Cosmos: A Waste of Spacetime

I knew I shouldn’t get my hopes up for the remake of Sagan’s extraordinarily great and thoughtful series, but even so, I never expected it to be *this *poor! :smack:

I’ll repeat what I wrote in another post: What really **ruined **it for me was that unlike the original *Cosmos *-- which was lovingly broadcast on PBS – this thing was absolutely **drowning **in innumerable and incredibly disrupting commercials!

It very much seemed that NGT was rushing like crazy to get something said before the next mind-bogglingly awful ad. Gone was the lushly engaging, warmly contemplative pace of Sagan’s approach, and in its place here was NGT speeding to get a tweet-length bit of cheap, inaccurate prose out before Fox cut him off again.

As to the content, why the hell spend so much time grossly exaggerating the importance of Bruno, with a cheap-ass cartoon (it doesn’t deserve the term ‘animation’), no less? Just to get a bit of scientifically irrelevant Church-bashing in?

But to me, the worst part was the treatment of the Big Bang. Completely ignoring the actual science, they ignorantly illustrated the Big Bang as an explosion, and worse yet, NGT referred to it the same stupid way!

Idiots!! The Big Bang was **NOT **an explosion, and in fact that view is one of the first things any potential cosmologist has to unlearn before they begin their studies in earnest. To have an explosion, you have to have something to explode into, but space did not yet exist! It was being created simultaneously.

Some terrible misunderstandings arise if you think of the BB as an explosion. The foremost is that it then becomes “natural” to ask ***where ***the BB occurred, or ***where ***the center of the Universe is. But since it wasn’t an explosion, these concepts are utterly meaningless.

Furthermore, NGT didn’t even *mention *inflation! Sagan had an excuse, as Guth’s idea was just barely coming into public knowledge by the time the original Cosmos was broadcast (and obviously, the series was created well before being broadcast in 1980). But there’s no excuse for this remade piece of dreck!


Get a DVR.

My suspicion is that NGT will go into it in greater detail in a subsequent episode and explain all that. This was more or less the introductory paragraph, not the whole enchilada.

And… from what I understand, space wasn’t “being created simultaneously” as if there was some sort of timeline, but rather was created instantaneously at the very moment of the big bang, and the rest has essentially been expansion and cooling. Close enough to an “explosion” for that episode though.

Again, you sound like it’s all over with in 1 hour. We have quite a few episodes to go… and do you really think NGT would go parrot something that would be so very wrong in that sense?

I somehow doubt that one of the premier science educators of our day would go off saying things that are flat-out wrong.

I’ll wait for the DVD or Netflix.

Who is NGT?'s_Got_Talent

Neil deGrasse Tyson
I haven’t seen any of it yet, but I really hope Bump is right—that he’ll get deeper and more thorough as time (heh) goes on. But it’s on Fox, which means targeted sound bites and stay-tunedness is inherent in the production values. Still, I’m holding my breath.

drastic quench, thank you for the clarify.

Sagan set such a high bar that it would be difficult for almost anyone to meet or exceed what he has done. I’d give NGT a few more episodes to see if this is something that perhaps should have remained on the drawing board.

So, does NdeGT say “billyuns and billyuns”?


Like most people, I already have one. But that can’t solve the actual problem, which is deeper and more fundamental. Skipping the commercials would make it less painful, of course, but the underlying problem is that the creators had to chop the content into easily chewable little bite-size fragments that damages, if not utterly destroys, continuity. That leaves no time for contemplation, for long explanations, for illustrating gradual changes, etc., etc. It’s geared to those with very low concentration spans and the effect is painfully anti-intellectual, quite unlike Sagan’s vision.

Sure there will be more episodes, but there’s no excuse for fibbing now only to tell the truth later! It is fine to abbreviate, but laying out falsehoods is a terrible idea, even if they’re only brief falsehoods.

Your words are a bit ambiguous, so we *might *not actually disagree very much. However, space was definitely *not *created “instantaneously at the very moment of the big bang” if by that you mean some volume of even-limited space existed into which the BB “exploded”. The inflation/expansion of space was completely commensurate/simultaneous with the Big Bang. I stand by my words in the OP.

I’m puzzled by this as well, which is why I pointed it out in my OP. NGT definitely knows better (as does Ann Druyan), so why did they misrepresent the facts? My guess for now is that somewhere along the line (at Fox perhaps?), some knuckle-dragger forced them to dumb it down into imbecility for the sake of network TV ratings.

All in all a very sad thing.

Me: Oh, is that Cosmos?

Wife: It just started. You didn’t miss any new revelations.

Me: I don’t expect us to. This is just a way for other people to catch up some.

Bruno animation sucked. Too long and too concentrated on his “astronomy” while ignoring what really got him executed–which is a flaw in nearly every popular-sciencey look at him–and too much Catholic bashing, which was a sop to the stereotypical Fox viewer, I suppose. :wink:

Another, if definitely smaller, issue I have is with the background music. So far, anyway, they’ve made quite bland choices, sounding like the stuff you get free bundled with video editors and DVD/Blu-Ray authoring software.

Sagan made far superior choices.

I agree completely!

Don’t forget that the political climate is a lot different than it was. A lot of fundamentalists won’t watch PBS, and if PBS had aired Cosmos, you can bet that every Republican in Congress would be calling for hearings and using the show as an excuse to cut funding for public broadcasting. So by airing it on commercial TV, the series gets a broader audience than it would have and with a lot less political controversy, aside from the usual suspects getting their panties in a knot and threatening to boycott the show’s sponsors. And, of course, Seth MacFarlane is one of the producers and Fox needs him as much as, if not more than, he needs them.

And c’mon. This is a pilot episode. The show has 12 episodes to go, and I’m sure that each one will go into a single subject in some depth. Some slack is definitely called for here.

Hmmm… Not that I underestimate the lust of the Right to find pointless windmills to charge, but I don’t really see it in this case. What did you have in mind that they’d complain about? The Roman Catholic Church-bashing? But there it was on Fox anyway! I’m curious what you had in mind.

Be that as it may, busting the content into individual bite-size chunks separated by numerous, seemingly endless high-volume commercials severely damaged the whole presentation! And it’s not all *that *uncommon for the major traditional networks to air some programs with little or no commercial interruptions, so there’s really not much excuse for butchering it so.

I’m not sure what relevance that has, except perhaps to suggest that MacFarlane either didn’t care about the presentation very much or that he had no power to improve it.

Oh, I’ll be recording future episodes, but my guess is that they’re all already in the can, so it seems unlikely that any improvements will be made based on any critical contemporary suggestions.

But a major issue remains, which I referred to above: Why fib now, only to tell the truth later?

Here’s an interesting quotation, cribbed from the Wikipedia article Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

Oh, well. I guess a few corners had to be cut anyway, probably to suit the Suits.


Another minor nit: Was copying Boba Fett’s spacecraft design really the best they could come up with?

I was just watching a NOVA special on the multiverse. Now I’m looking forward to how Cosmos visualizes it.

I don’t like Neil deGrasse Tyson. He seems like kind of a dick. Like the Bob Vila of space.

Well, there are theoretical mutiverses and theoretical multiverses, unfortunately encompassing distinctly different notions (I’ve long held that the dislike of neologisms among scientists has significantly degraded the comprehension of science, particularly among non-scientists). There’s the MWI version (which Martin Gardner, with mixed justification, criticized here: Multiverses and Blackberries, and several other versions, such as that related to the rebuttals against the so-called anthropic principle, and the mulitiverse concept related to inflationary theory, etc., etc.

The problem is, all of these theoretical multiverses are still ***highly ***speculative, and arguably even unscientific (in what I’ll call the neo-Popperian view). The Wikipedia page points to this critical essay by cosmologist Paul Davies in the New York Times: A Brief History of the Multiverse

But I’ll give Tyson a pass on this, because he only says “Many of us suspect” the existence of a multiverse. But the question remains: *which *multiverse, among the many to choose from, will he address?