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Mar. 30th, 2014 @ 10:56 pm Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey - Part 4
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Spiketail Hatchling
Jeez! Four episodes already. It's not really fair to compare the two Cosmoses together anymore since they've diverged pretty far from each other. Episode 4 of the original series ("Heaven and Hell") began by covering comets and asteroids, planetary moons, and cosmic disasters. It ended on a very sad note about how humankind is treating our Earth. It packed a lot of whallop with its usual 1980s bells and whistles.

Tyson's Cosmos dealt more with galaxies and black holes. The biography (if we can call it that) was for William Hershel, though he mentioned his son, and Einstein got his play. This is really closer to Epsiode VII in the original series ("Space and Time").

This said, looking forward, I really wish Tyson had spoken about how the nuclear furnace inside stars work. I wish he'd mentioned the Doppler effect the way Sagan did. By episode 4 in the series, Sagan had already taught us much about gravity, spectrometry, matter, and how things worked together, so the new series is really lagging behind. Tyson, this episode, got so close to talking about the four traditional forces of nature. It would've been the perfect opportunity. Since he's lagging behind, future episodes might have to get a little technically messy, or topics bluntly excluded... which is a shame. I don't want Cosmos to be just another science show.

Tyson wasn't all bad. He hinted at the relationship between space and time. This could've used some elaboration, though. While Sagan's gravity episode (coming in a future review) actually made sense, Tyson merely stated that gravity was a distortion of space-time. The things he did superbly was showing what would happen if we removed gravity, then if we increased it. It made a good segue to the black hole talk. Incidentally, he showed stars turning on from the condensation of interstellar gasses... which was pretty rad. He also showed us the most distant galaxy visible by radio telescopes and revisited the cosmic calendar. The best thing, though, was a brief recreation of the scene where he met Carl Sagan. It was pretty touching.

Another brief complaint about the new series— I realized watching "Heaven and Hell" that Carl Sagan is very particular about a sense of scale. I know I mentioned this before in regards to the Cosmic Calendar... but Sagan really points out the scale of things in a way that Tyson doesn't [yet].

This said, I still prefer the original series with its depth of coverage and how I walk away from it feeling like I understand more of the cosmos. It dawned on me today, also, that it had a more enjoyable soundtrack (for what it's worth). The new series seems a bit vacuous. Pretty pictures with no real lessons. I'm hoping that it gets better-- it already hints that it does.