Neil DeGrasse Tyson's 'Cosmos' debuts: Can a black scientist be TV's new breakout star?

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There’s a new program on television that features space travel, alien-looking sea creatures, time travel, awe-inspiring special effects and thought-provoking insight about life as we know it.

No, it’s not some existential new sci-fi HBO series, it’s a 13-episode Fox mini-series about the universe called Cosmos: A Space Odyssey. Hosted by astrophysicist and science rock star Neil deGrasse Tyson, the show is a revamp of Carl Sagan’s show of the same name that premiered over thirty years ago.

One of the greatest things about Cosmos is that it takes science out of the stagnant pages of dusty text books and presents a dynamic, easy to follow narrative filled with dazzling visuals and interesting facts.

“Jupiter’s great red spot, a hurricane three times the size of our whole planet, has been raging for centuries,” said Tyson in the first episode. A little turn of phrase like that puts Earth into context with the rest of the universe.  It’s a welcome respite from the navel gazing and cultural mockery we find on television nowadays.  This series is not about women and men running or dancing depending on paternity results. This series is not about adults coming to blows about what he said/she said in front of reality TV cameras.  This series is not a sitcom filled with sub-par writing and stereotypical antics.

Cosmos is truly a show the whole family can watch together and everyone can learn something.  Just recently, Patrick A. Howell wrote about how he and his wife make sure to have a bigger impact on their son than mainstream media and how much he appreciates that he can share the new Cosmos series with his family.

“What I believe is the basis of Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson’s thought process: a universe without limitation. He speaks to our children like a Pied Piper far more convincingly than the conniving cabal of naysaying sycophants in Hollywood,” wrote Howell for

It just so happens that one of the most famous scientists in the world right now, Tyson, is a black man and he’s heading up a show that will undoubtedly have an impact on millions of people.

If I sound a tad giddy, it’s because I am. Cosmos is awesome. Unless you work in the science field or have kids, chances are that you haven’t thought much about how the universe works in quite some time. What a refreshing way to look at the world. Today, we are so obsessed with documenting each outfit and meal on Instagram and gaining new followers on Twitter, that sometimes we lose sight of how small we really are in this universe and in the grand scheme of things. It’s a much-needed bit of humility in this increasingly narcissistic world.

If you missed the first episode, you can watch it online. 

Have you checked out Cosmos yet? What did you think of it?

Follow Demetria Irwin on Twitter at @Love_Is_Dope and connect with her on Facebook.