cosmos producers interviews neil degrasse tyson fox 'Cosmos': A 'stunning,' 'magical mystery tour' to revive popular science for the world

The executive producers of “Cosmos” think big. Considering the show they’re making, that’s probably a good thing. Still, it’s impressive to hear producers Seth MacFarlane, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Brannon Braga, Ann Druyan (original “Cosmos” creator Carl Sagan’s partner and widow) and Mitchell Cannold talk about the scale of what they hope this revival will accomplish.

How big? Zap2it talked to the people behind “Cosmos” at the show’s world premiere on Tuesday (March 4). Their thoughts are below.

Seth MacFarlane

“I have been a fan of ‘Cosmos’ since I was a kid.

“I was having lunch in New York with Neil a couple of years ago. And I said, ‘Is there anything I can help out with? I’m a huge science enthusiast.’ And he said, ‘We’re looking to reboot “Cosmos,” we’re looking at some of the science channels.’ And I said, ‘Do you mind if I took you into FOX to pitch it there, because you’re kind of pitching to the converted when it comes to cable.’ One of the things that the original ‘Cosmos’ did so well was reach so many people.

“I hope people take away a new enthusiasm for science that they’ve forgotten they had. We’re an inherently curious species and in the past two decades, we’ve sort of forgotten about how to be curious about the big things in the universe.”

Neil deGrasse Tyson

“It’s not like we’re taking pages from a textbook and handing them to you. We’re demonstrating that science is all around you and is a fundamental part of what it is to be alive. It’s the pathways to solutions for the greatest challenges we’re facing in energy, in health, security — there’s all these 21st-century challenges. You’re not going to get it by hoping for solutions.

“I think there’s three groups of people: Those who already know they like science, those who don’t know that they would like science and those who think they don’t like science. And ‘Cosmos’ is for all those people and for everybody else with a beating heart. Because I think if it succeeds, it will affect you not only intellectually but emotionally.”

Ann Druyan

“I started thinking about doing a new ‘Cosmos’ about seven years ago. Mitchell Cannold, one of my fellow executive producers, and I went around to the usual suspects of networks that might be interested in the show. It didn’t really take off until Seth MacFarlane became involved. He was a great fan of the original series, he had a real passion for it.

“We’re telling stories we haven’t told before. And we are going to introduce you to heroes, to searchers who the world is not really familiar with. Yes, there will be some of the household names, but it’s mostly unsung heroes who had very dramatic lives and struggles. It was possible for me — because I think we are so story-driven as a species — to convey the ideas in the context of these struggles.

“The thing I hope most is that ‘Cosmos’ will break down our defenses, and we’ll awaken from our stupor to protect the ancient continuity of life that science reveals.”

Brannon Braga

“I was a huge fan of the original — it had a huge impact on me … It was a point of view of the world seen through the lens of science, looking for reality based on facts, searching for truth and accepting what we don’t know.

“One of the major things that we revived is the cosmic calendar. It makes more appearances here. What it does is give more of a sense of time — we’ve only been here a couple minutes on the calendar year. I’m really proud of it because we’ve done it in a way that’s really visually stunning.

“There are all sorts of new things too — like the Libraries of Alexandria are in this. But there are tons of new things too, like the Halls of Extinction — it’s a big, imaginary museum where all five mass-extinction events are pictured as dioramas of death.”

Mitchell Cannold

“There’s a single, overriding mission for the new ‘Cosmos’ series. And that’s to reach out to as wide and deep a global audience on a long-term basis to remind them that science is full of magic and full of wonder and it’s exciting. I grew up in an age of the astronauts, so I had heroes to look to. But my kids and their kids don’t necessarily, so this is to bring a whole new set of heroes and the discoveries that they have made and power and excitement for kids in particular and also their families to help build our future.

“‘Cosmos’ covers the full range of science from the farthest reaches of the cosmos to the microscopic world inside a dewdrop. Be prepared for a real magical, mystery tour, a roller coaster ride.”

“Cosmos” premieres Sunday (March 9) at 9 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.

Posted by:Laurel Brown