Until I heard his distinctive mellifluous voice, I'd forgotten how much I'd missed Carl Sagan and Cosmos.
Sure, his apocryphal "billions and billions" line and the geeky in-jokes about how he was never actually at Cornell --where he supposedly taught-- had obscured the overall breadth and depth of his work, but I knew that eventually I'd check the videos out of the library sometime to share with the kids. That time is now, when my middle kid is the same age I was when Cosmos first aired on television.
Carl's view of the world, driven from his anti-Cold War stance, is a bit dated, but given the uncertainty of the world we live in, it is still surprisingly apt. Even though Cosmos had aired before Voyager had reached Saturn and long before Pluto and it's like-sized brethren in the Outer Solar System had been reduced to Dwarf Planet status (along with the promotion of the asteroid Ceres), the show still has legs. Because Carl had focused on the relationships of the discoveries and rediscoveries to our place in the cosmos, the show still can leave you spellbound. Carl, his wife Ann Druyan, and Steven Soter were no slouches with the pen, either, carrying on the proud tradition of great scientific television that people such as James Burke (Connections, The Day the Universe Changed) and Jacob Bronowski (The Ascent of Man) championed.
I couldn't resist watching the first episode, The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean, just after the kids had gone to bed for the night. This morning, the younger two had caught the first five minutes of the show, and I had to practically shoo them out the door to go to school. I smiled and nodded. I knew what it was like to watch for the first time.
- On the Shores of the Cosmic Ocean