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 criticism, since the visuals really draw in younger viewers. The celestial CGI looks great and the animated segments featuring historic figures from science are fun to watch and informative. In many ways, the show seems to be made to appeal to kids, though it's certainly sophisticated enough to keep adults interested.
Even with the top-quality production, the real star is Neil deGrasse Tyson. Like Sagan, he radiates wonder and enthusiasm; unlike Sagan, he's never monotone (sorry, Carl, but sometimes you were!). Tyson projects the perfect mix of intelligence and likability, giving the eloquent script -- written by Sagan's widow and original series writer, Ann Druyan -- just the right voice. He's like your favorite uncle, telling exciting stories about things that would seem dull from any other source.
Personally, I'm finding it a pleasure to have something this good to watch with my kids. I think smart kids over 8 will be able to follow most of it, and tweens and up will definitely learn something. Be warned that, while not disparaging of personal faith in any way, the show does not shy away from noting how religious doctrine is often at odds with science. To its credit, it shows that thinkers such as Giordano Bruno, Galileo, and Newton -- who ran afoul of the religious leaders of their day -- were motivated not by atheism but by deeply held beliefs that they were exploring the full scope of creation -- something worth remembering in age where, sadly, many people still seem to think science and religion remain at odds.