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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Cosmos: Possible Worlds is a spin-off of 2014's Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey -- itself an updated take on Carl Sagan's landmark 1980 TV series Cosmos -- that explores potential future scientific discoveries based on current research-based theories and explanations. Like its sister series, it has lots of brilliant visual effects, ranging from cosmic explosions to prehistoric (and potentially new) species of animals, and host Neil deGrasse Tyson explains things in understandable ways. Younger viewers may find narratives about the destruction of the planet, documented religious and political obstacles to scientific inquiry, and other heavy topics potentially unsettling. Violent acts against people are occasionally shown in animated form (without blood or gore). All of this is offered within an educational context and underscores the valuable role of scientific exploration and discovery in helping humanity progress.
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What's the story?
COSMOS: POSSIBLE WORLDS explores what humanity's future can potentially look like if we focus on scientific exploration and progress. Host Neil deGrasse Tyson travels in his "Ship of the Imagination" and guides viewers through visually dramatic voyages while breaking down the scientific revelations that point to lost worlds, undiscovered habitats, and cosmic wonders yet to be formed. It highlights how this works and how current technology is being used to help us find future answers to human-created problems, like climate change.
Cosmos: Possible Worlds also looks at the work of early scientists and references some of the documented obstacles they faced over centuries to continue their work. These include backlash from those who reject the theory of evolution and the existence of heliocentric (sun-centered) systems, as well as political pressures from skeptical governments. Throughout it all, it reminds us what wonderful things can be discovered if we remain curious, and how science can be used to find solutions, rather than to simply identify problems. Other people involved or starring in the series include Seth McFarlane (who is also co-executive producer), Viggo Mortensen, Patrick Stewart, Judd Hirsch, and Sasha Sagan (the daughter of Carl Sagan and co-executve producer Ann Druyan).
Is it any good?
This inspiring installment of the Cosmos franchise offers a mesmerizing viewing experience as it reveals what current scientific exploration is telling us about the potential wonders our future may hold. It contextualizes these conversations by offering some interesting history behind what is happening in the universe, and it identifies scientists who studied phenomena in hopes of helping humanity propel itself forward. The role of technology is also highlighted. Cosmos: Possible Worlds is as beautiful as it is interesting and is an important testament to the power of imagination and scientific exploration to keep humanity moving forward.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the reasons why Cosmos: Possible Worlds promotes things like curiosity, imagination, and perseverance. How do these skills help us become better humans and move forward with our lives?
How does history teach us about science and scientific discovery? Are the historical accounts covered in this series told from a specific point of view? Which one(s)?
Throughout history, many scientists were challenged by faith-based and political institutions, economic circumstances, and other obstacles when pursuing their lines of inquiry. Why? Does this still happen today?
- Premiere date: March 9, 2020
- Cast: Neil deGrasse Tyson
- Networks: National Geographic Channel, Fox
- Genre: Educational
- Topics: STEM, History, Science and Nature, Space and Aliens
- Character strengths: Curiosity, Perseverance
- TV rating: TV-14
- Available on: Streaming
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: May 14, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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