Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

Common Sense Media says

Update of Sagan classic is smart, visually spectacular.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Underscores the value of 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

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.


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. 

Not applicable

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

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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. 

Parents say

Kids say

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 by offering 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. 

Families can talk 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? 

TV details

Cast:Neil deGrasse Tyson
Networks:Fox, National Geographic Channel
Topics:History, Space and aliens
TV rating:NR
Available on:Streaming

This review of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Educator Written bynicolew2 October 13, 2014
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old October 12, 2014
Great science show for the whole family. VERY educational.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old August 26, 2014

Review is wrong

The statement that there is no blood/injury shown is completely wrong. It is a wonderfully educational show, and the visuals are excellent. However there is quite a bit of violence in later episodes, a man's eyes are injured (injury not shown, but bloodied hands covering it is), a young boy is crushed by a falling house and he is shown, alive, but covered in blood. Many deaths shown, but not violent ones (most of old age), even with the paper-cut-out-like animation, the violence can be quite tense and realistic. Some uses of "hell" damn" and "a--". Also, some characters drink wine and smoke. All in all, very educational and intelligent show, but watch out for violence.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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