If you want to put things in perspective, tune in to Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, the new science series Seth MacFarlane 95 FAV helped revive this spring. And maybe you already have.
Since it got off the ground with a ton of hype last month, MacFarlane’s new Cosmos seems to be hitting a chord with viewers in all 181 countries where it currently airs. While it’s a lot glitzier than its predecessor – the late Carl Sagan’s popular 13-part PBS series from 1980 – the show does a great job of reminding us of our relative insignificance living on this “small speck of dust” we call earth.
As executive producer and prime mover, MacFarlane (second from right above) got the blessing of Fox – home base for his animated sitcom Family Guy – and teamed up with Sagan’s original creative collaborators: his wife and writer/executive producer Ann Druyan and co-writer/astronomer Steven Soter, who invited astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson to stand in for Sagan.
As Forbes points out in this video made prior to the launch of the new Cosmos, MacFarlane is known more for the raunchy humor of his TV shows and movies like Ted than for his true interest in science. But he says the motivation for co-producing this impressive new take on the Cosmos concept stems from his reverence for the series he loved as a kid.
Carl Sagan hosting Cosmos in 1980
“Cosmos addressed questions that every human being has, whether they think about them on a mathematical level or just as a layman,” MacFarlane said in an interview quoted in the New York Times. “It presented them in a wonderfully candy-coated way for those of us who are not scientists, and yet it didn’t dumb anything down.”
Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts the new version of Cosmos
“No matter what you think of everything else [MacFarlane has] done,” writes a critic for The Wrap, “I think you’d have to agree: He’s using his power for good. Cosmos appeals to all our best instincts. It invites us to dream our biggest dreams, set our intellect free and come lay out under the vast twinkling sky.”
In the wake of the June 29 premiere of Ted, the summer fluffernutter featuring a raunchy talking teddy bear, Seth MacFarlane 95 FAV stepped outside the media blitz surrounding the release of his much-talked-about movie – which he wrote, directed, co-produced and voiced (he plays the weed-smoking bear).
This time Seth was talking science with Wired, ready to think about his next big project (beyond his day-to-day stuff as executive producer of Family Guy). He’s producing a new, 13-episode version of Carl Sagan’s classic PBS science series Cosmos, slated to air on Fox in 2013.
“I’m dismayed at the rejection of science that’s reemerging in America,” he said in the interview. “There’s nothing out there that glamorizes science the way Cosmos did.”
When Wired noted how politicized science has become in the US, Seth agreed: “It’s absurd…. Science doesn’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican. It just is.”