Cosmically bad

Spencer Doar

During the period when the HBO Go app went down last night due to the number of folks trying to watch the finale of “True Detective,” I figured I might as well check in on Fox’s “Cosmos,” a reboot based off the beloved Carl Sagan series of the ‘80s.  If I couldn’t get my dose of Harrelson and McConaughey, I might as well have a bit of the charismatic “Cosmos” host, Neil deGrasse Tyson.

For 15 minutes I was confused and disappointed at Fox’s version, jumping back to HBO the moment opportunity presented itself.   While educational science programming on a major network during the precious Sunday night time slot is laudable, this series premiere’s format didn’t cut it.  I understand why creators wanted to use the calendar analogy to make geological timeframes more approachable.  I understand their desire to use as much CGI as possible to illustrate the glory of the universe, and thus, science.  I understand the urge to have Tyson walking through different time periods, a shepherd for the birth of the world as we know it. 

But, as a whole, it doesn’t work.  There are too many things happening on too many levels.  The appearance of Tyson standing next to early Earthly species was disconcerting in a way that “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” never was (even with moments like THIS).  Then there are those wonky animations — what the heck?  It was like a 10-year-old proficient in Final Cut went through an array of Oscar-shunned animated features, picked some disturbing stuff about medieval scientists and cobbled it together with a poorly presented TED talk.  Gross. 

It may be “dazzling” as some critics are saying, but only dazzling in the sense of an expensive, confetti-laden train derailing .  There’s plenty of other, worthier science programming out there, so avoid this watered down, disjointed monstrosity.