"Cosmos," the long-ago PBS classic that turned Carl Sagan's brilliant prose into a magnificent series (and, incidentally, gave Johnny Carson a standard quip deploying Sagan's "billions and BILLIONS" phrase), has been rebooted by Fox and Seth MacFarlane.
And yes, that sounds like a punchline, too.
But watch this promo for "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" with host Neil deGrasse Tyson, and tell me that you, the non-science-or-astronomy-loving viewer, are not just the slightest bit intrigued. It is, as you would imagine, a promo that indicates a mashup of Fox sensibilities with PBS or Discovery Channel ones. And any indication of MacFarlane-esque touches -- which you can well imagine would have sent Sagan screaming into a Black Hole -- are not apparent either.
Which -- yes -- is a good thing.
I have high hopes for this series mostly because deGrasse Tyson is attached, and so is Ann Druyan, Sagan's widow, who had a major role in the production and writing of the original "Cosmos." Also because MacFarlane, for all his fratboy bad-taste excesses, is an astro-nerd at heart, knows and appreciates Sagan's considerable accomplishments.
At least let's hope. A 13-parter arrives early March.
The promo, and now, strap yourselves and crank up the volume.
(Newsday app readers, please go to Newsday.com/tvzone to see something by Seth MacFarlane that doesn't offend.)