Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Ancient Mariner, Jul 23, 2013.
I believe that's pronounced "woonderz".
Before the new Cosmos was announced, I personally wanted Brian Greene as a new host of a rebooted Cosmos. Much like Carl Sagan, he has an easy way to communicate complex ideas.
Sadly, although the show has attracted attention and viewers, it's also attracted Luddite contrarian assholes willing to take a piece out of it; Why Cosmos Can’t Save Public Support for Science
Ugh. I've tried watching Cox's stuff, but he just makes everything so insufferably sappy and overly romantic.
Sagan was able to be poetic without making you cringe in the process. He knew when the right time and place was, and didn't constantly hit you over the head with it like Cox does.
Ahh, so the Ship of the Imagination WAS the generic sparkle thing. Makes as much sense as any other design, I guess. The show didn't really connect the sparkle with the ship's interior in any meaningful way, instead choosing to focus on Sagan looking in wonder at stuff. The newer version makes it clear that the Ship of the Imagination IS a ship, that it HAS a window from the inside to the out, and that Tyson isn't so macho as to STAND at the window all the time and can do just as good a job staring in wonder while seated. Also, Tyson doesn't need a fancy control console to occasionally show stuff off like his predecessor; everything he does is purely mental.
Incidentally, Tyson was on Colbert earlier this week and he quickly dodged the question of whether or not it was the Church that had Bruno executed for heresy; instead he maintained it was the "Roman Authorities". Colbert thus concludes that the Catholic Church is good for science. QED. :P
Sagan didn't stand all the time. He paced around occasionally, and there are some scenes of him perched on the console.
That was set up in Sagan's opening narration and the intercutting of images accompanying it:
"We're going to explore the Cosmos in a ship of the imagination, unfettered by ordinary limits on speed and size, drawn by the music of cosmic harmonies. It can take us anywhere in space and time. Perfect as a snowflake, organic as a dandelion seed, it will carry us to worlds of dreams and worlds of facts."
So that told us that the thing that looked like a snowflake or a dandelion seed was the ship of the imagination. These days we're used to CGI showing us everything, but in the past dialogue often had to establish what visual effects could not.
I liked Sagan's ship set. Sagan was using the language of science fiction to teach science, and that means that if you're going to use a starship as a metaphor, it should have a viewscreen and a blinky-lights console, because that's what starships have. If you could envision the roleplay starship of your choice, would you really settle for one that just obeyed mental commands, or would you want a console to sit at and buttons you could push? The latter seems a lot more fun to me.
Funny, in a way, Sagan showed me a TARDIS before I knew what one was.
(I didn't start watching Doctor Who until 1982, two years after I saw "Cosmos".)
And I loved the motif of these "control" crystals illuminating under a "smoky translucent" surface. Clever way to present a "fastastically advanced" technology that would not look outdated in just a couple of years.
The one change I do like with the new ship is that the areas for viewing the past, present and future are more clearly set out.
In the original it seemed completely random whether Sagan would look out the front, the console, or open up the screen in the floor.
I didn't grow up with Cosmos, I only saw Sagan's version for the first time last weekend and never put two-and-two together that the ball of light was supposed to be Sagan's ship.
And that he never stops smiling just does my head in. He looks like some kind of insipid badger.
The fact that he has the same accent as Karl Pilkington just makes me want to turn the channel immediately. Thanks to Ricky and his incessant pushing of that moron, I will forever associate that accent with gross stupidity.
And yes, Candlelight, I agree - there were lines of dialogue in the first ep of COSMOS that made me wince. This script needed a serious editor.
Two preview clips from this Sunday's upcoming episode titled, "Some Of The Things Molecules Do" (which, if I remember correctly, is a quote from the original series):
Hey, if it gets even one person into astronomy, or just science in general then it's worth any amount of Cox's smarmy perma-grin.
Honestly though it's never really bothered me. He makes himself understood well, knows his stuff and presents it in an accessible way. It's gotten people (young people especially) thinking about the world around them in a context that probably didn't occur to allot of them before and that's all for the good IMO. Just as with 'Cosmos', the point isn't to entertain the converted, but inspire those who are open to it.
I watched Bill Maher last night and Seth said the omission of the bit on evolution was just a mistake.
Omitting the president, as was done by one locality-that was intentional.
I have to correct myself. I re-watched "The Harmony of the Worlds" last night, and Sagan did indeed sit down in the chair at the ship's console, and manipulated some of the controls. It was in a kind of swirly-slidy set of motions with the hands, rather than actual button-pushing.
Yep. I think that's a point that gets lost a bit sometimes. These shows aren't designed to (if you'll all forgive the phrase) preach to the choir. They're meant to inspire. The joy of rewatching Cosmos isn't that I'm suddenly learning anything new, it's in the ability to reconnect to the ideas that I'm part of something much bigger and grander than myself and my life.
That was a great episode. I loved the "tree of life" imagery. Actually got to watch this one with my Mom; we watched the original together when I was a little kid.
I really enjoyed this, too. The opening anecdote, about humans and dogs, was a great, personal, way to frame the discussion of evolution through artificial selection. Plus, the sequences on Titan really sparked my imagination.
And I did get a little misty-eyed in the last minute of the episode. It was a nice touch.
Probably works better on an HDTV. I could hardly make out the animal images. And while the idea was nice (and, I believe, recycled from the original series, like the ship of the imagination and the cosmic calendar), I didn't really care for the specific design they used, the cartoon animal images just sort of pasted onto the branches.
I think the episode did a good job explaining how and why evolution works and why it's essentially inevitable. But I think Tyson missed an opportunity when he addressed the "only a theory" line. It should've been something like: "Yes, there's a theory of evolution, but there's also a theory of gravity, a theory of electromagnetism, even color theory and music theory. Evolution, like gravity and color and music, is an observed reality. The theory is the set of rules explaining how and why it works, and predicting what it might do in new situations. If the theory is open to question, that just means there are uncertainties about how and why evolution occurs -- not whether it exists at all."
The "Hall of Extinction," or whatever it was called, was a nice addition to the repertoire of metaphors, but it seemed to be given short shrift -- we were told about five "galleries" of mass extinction events but only shown one, without any real discussion about the identities of the creatures we were shown besides the trilobites. I wonder if some of the "extra material" reputed to be included on the cable version tomorrow would include visits to another "hallway" or two.
The writing credits on this one were for Ann Druyan and Steven Soter, Sagan's collaborators on the original. Nice to have that continuity. The director was Bill Pope, the cinematographer for the Matrix trilogy and Spider-Man 2 & 3.
Speaking of continuity, I like it how in the opening titles, the dandelion seed -- which became Sagan's ship of the imagination in the original series -- now transforms into a Voyager probe, a craft Sagan helped design in real life. I didn't register the significance of that last week.
I loved it, and Neil brought the point home with his statement on evolution. I also liked his statement that saying "I don't know" is nothing to be ashamed of, that the shameful act is to claim having all of the answers. This is what science programming should be; clear, direct, and unapologetic.
I can't wait until next week.
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