Jul 16, 2014 12:45 AM EDT
Neil deGrasse Tyson is set to take on the universe with his new series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, the reboot of the 1980's Carl Sagan classic documentary Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.
Cosmos was a landmark PBS series about life, the universe, and everything else put together by the late Carl Sagan and his wife Ann Druyan, which aired about 33 years ago.
Now, with decades of new scientific discoveries that give us an even better picture of the universe, Druyan has worked with science superstar Neil deGrasse Tyson to bring a remake and update the series for a new generation, which is hitting the air on FOX network this Sunday at 9 p.m.
Although Sagan's series will be remembered by many geeks as their first clear, inspiring look at the universe and the science that uncovers its secrets, it's time for a reboot and update. Just consider this: when the original Cosmos began airing in 1980, the Voyager space crafts (which Druyan and Sagan also had a hand in) were exploring planets in our solar system. Now, when the new Cosmos hits the air, those probes have drifted outside the bounds of our solar system, becoming the first human-made objects to stray so far from home.
Tyson, who is an astrophysicist and entertaining communicator of the wonders of science worthy of taking up Sagan's mantle, has gradually built up his status in the science and entertainment worlds over the past decade. You might have seen him as a frequent guest on the Colbert Report, or heard him as a co-host of a popular science/comedy podcast series Star Talk Live! with comedian Eugene Mirman.
All of this, according to Tyson, has built up to his hosting Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, the reboot of Sagan's seminal 1980 series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.
"If I didn't have a following, I think people would say, 'How is he going to fill Carl Sagan's shoes? How is he going to pronounce billion?'" said Tyson to the Associated Press, referring to the hard b in "billion" that Sagan famously would pronounce what became his unofficial catch phrase: "Billions upon billions of stars."
Tyson's series will indeed share many aspects of Sagan's original, including having Tyson stepping on to a "Ship of the Imagination" which will take viewers and their host beyond the stars into the observable universe. However, that ship will be a much more realistic-looking CGI affair, as advances in computer graphics put a new sheen on the series' special effects.
Just like Sagan's Cosmos, Tyson will also use the educational platform as a way to evangelize science, according to a Wired interview with Tyson:
"Every day I wake up and I say, why...how...did I end up with 1.7 million Twitter followers? It's freaky to me, every day, but that tells me that there's an appetite out there that had previously been underserved. There's an inner geek in us all," continued Tyson, "an inner curiosity that people are discovering, and they like it. This is another opportunity in the mainstreaming of science, the fact that during the Super Bowl, there were beer ads, there were car ads, and there were ads for Cosmos."
You can catch Tyson's new version of Cosmos on FOX starting this Sunday at 9 p.m. eastern time. If you're curious about the original, you can watch that for free on YouTube.
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