Last nights Cosmos was better than it has been in a couple weeks, and some of the visuals were stunning. But alas, the Czar finds this program is failing in its mission.
We all knew the re-take would be inferior to Carl Sagans 1980 masterpiece, in which every episode was engaging, warm, and impressive. Neil deGrasse Tyson, a charming individual, lacks the joy of delivery so evident in Sagans monologues. A couple of faults the Czar is detecting as a pattern?
First, the snarky cynicism. Tyson understands that science is important, but he assumes the viewer does not. Too often he poses a rhetorical question about whether any of this is important, why it matters, oras he put it two weeks agoso what? This strikes us as off-putting after a while. A better mechanism is to continue pulling the viewer deeper into the story and making them see the importance for itself, rather than stopping everything to ask why any of this information is essential to the viewer.
Second, the show seems to skip around quite a bit. Last night, there were multiple instances of Tyson teasing about something really neat and then adding we will get more information on that later. Later when? In the show? In the series? In another season? And then, after teasing us, we jump back to something discussed previously and pick up where that left off. This is strange continuity, and it lacks the flow of information.
There were bright spots: the animation is good, and a segment showing how Newton inspired Faraday, and Faraday inspired Maxwell, and how Maxwell was essential to Einstein was well done, showing the continuity of information and inspiration. And a simple diagram of our galaxy explaining why Young Earth Creationism cannot be correct was sensitively and simply handled.
We are now a few episodes into the series and still feels like it is struggling to find its voice. Or even its legs. Our 9-year-old Царевич is a fan of the show, and had some follow-up questions for the Czar regarding what was presented. Not surprisingly, the Czar used some of the explanations Sagan used in the original series and the boy understood immediately. He even made a predictionthat if light is bent around a massive-enough object, you might be able to see whats behind the objectthat the Czar was quick to demonstrate with a photo of gravitational lensing. All thatfrom a summary of a description from the original show. Neil deGrasse Tyson has big shoes to fill, and they might be too big.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.