The new “Cosmos” might be called the Large Hadron Collider of pop science: expensive, splashy and ambitious. After a series of special showings this week, including one at the White House, it will be shown in 170 countries and 45 languages, on Fox and on the National Geographic Channel — the largest global opening ever for a television series, according to Ann Druyan, Dr. Sagan’s widow and his collaborator on the original “Cosmos,” who is an executive producer and a writer and director of the new series.
I’m not going to pretend to be neutral here. I hope it succeeds and that everyone watches it, not just because I have known Ms. Druyan and admired Dr. Tyson for years, but because we all need a unifying dose of curiosity and wonder.
“Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” comes at a critical moment for a society that is increasingly fragmented.
If we are going to decide big issues, like eating genetically modified food, fracking for natural gas, responding to the prospect of drastic climate change, exploring space or engaging in ambitious science research, we are going to have to start from some common experience.
As Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the longtime senator from New York, once said, everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts. So where are we going to get them?
In science, as in other areas of our culture, there is no dearth of voices, but are we paying attention? In the new New Age, it’s all about which cable channels you watch or whom you follow on Twitter.
We could use a national conversation that is not about scandal or sports. If everybody watches the new “Cosmos,” we can talk about it the way we once argued about “The Sopranos” every Monday morning.