I'm not a Seth McFarlane fan. I don't watch any of his animated shows, detested the one episode I watched of his live-action sitcom "Dads," and thought he did a horrible job as host of the Oscars last year. But I am glad that he used his influence at Fox to convince the network to air an updated version of "Cosmos" with Neil deGrasse Tyson.
The legendary Carl Sagan and his wife Ann Druyan created the original in 1980 with astronomer Steven Soter, and the latter two worked closely with Tyson on the new version, which will roll out in 13 weekly episodes beginning March 9th. Tyson seems like the right guy for the job -- with his recurring appearances on Jon Stewart's and Stephen Colbert's shows, and more than a million and a half Twitter followers, he connects with people in an easy, non-ponderous manner that makes the subject that much more palatable to the masses.
In an era when anti-science and pseudo-science get far too many free passes in the media, it will be nice to see a show that promotes real science, hopefully in a way that engages an even bigger audience than Sagan did the first time around. Appearing before TV critics in LA recently, Druyan said:
When Carl Sagan was alive, you know, we wrote for Parade magazine. We weren’t trying to preach to the converted. We wanted to evoke in people, who might have even had hostility to science, a sense of wonder, the questioning, or to excite people who thought that science was just too challenging to dream about the universe of space and time.