Carl Sagan's Cosmos, Television

Cosmos (1980) Disc 1 Review



Carl Sagan

Disc 1

#1The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean

Original Air Date: September 28, 1980

Synopsis: Carl Sagan takes us from Earth into space and back again in an attempt to find Earth’s place in the universe.

Impressions: Wow. As a child of the late 80s/early 90s, I’m shocked I never saw this in school. Very much late 70s in style, but not cheesy. The still images are breath-taking. Sagan, while a bit monotone, makes for a wonderful host. He doesn’t talk down to, or above his audience. This episode follows the chapter in the book as they all do, and I’m looking forward to what’s in store.

Rating: 4/5


#2One Voice in the Cosmic Fugue

Original Air Date: October 5, 1980

Synopsis: While discussing life on Earth, Carl Sagan ponders the possibility of other life forms in the cosmos.

Impressions: Biology, not astronomy, is at the core of this episode. In the last episode, Sagan shows in simple ways how an ancient Egyptian disproved the “flat Earth” theory. Here, he proves evolution is fact and not theory. We witness one of Sagan’s colleagues at Cornell perform an experiment and create the building blocks of life in a sterile lab environment. The episode ends with an update from 1990 examining comets and how they brought both life and death to Earth.

Rating: 4/5


#3Harmony of the Worlds

Original Air Date: October 12, 1980

Synopsis: Carl Sagan guides us through a history of astronomy while taking a brief look at astrology.

Impressions: More of a Kepler biography than anything else. Newton gets time in print, but none in the episode. I enjoyed reading the chapter more than watching the episode. There’s not a lot of cool space stuff here.

Rating: 3/5


#4Heaven and Hell

Original Air Date: October 19, 1980

Synopsis: Carl Sagan examines comets and the planet Venus.

Impressions: When one think of Cosmos, it’s an episode like this that comes to mind. Sagan takes a look at more than comets and Venus. He explains what creates them, and how we can learn much about or Heaven (Earth) from their Hell. Greenhouse effects and climate change gets discussed, especially in a 10-year update piece at the end of the original episode. Perhaps more than any episode so far, Sagan’s love of the subject and teaching is on display.

Rating: 4/5

Copyright © Drew Martin 2018


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