The “Cosmos” DVD/Blu-ray set consists of four discs, each with its own extra. Should you spring for it? In my opinion – absolutely. Besides all of the great episodes of the show, the extras are terrific.
Disc 1 includes audio commentary on the first episode that provides inside information about how decisions were made for the show.
On disc 2, you get footage of speeches at the 2013 Library of Congress dedication when Seth MacFarlane donated more than 1,700 boxes of Sagan’s papers to the Library. MacFarlane’s speech is the funniest, of course, during which he quips that his donation is an “antidote to all the terrible fart jokes I’ve done on television.”
You will also hear heartfelt speeches from the producer/creator of “Cosmos” (and Sagan’s wife), Ann Druyan, as well as “Cosmos” host Neil DeGrasse Tyson himself. (Read my report on a recent Q&A with Druyan and Tyson.) I thoroughly enjoyed these speeches, in which we hear a lot about Sagan the man. And the stories are tremendously touching.
Tyson tells of his first inspirational meeting with Sagan when he was just 17 years old and their subsequent meetings over the years prior to Sagan’s death. In her speech, Druyan calls for a “Bureau of Science Exciters” like Sagan, Tyson, and Bill Nye. I would include her in that list, as she is just as passionate as Tyson and Nye about science education, and that passion is infectious.
Disc 3’s extra is footage of the entire 40-minute 2013 Comic Con panel for “Cosmos.” Tyson and Druyan talk about some subjects that I’ve never heard them discuss before. Tyson mentions, for example, how he has found a way to get people interested in science by tweeting facts that relate to popular culture. He did this during the Super Bowl and said a tweet that mentioned a scientific fact alongside Beyonce’s name was retweeted more than any other on his Twitter feed.
The final disc provides a “making of” video that not only includes a discussion of why they decided to redo Carl Sagan’s iconic show, but also the technical aspects of the new version. You will learn about the special effects technicians, as well as the show’s composer.
The Blu-ray looks amazingly 3D on my HDTV. If you have kids, the set is great even if they’ve already watched the episodes because it can serve as a reference for school papers. Of course, if you and/or your kids haven’t seen the series, you owe it to yourself to watch. It’s a wonderful marriage of real science with the kinds of visuals that make sci fi so much fun.
Buy “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey [Blu-ray]” on Amazon.