Reviews of Cosmos: A Personal Journey (1980) and related work

Cosmos: A Personal Journey (1980Moving picture, 12 hours)

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

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

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.”

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

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (2014Moving picture, 9 hours)

Seen in 2016.

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 remake non-fiction series