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TV, Movies and Games > Cosmos with Neil DeGrasse Tyson - who watched it?

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message 1: by Nick (last edited Mar 10, 2014 06:03AM) (new)

Nick (whyzen) | 1295 comments Just finished watching the first episode of Cosmos. They did a fantastic job on the special effects and as expected NDT did a terrific job in the role that Carl Sagan immortalized in the first edition of this amazing series. It is great to see a return of entertaining and educational science programming to one of the mainstream channels. Anyone else excited?

message 2: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6376 comments Were there billions and billions of stars?

message 3: by Nick (new)

Nick (whyzen) | 1295 comments I tried to count but I ran out of fingers.

message 4: by Paul (new)

Paul  Perry (pezski) | 493 comments Can't wait to see this, it may have to be viewed this evening on catch up

message 5: by Phil (new)

Phil | 1159 comments I thought they did a great job. I even got a little teary during the tribute to Sagan at the end.
Tamahome, NDT didn't say "billions and billions" but he did say "we are made of star stuff".

message 6: by Dara (new)

Dara (cmdrdara) | 2702 comments I watched and will continue to watch. It's great to have a science program in mainstream again. I kind of wish some things went more in depth but it's all good. I loved was the animation. The Bruno part was stunning (I mean, it all was but that particularly). I hope this series inspires a new generation to become scientists and engineers and mathematicians and all that kind of tech stuff.

message 7: by Ty (new)

Ty Wilson (ShatterStar66) | 165 comments I watched it and loved every minute of it. Now I'll drive my family nuts asking them if they watched it every time I see them. Oh well, they should be used to me by now.

message 9: by Buzz (new)

Buzz Park (buzzpark) | 354 comments Did anyone notice that Seth MacFarlane of Ted and Family Guy fame is the Exec. Producer? I thought that was interesting.

I wonder if Peter or Stewie will mention Cosmos in future episodes? :-)

message 10: by Nick (new)

Nick (whyzen) | 1295 comments Yeh MacFarlane had met Tyson at a conference and Tyson had told him about the effort to remake Cosmos. MacFarlane pitched the idea to Fox and got them to agree to air it.
This video discusses that. Fast forward to the 1 minute mark to hear how MacFarlane got involved.

message 11: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4201 comments By and large, I enjoyed it. I joked on Twitter that, thanks to the ads, I now want to go apply to work at Boeing, but the ads weren't the main game.

I wish they would have flashed up a credit when they were using real NASA/ESA photos or composites. I recognized shots from Hubble, SDO, and Cassini, among others, and I think it would have helped drive home that a good bit of what they were showing wasn't special effects.

I wished they hadn't done the stupid "spaceship not bound by the laws of physics" or whatever that was. Just stupid. I don't know if that's a throw-back to the first series (the Sagan one), but if it wasn't, it's even more annoying to me.

I thought they spent a lot of time focusing on Bruno, interesting since he had no proof of anything, he just...thought about things. It was good to introduce someone else aside from Galileo, Newton, Copernicus, etc...the ones everybody knows. But at the same time, there were others who were more rigorous that might have been more interesting.

I'm looking forward to next week.

message 12: by Nick (last edited Mar 10, 2014 04:32PM) (new)

Nick (whyzen) | 1295 comments Terp, it is a throw back to the first one. Sagan had his "ship of the imagination". I believe it was sort of a way to invite the audience on a adventure.

I did notice that it sort of got the asteroid belt wrong. I've heard Tyson mention that the asteroids in the asteroid belt are so very far apart that they might not hit each other except a few times in hundreds of milenia or more. They depicted it more like it was seen in star wars. I'm amazed Tyson allowed that unless he conceded it for entertainments sake.

message 13: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4201 comments Thanks for the info, Nick. Ok, I hate it "less" because of the throwback but still it's not my favorite thing, too.

I scratched my head at the asteroid belt, too. I forgot to mention it in my other post. I really need to watch some things with a text editor or notepad open, so I can remember these things when I want to come talk about them. ;)

message 14: by Ben (new)

Ben Nash | 200 comments Just finished watching this. It was amazing. Watching the first episode made us buy a season pass for the season. There are some cinematic concessions, e.g. I also had issues with the density of the asteroid belt in the visuals. I don't remember him talking about how far apart the objects are, though he did mention the distance of Oort cloud objects even though the visuals showed them as "Star Wars" dense.

This show makes me excited. With the spectacular visuals and the generally great communication about our current knowledge, I think it will spark some young imaginations and encourage a new generation of scientists.

message 15: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 3635 comments Mod
Great first episode.
I've been excited for this series since I first heard Ann Druyan talking about it back in 2011.
(Ann Druyan is Carl Sagan's wife and exec. producer for this new series and co-writer for this and the original series)

I loved the personal touch at the end by Neil about Carl.

message 16: by Dara (new)

Dara (cmdrdara) | 2702 comments Nick and TK, I also wondered about the asteroid belt and I'm surprised Tyson didn't gave that fixed. Maybe he doesn't by have that power. TK, I also wish they'd credit the photos from Hubble, SDO, Cassini, Chandra, etc.

message 17: by Joe Informatico (new)

Joe Informatico (joeinformatico) | 888 comments I liked it. The personal anecdote about Sagan at the end was my favourite bit. Looking forward to the next episode.

The asteroid belt surprises me too, coming from the man who harangued James Cameron about the sky in Titanic. I'm sure it was an executive call, e.g. "We spent a good chunk of change on this CGI, we're not going to spend more to fix the studio's artistic license."

message 18: by Nick (new)

Nick (whyzen) | 1295 comments It might not have been Tyson I heard talk about the asteroid belt. I couldn't find where he had said anything doing a google search. I did find a really old article describing the asteroid belt density.

Ultimately the real asteroid belt probably doesn't make a great visual for a documentary so I have no issue giving them a pass on that one.

message 19: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 6903 comments Mod
I thought it went a little long in places (the Bruno part especially), but the cosmic calendar at the end and the overall visuals were well done. I'm not really the target audience here though.

They picked the perfect host too. I liked his personal story at the end as well.

message 20: by Paolo (new)

Paolo (ppiazzesi) | 51 comments I just watched this a couple nights ago and loved it. I knew I was going to love it since I´m a fan of the original Cosmos, but I watched it with a friend who is pretty much the target audience - young, smart, but not really scientifically literate. He loved it. When it was over he was like "That´s it? It´s over? I want to see more." This made me smile.

message 21: by Rick (new)

Rick | 2877 comments Watched it. It was OK but nothing special. It's a series opener, though, and those are hard to do. Ulitmately, the series needs to provoke the same sense of wonder as the original or it's just another science series. If you're young, you might not get how different the first Cosmos was... the sheer scope of it really hadn't been seen before and combined with Sagan's ability to communicate was a phenomenon. Since then we've had quite a few series about science and so this version of Cosmos enters a much changed world.

About the asteroids... Look, if they'd shown the asteroid belt or the Oort cloud as they really are there wouldn't have been anything on the screen.

message 22: by Nick (new)

Nick (whyzen) | 1295 comments I'm a space documentary junkie so I know this probably won't be aimed at me. I'm still happy they are doing it. Anything that stirs interests in the STEM(science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields is a good thing for everyone ultimately.

message 23: by Gary (last edited Mar 13, 2014 12:54PM) (new)

Gary I'm withholding judgement for the moment.... The first episode seemed more like a series of teasers and statement of purpose. It was very introductory as far as the actual science is concerned, which is understandable for a first episode.

The show certainly looks good, though I don't know if that's particularly special nowadays. It's a bit ubiquitous to have good, computer generated graphics. However, they're doing a good job with that sort of thing and, other than the shape of the 21st century "ship of the imagination" (which looks like what might happen if you crashed a bathosphere into a giant, chrome surfboard... or maybe it's a shiny version of Slave I from Star Wars that still has that "new starship smell") I don't really have any complaints.

message 24: by Paul (new)

Paul Harmon (thesaint08d) | 639 comments Timothy wrote: "Great show. Surprised to see it on FOX. Cant wait for Ep#2."

Accidentally my shiny metal ass

message 25: by Nick (last edited Mar 13, 2014 06:37PM) (new)

Nick (whyzen) | 1295 comments Hey terpkristin, looks like you can blame MacFarlane for the new Cosmos including the "ship of the imagination"
Check out this national geographic behind the scenes exclusive where they talk about including the ship in the new edition of the series.

message 26: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4201 comments Huh, interesting. I understand the throwback to the original series, but man, I found it distracting.

But, like some others have said in this thread, I'm not really the target audience. I already love this stuff. I enjoyed the episode (and will continue to watch the series) but I'm definitely not the one they're trying to reach. If it does spark any interest in today's kids or opens the eyes of some adults, I'll live with my dislike of the ship of the imagination. ;)

message 27: by Christopher (new)

Christopher B. | 56 comments I never got to see the original series myself but I am already loving this new series can't wait to see the second episode. I like how they use a combination of science fact and science fiction to get the message across. Plus how they used their first main story to show that science and religion can co exist when people are allowed to think for themselves. Also I liked the personal story from Tyson towards the end that tied the two series together it was nice and touching. Showed he really cared both about science and the show. That makes it so we don't think he is in it for the money or fame alone in my eyes. I think this is a great way to open the show by bringing in as many people as possible even the skeptical ones. And shame on those who would block his message. Forcing people to not have the option to hear an alternate message is a crime.

message 28: by Don (new)

Don | 80 comments Tyson is doing a great job. Just watched the 2nd one. Carl Sagan never fought off wolves with a torch!

aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) I like it.

The spaceship annoys the crap out of me, though. It looks like a codpiece, and I'm not talking about fish. Boys and their toy......

message 30: by Beth (new)

Beth (evilpoptartarmy) | 19 comments Christopher wrote: "I never got to see the original series myself but I am already loving this new series can't wait to see the second episode. I like how they use a combination of science fact and science fiction to ..."

you can watch the original on youtube.


the ship annoyed me, too. i though the reflection of whatever he was surrounded by was distracting.

message 31: by Dara (new)

Dara (cmdrdara) | 2702 comments The original Cosmos is also on Netflix.

message 32: by Nicholas (new)

Nicholas | 17 comments I saw the first episode, which I did very much enjoy, but I haven't seen the second one yet. I'm just glad there's finally a program on television that actually educates and not a show about a bunch of drunk idiots doing stupid shit–there's enough of those as it is.
About the spaceship though, it was laughably terrible, and trite, but I was easily able to look past it still.

message 33: by Markt5660 (new)

Markt5660 | 39 comments That spaceship has Brannon Braga (TNG, DS9, and one of this show's producers) written all over it. And I can already hear his response to the "swoosh" sound: "It's my ship of the imagination an I imagine it makes sound in space". A great show otherwise.

message 34: by D.L. (new)

D.L. Morrese (dl_morrese) | 101 comments I gave up watching TV years ago because nothing good ever seemed to be on. That, and commercials. I really hate commercials. Yeah, I know they're necessary, but I still hate them. That said, I have been watching the new Cosmos. The original Cosmos was wonderful, and I've rewatched it several times (thanks to DVDs). The new iteration doesn't have quite the same charm, but I'm enjoying it. There should be more shows like this.

message 35: by Jon (new)

Jon Sprunk | 40 comments I really like it so far. Dr. Tyson has a great knack for explaining scientific concepts, and the cgi is outstanding. Looking forward to the next episode.

message 36: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4201 comments I tried to watch the 2nd episode. My mind kept wandering. I'm going to try again over dinner tonight. Maybe I'll be more of a captive audience with food...

message 37: by Ken (new)

Ken (kanthr) | 334 comments Personally I don't understand the Tyson craze, but I'm glad that science is "cool" with lay audiences because of it.

message 38: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6376 comments F = ma, dude.

message 39: by Mark (new)

Mark | 64 comments D.L. wrote: "I gave up watching TV years ago because nothing good ever seemed to be on. That, and commercials. I really hate commercials. Yeah, I know they're necessary, but I still hate them. That said, I have..."

Satellite + PVR = good TV viewing

(I agree mainstream TV is pretty bad, but there is so much documentary/science/nature/movies stuff on specialty channels I could never keep up).

message 40: by Ken (new)

Ken (kanthr) | 334 comments Even the science/documentary stuff is kinda fluff. There are some great programs like Planet Earth, but they only come around once every few years. For me, TV was worth giving up and I've never looked back. Hearing about current shows in the media or from people I know just re-affirms my decision.

message 41: by D.L. (new)

D.L. Morrese (dl_morrese) | 101 comments Kenneth wrote: "Even the science/documentary stuff is kinda fluff. There are some great programs like Planet Earth, but they only come around once every few years. For me, TV was worth giving up and I've never loo..."
Agreed. Nova on PBS used to have some good stuff, but now most seems to be, well, as you say, fluff.

aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) I think Tyson is specifically answering the arguments of those who believe in
creationism and in intelligent design. I participate in threads on GR where such arguments take place. One of the arguments is that only a god could have designed the eye. It was thus interesting that in the second show Tyson spent many valuable TV minutes specifically going over how the eye evolved. After that, I was pretty sure earlier hints I had picked up meant Tyson had a strong motive besides honoring Sagan. It would also explain why he is making it simple.

message 43: by D.L. (new)

D.L. Morrese (dl_morrese) | 101 comments It's kind of sad that at the dawn of the 21st century so many people are unaware of basic science and science history. I (regrettably) entered into a GR discussion once on the nature of SF and Fantasy, and one participant was apparently antagonistic to science. (He objected that religious speculative fiction was normally considered fantasy, thinking it should be SF.) It soon became clear that he obviously did not know the fundamental aspects of science, such as that it involves testing hypotheses. Yeah, he ended up thumping and name calling, and then deleted his posts and left.

message 44: by Dara (new)

Dara (cmdrdara) | 2702 comments I'm still enjoying the show but I wish there was more science in it instead of an extended history lesson.

message 45: by Ken (new)

Ken (kanthr) | 334 comments I heard someone today try to argue that eggs are dairy because they're sold in the same aisle as milk. Mind boggling. That's the catch for any science program: Can you present something new and engaging on a technical level, while also appealing to the lowest common denominator who thinks that eggs are dairy? Is it worth making that sacrifice? Is there a middle ground? No easy answer, for sure. Anything is better than nothing, and I'm glad educational shows are still around. But for my interests, it'd have to be something beyond the basic level to catch me watching.

message 46: by Rick (last edited Mar 24, 2014 01:08PM) (new)

Rick | 2877 comments Tyson lost me in ep 2 when he stated 'evolution is a fact.' For a science communicator who should be precise about terms, this was both inaccurate and deliberately polemical.

Evolution isn't a fact anymore than relativity or quantum theory is. They are all scientific theories that are the best explanations we have for the observable facts in their respective fields.

In a world where people oppose science by saying "Oh, that's just a theory you came up with" as if a scientific theory was simply an unsupported opinion, Tyson should be clear and accurate when he uses terms and confusing fact and theory is a basic mistake. He didn't use that phrase accidentally, it was there precisely to rile people.

Combined with the time given to Bruno in ep 1 it feels like Tyson is more interested in addressing the current debates between scientific thought and those who oppose it than with inspiring wonder about everything science can teach us. Sagan's Cosmos was unapologetic in its stance that science was the best way to learn about the world but Sagan did that by showing us, not by telling us.

Tyson should have ignored the cultural stuff, forgotten about the close-minded and looked to educate and inspire those people who are curious and openminded.

message 47: by Rick (last edited Mar 24, 2014 01:25PM) (new)

Rick | 2877 comments Kenneth - I'd argue that Cosmos probably should not be targeted to the highly science literate but at the curious, open-minded person who would like to know a bit more about what science knows about the world. To use your example, the close-minded ideologue for whom eggs = dairy because of where they're sold and no one can tell them differently isn't the audience. The person who naively says that but is willing to learn? They are. Think about it...

Observation: Eggs and milk are sold in the same section.

Hypothesis: Eggs are dairy.

Research (this isn't really an experiment, but...): What's the definition of dairy?

Learning: Oh, eggs aren't dairy.

New hypothesis: eggs are sold in the same section because they need similar storage.

And so on.

aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) Almost my entire family and my husband's are folks who are either fundamentalists or very religious. The difference between scientific theories and theories why, for example, 'Susan' likes to wear black all of the time are not discernable to them. They pity me because I'm so stupid to believe In scientific theories. Books are mostly a mystery to them, and they don't understand the point of reading. It's a waste of time.

These are people, at least the ones I know, need to be told in clear instructions how to behave, where to go and what to believe. They do not want multiple choice, or theories. God creating the world and universe makes sense because it's simple. They don't like arguments or theories. I have to give them a list for Christmas gifts, with manufacturer, title, store and price spelled out.

How do you reach people like this? Saying evolution is a theory, and trying to explain scientific principles is like trying to explain calculus to someone who can only add and subtract.

I wish I was kidding. I'm not being disrespectful, you know. I KNOW these people. I've had discussions with them. They avoid me and pity me, but they are tired of my 'theories'. God, to them, is certainly, because their leaders say god is real, and none of this washy washy theory business about religion.

Tyson is going there because, my theory, he has had these same conversations with religious people.

I don't know the answer to teaching them even basic science either, because the religious people in my life barely graduated from high school and can barely read anything except Romances. Even their Bibles are dumbed down as the King James Version is too tough.

message 49: by Ken (new)

Ken (kanthr) | 334 comments It's ironic, to me, that fundamentalists would be so against books, when their primary source of moral judgment and way-of-life is a book.

message 50: by Rick (last edited Mar 24, 2014 01:45PM) (new)

Rick | 2877 comments April - If you're the producers of Cosmos, you don't reach those people. They're not going to watch and even if they did, they wouldn't accept what he's saying. You ignore them because they actively reject science. Who you go after are the people who might be at some level ignorant of science but who are interested enough to learn.

There are a lot of stories about people deciding science was cool and pursuing it as a career simply because of watching the first Cosmos. I'm sure there are many more who discovered that science could be awesome and for whatever reason didn't do science as a career but who still read about scientific things. That's what this version of Cosmos should be doing for a new generation.

That's the other reason not to go after the kind of people you describe - because it distracts from talking about all of the amazing stuff science can teach us in favor trying to win an unwinnable argument.

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