Back in March, I posted about the new season of Cosmos. This is Neil deGrasse Tyson’s second follow-up to Carl Sagan’s classic series. He already did Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey in 2014, which I enjoyed and reviewed extensively at the time. (See here to start.) So I was excited to see that he was doing a second season this year called Cosmos: Possible Worlds.
However, I wasn’t able to see the original run, which began airing in March on National Geographic Channel, because they made it nearly impossible to find for cord-cutters or even basic cable subscribers. And honestly, I and many other fans of the show have been really annoyed with Disney for how they’ve handled this because it’s bad marketing, and it sends a message that they don’t really care about the show.
A Spacetime Odyssey premiered on Fox Network, so I expected the same this time around. However, the original run aired on National Geographic Channel instead, and was only available on air or live-streaming to subscribers. From what I’ve read, it wasn’t even available On Demand for cable subscribers, or at least it wasn’t available for re-watch, which is pretty crazy. If you missed an episode, it wasn’t possible to find it again (legally) for any price in the United States.
If you care about educating the public—or for that matter, if you care about making money—this seems like a very bad move. And the advertising and certainly the hype have been a lot less for the broadcast run, at least online. I worry that this is going to lead to people either ignoring the show or pirating it, and I worry that it’s going to cut into the audience either way. It’s unfortunate that they moved the show from its original home on PBS, but understandable, but this is just shooting themselves in the foot.
But even so, Cosmos:Possible Worlds is finally airing on Fox, starting tomorrow, September 22, at 8 PM Eastern. I for one am still excited to see it, and I’m going to be analyzing it just like I did the previous season. If you’re with the 20% of US households who have cut the cord, or if you couldn’t fit it into your schedule in the first run, I hope you’ll follow along with me. Stay tuned.