By the time anyone realizes they're actually learning, they'll have already been hooked. :D

    Also, did anyone else cry a little bit when the show first started? I did.
     
  16. Tom Hendricks

    Tom Hendricks Ooohhhhhh, Navy Seals. Premium Member

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    I cried when he talked about meeting Carl, about how he invited him to his laboratory and gave him his phone number if he couldn't make it home.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I almost wish the episode had pointed out Sagan's role in some of the scientific things mentioned in the episode -- he was the person who first figured out what the atmosphere and surface of Venus were really like, and he was a key figure in the Voyager probes and the creation of the message records. But at least those things were referenced in the episode, and I guess constantly going "Hey, Carl was responsible for this and this and that" would've been a distraction from the science and a bit too fanboyish.
     
  18. tomalak301

    tomalak301 Admiral Premium Member

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    I loved the first episode, but I did more research on the Bruno history and, as a Catholic, was a bit bothered that this show tried to martyr this philosopher without actually bringing context to his trial/imprisonment. It was almost like this show is going out of it's way to say Religion = Bad, which seems to be the attitude of many on the Internet these days, yet I wish there was a way to point out the good that religion does. I value faith, as it kind of guides my life to do good things, yet I'm afraid to admit I'm a catholic for fear of being labeled a fundamentalist or closed minded fool. This part of the show kind of added to that stereotype and I wonder what the reaction will be.

    With that said, I really did love the science aspect of it. Visually, this show was stunning, and the Cosmic Calender, talking about the Cosmic address, and Tyson's anecdote about how he met Carl Segan were my favorite parts. I can't wait till the rest of this series, and hopefully it sticks with the science, and not wanting to bash religion too much.
     
  19. Redfern

    Redfern Commodore Commodore

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    To be fair, the original "Cosmos" took a couple of "digs" at religion as well. Alas, I can't recall which episode, but Sagan suggested if it had not been for the suppression of analytical thought during the Middle Ages, technological progress might be a thousand years more advanced and the first interstellar craft would be returning from their voyages, craft named after various Grecian scientists.

    Sincerely,

    Bill
     
  20. Ancient Mariner

    Ancient Mariner Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Except this episode didn't go after religion. In fact, it went out of its way to mention religion several times, including during the Cosmic Calendar sequence. Instead, it went after a time and environment in which freedom of thought was not only suppressed, but harshly punished (in an obvious parallel to the rising anti-scientific sentiment in some segments of current society). The message wasn't "belief in God is bad" it was, explicitly, to those who are unwilling to accept new ideas, "your God is too small" - that thinking bigger, and understanding true nature of the universe, isn't incompatible to religious belief. The hero of the story, after all, was devoutly religious.

    I will admit, though that, for my tastes, I thought the sequence ran a bit too long as was a bit too "on the nose" both in terms of its message and graphic content (burning at the stake, for example).

    The episode did, in fact, mention several of Sagan's discoveries. It was right near the end, just before Tyson's anecdote. Tyson recalls Sagan as a great communicator and scientist, including some of Sagan's contributions to science, as a voice over to some vintage footage of Sagan at the JPL, on Johnny Carson, at Harvard, etc.
     

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