Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey TV Poster Image
Update of Sagan classic is smart, visually spectacular.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 11 reviews

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Underscores the value of curiosity and using scientific research and methods to understand nature and the universe. Reinforces an appreciation for science, nature, space, and study. Themes include the conflicts between early scientific theories and various Christian faiths. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Host Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist with a flair for explaining complicated things in a way most people can understand. He's an inspiring role model because he's incredibly smart, but he seems really down-to-earth.

Violence

Explosions and other violent interplanetary events shown. Historical accounts of scientific theories and theorists include tales of torture and executions, including burning people at the stake. Animated sequences show people shackled and wearing punishment devices; the start of sentences being carried out are shown, but no blood, wounds, or actual deaths are visible. 

Sex
Language

The word "hell" is used to describe certain locations. 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is an adaptation of Carl Sagan's award-winning TV series Cosmos (1980) and continues the show's tradition of offering scientific research-based explanations about the creation of the universe and related phenomena. Host Neil deGrasse Tyson inspires kids to think about their place in the world with a relatable but smart approach. Kids will see fiery galactic explosions, and some of the historical accounts reference torture and executions (though no blood or wounds are shown). The word "hell" is occasionally used but in a specific context. Kids might be initially put off by the show's deliberately slow pace, but chances are that the show's themes and visual effects will draw some of them in. 

User Reviews

Parent of a 10 and 13 year old Written byMattmchugh April 16, 2014

Beautifully done, solid content, and Tyson makes its accessible

For those who remember Carl Sagan's "Cosmos," this update goes more for eye-candy graphics than big, ponderous ideas. That's not meant as a... Continue reading
Adult Written byShirley G. June 5, 2017

Very anti-God

I was thrilled with a couple episodes, informative in a visually stimulating way. Then the host managed to darken the whole series by beginning to sprinkle in h... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old April 5, 2014

Blows your mind

Mind blowing. You won't believe your eyes. Neil DeGrasse Tyson makes it easy to understand and thrilling. It is hard to believe we are only in the last 14... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byNicky12345 April 25, 2014

AMazing

Some episodes contained words like dammit.

What's the story?

Hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY explores humanity's quest to understand the universe. The science-driven series invites viewers to take a journey on a ship of imagination to discover the details behind the creation and sustenance of the cosmos. Viewers also get a glimpse of what it may look like in the future. Historical accounts of the efforts of early scientists to learn more about the universe also are offered. From understanding how Earth was created to addressing questions about the beginning of life, the series takes a fascinating look at our world and beyond.

Is it any good?

The adventure documentary is an updated version of Carl Sagan's Emmy-award winning TV show Cosmos (1980), and it pays tribute to the astronomer's contributions to the study of the universe. Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey offers viewers interesting and understandable scientific explanations about our world, the universe, and other fascinating phenomena. Meanwhile, thanks to the work of director and producer Brannon Braga (known for his work with the Star Trek franchise), the series boasts lots of sleek special effects that create visually stunning moments. 

The way Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey offers details about the universe and beyond are entertainingly educational, and the stories it tells about early astronomers such as Copernicus and Galileo, as well as important but often-forgotten philosophers such as Giordano Bruno, also are very interesting. But it's the show's thoughtful enthusiasm for using science as a way of understanding our world, and what exists beyond it, that makes it outstanding. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the way science is used to explain things we can't see or hear. How do scientists gather information to describe how the universe was created, even though the event happened millions of years ago? How do they know that they are right (or wrong)? What are some of the past and current controversies surrounding scientific explanations of things such as the shape of our planet or the beginning of life?

  • What is the difference between a reality show and a documentary series? Should a documentary be considered a work of fiction when it uses things such as imaginary space crafts and special effects to explain things? 

  • How does Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey promote curiosity? Why is this an important character strength?

TV details

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