Remake of "Cosmos"
Open Letter to Ann Druyan, Neil deGrasse Tyson
and others involved
Sagan's Cosmos TV-series has shaped much of my life and commitment
to space exploration. I was also fortunate to meet with Carl
a few times. He always remembered me due to my original family
name - Starlife - which I took after first watching his TV-series
in the early 80's. So naturally, I was very happy to hear
of the coming Cosmos remake. But at the same time, I truly
hope it doesn't fail to live up to Carl's legacy...
me, it wasn't the science facts which made Cosmos special.
I knew most of it long before. Instead, it was Carl's personal
"flavoring", his poetic language, his almost childish
enthusiasm and philosophical approach...
It was also the way he linked the heavens and our quest for
greater understanding with every Human activity throughout
history, seeing the Big Picture. That made Cosmos stand out.
He made science into art and poetry.
I recall sitting in front of the TV, sipping wine and dreaming
myself away in a journey of scientific poetry that helped
form my worldview more than anything else. It was better than
both drugs and religion!
was something new, and still today I have seen nothing quite
like it. So my wish is that the new Cosmos stays true to this
original style. Don't change the concept to fit current society
- try to change current society!
It's so easy to loose that little extra which makes something
unique. One of my old friends, Swedish electronic music pioneer
Ralph Lundsten, said that everyone can be great sometime,
but not all the time. Composers like Beethoven and Bach had
their genial moments, but in daily life they were probably
quite average. Carl Sagan was genial in Cosmos. He and his
team put together something I feel he couldn't even repeat
even had mixed feelings about later versions of the original
Cosmos series. For example, a makeover of the 8th episode
(Travels in Space and Time), changed the background music
during the scooter ride from classic Vivaldi music to some
kind of digital space-age sound - to make it even more cosmic.
But it wasn't Cosmos - just like Daniel Craig isn't James
Bond, lacking the humor and easy-going style his predecessors
had. So I now ask everyone involved: Please don't make the
same mistake with Cosmos. Don't make it into a Stars Wars-like,
special effects-saturated space adventure. Because then you'll
only attract such fans, which is no meaning!
Starlife, Sept. 2011.
deGrasse Tyson's kind reply to Hans L.D.G. Starlife
you for your earnest testimony regarding the original Cosmos
and what identity and features the new one might have. You
raise several important points, each of which we have thought
about deeply, and which I am happy to address below:
We are acutely aware of the most resonant and eternal elements
of the original Cosmos series. You're exactly right: they
were not derived from the encyclopedic information that it
carried. They derived from Carl's likable living-room manner
and the relationship that the viewer developed with the value
and meaning of cosmic discovery - as explorers and as responsible
citizens of planet Earth. We have no intentions of losing
sight of this mission statement, lest we fail in our efforts
to carry the Cosmos legacy forward.
The urge to require that visual vocabulary and music and scenes
and special effects not vary from what so effectively influenced
you, does not recognize that the needs of the now -- culturally,
politically, economically, socially -- are not exactly the
same as they were 31 years ago. That was a generation ago.
So we will not hesitate to tap our collective awareness of
society's current and emergent needs to ensure that the next
Cosmos will have no less an impact on the next generation
of viewers than the original Cosmos had on its cold-war,
pre-Reagan, pre-personal computer, pre-CableTV, pre-HD audience.
So with regard to impact, our expectations will be that the
next Cosmos will be no different from the original.
Apart from commercial breaks, in which the next Cosmos will
differ from the original, you needn't fear that our scientific
and creative principles will be compromised by any known force
in the universe.
for your interest and your support.