Science documentaries have a tough challenge. They have to attract a wide-reaching audience larger than the usual academics, teachers and students, without dumbing down science to get our attention.
Cosmos is the kind of TV series that goes beyond the typically overcomplicated approach to science. The original series, hosted by astronomer during the ’80s, was rebooted in 2014 with astrophysicist at the helm. The return proved to be immensely popular, grabbing audiences with its impressive VFX and animations, storytelling and dramatic reenactments to show how history can help us transform the present into a better future.
Six years later, Tyson is back for the sequel to the sequel: Cosmos: Possible Worlds.
Premiering March 9 on National Geographic, the new season doesn’t take the doomsday approach to Earth’s current threats like climate change. Instead, it offers a positive outlook on how we as humans can work together toward a better world.
“This season dares to imagine the glorious future that our species can still have if we change how we think of the Earth,” says Ann Druyan, Cosmos’ executive producer. “Most pop culture shows the future of Earth as very dystopian and sick. But to me, we need to see the positive to rescue our civilization. That’s what inspired me in this new season of Cosmos.”
Druyan co-created the original Cosmos series with her husband Carl Sagan 40 years ago, as well as curated theon NASA’s twin Voyager space probes. She sees Cosmos as a way to reach people who don’t normally watch TV shows about science.
“Cosmos is successful because we make big scientific ideas easier to understand and connect to,” says Druyan. “Science has been so compartmentalized and kept separate from our spiritual longing. But for me personally, there is not greater spiritual uplift than knowing about nature. The tragedy is that the sciences are all separated from each other, which doesn’t make sense. They’re taught in a way that forgets to tell the stories of the people behind science discoveries.”