The third season of the Cosmos franchise arrives tonight on Fox and National Geographic, somewhat dented in my opinion by the second season’s loose approach to the scientific and historical facts. At one point, due to personal controversies around host Neil deGrasse Tyson, it seemed uncertain that Cosmos 3.0, “Possible Worlds,” would be released at all. But here it is at last.
The second season (2014) spun a misleading narrative celebrating the triumph of rational, secular scientific culture over benighted, supposedly irrational and anti-science religion. That the new season debuts amid a culture-wide panic attack over a little-known virus, complete with a stock market crash and toilet-paper hoarding, is not what you would call the best timing.
Oddly, in the trailer, Dr. Tyson is barely glimpsed, and not heard at all. Instead, the narrating here is all done by Carl Sagan, star of the iconic, original Cosmos (1980), who died in 1996:
But the charismatic Tyson does return as host in “Possible Worlds.” And Evolution News will be tuning in to see how he performs.
Mandatory in Schools?
Our staff’s critique and analysis of Cosmos 2.0 appeared in book form as The Unofficial Guide to Cosmos: Fact and Fiction in Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Landmark Science Series, which I edited. Many of the themes of Cosmos, in both its iterations, were examined at much greater scholarly depth by Discovery Institute science historian Michael Keas in his book Unbelievable: 7 Myths About the History and Future of Science and Religion.
Our motivation in this work was partly the concern that the series would end up being used in schools. The same worry might well apply to Cosmos 3.0. As a commenter on the trailer enthuses, it is a “A documentary that should be mandatory at school.” Says another, “Cosmos should be made mandatory in school curriculum[s].”
The trailer is well done, and no doubt the production values for the season as a whole will be high. Tyson on screen is never less than an enjoyable personality. You can watch, too, at 8 pm/7 pm Central. Let me know what you think!
Image: Host Neil deGrasse Tyson glimpsed in a screenshot from the trailer for Cosmos 3.0, “Possible Worlds.”