TV’s a very inconsistent medium. For every 2 Broke Girls, there’s Community. For every post-season 5 How I Met Your Mother, there’s Friends. For every Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, there’s Lost. For every Keeping Up With The Kardashians, there’s The Big Bang Theory. For every Two and a Half Men with Ashton Kutcher, there’s Anger Management with Charlie Sheen. For every Ancient Aliens, there’s The Story of Earth.
Last Saturday, TV does good again with Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, a breathtaking new documentary hosted by Neil Degrasse Tyson and produced by the likes of astrophysicist Ann Druyan (widow of the late, great Carl Sagan) and Seth Macfarlane of Family Guy fame. It is an update of Carl Sagan’s 1970s documentary and book of the same name.
My favorite aspect of the show is that it celebrates the greatest detectives of our time. The greatest detectives of our time do not sit in Scotland Yard, in the bare offices of private investigation companies, or in any police Division. The greatest detectives of our time look into the sky, and solve the mysterious workings, and lives and deaths, of the stars. The greatest detectives of our time are astronomers.
Your average CSI super sleuth delves into the mysteries of the human mind – though the crazed and murderous ones. In the course of things, however, the human mind, no matter how enigmatic, is fathomable.
Astronomers look into the heavens, positing, theorizing, inquiring, investigating – dare I say it? – the very mind of God and creation.
As a documentary, Cosmos was marvelous to behold, featuring visually masterful set pieces such as ‘The Cosmic Calendar’, a cinematic recreation of the entire history of the universe that employs grand perspective storytelling and the latest in production and CGI technology.
When Seth Macfarlane was announced as Executive Producer, the running joke was that he’d ‘Family Guy’ it up. But he brings with him more than a decade of animation experience, bringing to our screens the stellar events that occur in the furthest reaches of space, while bringing to life the epic dramas that have lined human history.
Nothing captures the width of existence and the depth of the human condition quite like Cosmos. I do believe I’ve just found my new addiction.
Cosmos will air every Saturday at 10pm, on National Geographic Channel (StarHub TV Ch. 411 & SingTel mio TV Ch. 201)