Cosmos: A Personal Journey (1980) IMDb

Creators

Ann Druyan (writer), Steven Soter (writer), Carl Sagan (writer and cast).

Extent

Review refers to a version with added “Update” segments.

Categorization

Lyrical, often visualizing quite wild suppositions in fluffy language. 13 one-hour episodes.

Subject

The nature, history and competitors of both natural science and life on Earth, set against the backdrop of the objective universe according to Carl Sagan. “These are some of the things that hydrogen atoms do, given 15 billion years of cosmic evolution.”

Commentary

Science being a self-correcting system, the facts age. The graphics have aged more poorly, but the tone balances optimism and pessimism very admirably. Good music, including Tangerine Dream and Vangelis before he was cool.

References here: Documentary: A History of the Non-Fiction Film (1974/1983).

moving picture non-fiction series

Remake:

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (2014) IMDb

Extent

Seen in 2016.

Commentary

I love the cel-style animation for historical sequences. The original’s problem with fluffy language persists here, aided by sometimes excessive focus on spectacle. The scripts seem to meander more. I didn’t learn much, but of course I’m not the target audience.

moving picture non-fiction series