When shows about ancient aliens and searching for Bigfoot dominate networks like Discovery and the History Channel, it's refreshing to see actual scientific programming hit the airwaves -- especially on a major player like Fox.
"Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" -- a reboot of the late Carl Sagan's 1980 PBS series -- debuted Sunday night, across a bevy of Fox networks, bringing the many wonders of the universe to primetime audiences.
Produced by "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane and hosted by famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the 13-episode series debuted with a bang -- Big Bang-style.
Using an amalgam of CGI effects and actual space footage, Tyson gave viewers a concise yet thorough break down of the history of the universe, as well as how we came to understand our place in it.
While the stylized animation is a notable upgrade from Sagan's "Cosmos," having Tyson as the host also gave the show an element of gravitas and wit that educational series typically lack. From reminding viewers Pluto isn't a planet to calling out the dogmatic ways of organized religions, Tyson delivered the cold, hard facts without an hint of condescension -- think: a science-loving Morgan Freeman.
Going up against heavyweight programming, including AMC's "The Walking Dead" and the finale of HBO's "True Detective," "Cosmos" was able to make a splash on social media, showing that with the right production, science can be cool in 2014.
I am so into @COSMOSonTV I hope it never ends— Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) March 10, 2014
"Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" airs Sundays on Fox at 9 pm and will be rebroadcast on National Geographic on Mondays at 10 pm.
About Viewer Discretion
ContributorsKatie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.
Sarah Rodman is a TV and music critic for the Boston Globe.
Meghan Colloton is a Things to Do and Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.
Michael Brodeur is the assistant arts editor for the Boston Globe, covering pop music, TV, and nightlife.