Science fans this week got their first tantalizing peek at the long-awaited sequel to Carl Sagan’s classic PBS series Cosmos. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who takes Sagan’s place in the new series, traveled to Comic-Con in San Diego last week for the unveiling of this new trailer.
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey will begin airing on the Fox television network in the spring of 2014. As with the first Cosmos, there will be 13 episodes. According to the Fox Web site, “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey will invent new modes of scientific storytelling to reveal the grandeur of the universe and re-invent celebrated elements of the legendary original series, including the Cosmic Calendar and the Ship of the Imagination. The most profound scientific concepts will be presented with stunning clarity, uniting skepticism and wonder, and weaving rigorous science with the emotional and spiritual into a transcendent experience.”
The new Cosmos is produced by Sagan’s widow Ann Druyan, who co-wrote and produced the original series with her husband and Steven Soter. “This series is still about that same thing,” Druyan told reporters, “but we’re telling a completely different set of stories, establishing the coordinates, but then jumping off from there.”
As the new trailer would suggest, the updated series will be rich in special effects. According to a story this week in Wired, the original series’ use of historical reenactments by actors will mostly be replaced with animation in what director Brannon Braga called “a sophisticated graphic novel-type style.” But the visual effects will be there only to serve the narrative. “As humans, we like hearing stories,” Tyson said in San Diego. “We have what I think is the greatest story ever told: the story of the universe, and our place within it, and how we came to discover our place within it. And finally, we have the methods and tools to bring that to the screen.”
NOTE: All 13 episodes of the 1980 series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage can be seen for free by following this link to Hulu. Alas, free viewing may not be available in all countries.