Thursday, June 30, 2005

COSMOS

My seven-disk COSMOS set just arrived from Texas (I bought it off eBay). In retrospect, I grew concerned it might be a rip-off since it was billed as being for the Asian market. Sure enough, it's got some Chinese printing on it, even on the box, but get this... it says "made and printed in the USA". I'm pretty sure it's the genuine article; just something made for the overseas market, rather than in an overseas market. My one concern now is... is it region 1, or do I have to leave North America to watch it? :) I guess I should open it. Man, even taking it out of the shrink wrap seems wrong somehow... it looks so lovely and pristine...

Well, the labels on the DVDs, if they're bogus, are certainly cunning. No cheap inkjet printouts; it's a major commercial job. I'm pretty sure I didn't get a bootleg version. I feel good that I have the real thing. Still can't tell if it's region 1 to look at it. Maybe it's region 0, and will play anywhere. Well, one way to test it... my laptop plays DVDs.

[Fifteen minutes later] Yup... it plays. Wow. I can't believe how moving it is, seeing it again. Tears actually fell from my eyes at the swell of the opening credits. I had forgotten just how powerful this is, especially when Ann Druyan sets it up by reminding us of the what we were facing in 1980, with the Cold War and all. I don't know our fate as a species, but if we do one day die out and are replaced by someone else... lemurs or raccoons or squirrels or someone... if I could only bequeath them one thing from our species, COSMOS would be it. It's who we are (good and bad), where we came from, and what we aspired to.

Just this morning, ironically, I was reading my tattered old copy of COSMOS (first real hardcover book I ever bought), and Sagan was lamenting all the things that science in 1980 could do, but wasn't able to (the will wasn't there). Roving vehicles on Mars, trips to comets, probes to the atmosphere of Titan. Looking at that list, it suddenly struck me just how crucial he's been to the exploration of space over the past 25 years, and how bitter it is that he missed out on seeing all those things by less than a decade.

Anyway, I have COSMOS at last... I'll be able to see it for the first time since the early 90s, and peruse it in a way I was never able but ached to when I was 12 or 13.

2 comments:

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

I've never heard of COSMOS, but I guess I would have been watching the Smurfs when it was on TV.

Lone Primate said...

Wow, Kyle, you never heard of COSMOS? I have a buddy who's not quite a generation older than me who managed to miss it (it was being carried in Toronto on WNED in Buffalo, on Sunday nights, I believe), but he'd heard of it. I suppose if you're just a little younger me -- five years, say -- it really wouldn't have meant anything to you. Over the years it was repeated on PBS a few times, I think, and Carl Sagan himself became kind of iconic and even cliche ("billions and billions..."). I wouldn't be surprised by the news that you'd never seen it, but I am surprised that you were unaware of it. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I consider the series one of the most important things ever created in the medium of television.