In 2011 I had the pleasure of viewing The Cosmos: A Beginner’s Guide. The show was phenomenal in giving you a look at space and all its infinite possibilities while keeping it pretty layman and offering up easy to understand examples and even presentations from a slew of scientific figures known and unknown. It was a marvel for someone like me who is very skeptical about what they’re being fed.
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is a program that I had been looking forward to for awhile. The show is hosted by science household name Neil deGrasse Tyson and is presented in a fashion that would make J.J. Abrams proud. Along the way we get animated segments that will remind some of Waltz With Bashir (those of us who have see the film), and the show is a spectacle of amazing music and special effects to bring the whole thing together.
Despite having covered many documentaries on space and being the spouse of someone who watches more science shows then I care to remember, I’m still skeptical and can’t say I’ve committed to memory any of the tidbits of information that can be found within, other then the usual stuff about dinosaurs, evolution, and religions stance on science. That being said, I was lost a lot of the time.
What I felt hurt my attention to the show was the fact that it takes a step back, in my opinion, in presenting to the viewer the fundamental stuff that we’ve heard time and time again, and then leaps forward significantly with larger scale presentations that will more then likely go over the heads of people who find the science of the universe less important then paying bills. It also doesn’t help that the animated segments of the show are kind of a double edged sword.
For those that keep their eyes on the news, Bill Nye (the science guy) recently went in for a debate pitting science and religion against and in contrast with one another. Nye’s stance on evolution over creationism was a hot button issue on the internet, no matter how civil the actual debate was, and I couldn’t help but feel like this animated segment of the show which also put religion and science in contrast during the Spanish Inquisition had felt somewhat agenda oriented, or possibly just used as a sell point in a time when this is a hot button issue. Did it add to the program? Somewhat, but I guess my bias on the subject is also a bit of a border between the two.
Secondly, this segment seems like it goes on for far to long and removes the thought process that the show is following and makes it harder for a person like myself to stay connected with the information. This may have been an important moment in the history of science and discovery, but it seemed off kilter to me and unbeneficial to the layman crowd.
In the end I felt like the show was forgettable by the end. Of all the shows I’ve watched about the cosmos, this one seemed to assume that all points would be understood by all, but in reality the short run time of 43 minutes and the amount of information jammed into this one episode made it difficult to follow along at a pace for a beginner. I think the only way to truly get this series is if you continue to watch until it all becomes connected as an idea.