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The first Cosmos, narrated and co-written by Carl Sagan came out in 1980. But since then, there have been numerous achievements in Science; many things have changed and in 2014, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey came out, which was more up to date than the last one.

As a person who is interested in watching the show(s), should I watch both of them, or is the first one outdated by the second one?

  • Well, for starters Pluto isn't a planet anymore, it's now a "minor planet". – user7812 Nov 21 '15 at 8:18
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    While some of the information will obviously have changed, I would recommend Carl's take on it purely for the enthusiasm & sense of wonderment that he conveys. :) – Andrew Thompson Nov 21 '15 at 8:24
  • @AndrewThompson - Precisely this. I'd heartily recommend watching both, ideally the older first and the newer second. There's minimal overlap in the actual commentary – user7812 Nov 21 '15 at 10:14
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    How is this primarily opinion based? There are scientific facts that are or are not outdated – Shevliaskovic Nov 21 '15 at 10:27
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    There maybe errors in Cosmos, but it still get's more things right than many of todays shows. Cosmos is not outdated because of scientific errors, it is outdated because today we do not interpret the world on the background of (supposedly) impending nuclear war. But Cosmos is still one of the most wonderful things one can watch on TV (plus you get some insight what problems occupied peoples minds in the 70s/80s), so by all means watch it. – Eike Pierstorff Nov 21 '15 at 10:39
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No: Cosmos (1980) is not obsolete.

This is obviously a very subjective topic, but I'd argue you could (and should!) watch both series.

Firstly, Carl Sagan. The man was simply amazing, with one of the most mesmeric voices imaginable. Watch at least one episode, just to hear it.

Secondly, a lot of the science in the original Cosmos still holds true today. For the parts that don't, the latest editions of the DVDs have added scenes at the end of the episode where Sagan explains how the science has changed since this episode.

Obviously, there are some noticeable changes, such as Pluto no longer being a planet, but largely the fundamental things he covers, such as the age of the universe, the Cosmic Calendar, the achievements of the likes of Tycho Brahe and Joannes Kepler, global warming, the big bang - our understanding of these things has not fundamentally shifted between 1980 and 2014 to an extent that what Saga was saying was incorrect.

Whilst the new series is fantastic, the majority of the changes are aesthetic. The newer animation means some of the historical tales, rather than just showing a presenter on screen narrating and gesticulating, actually show CGI created stories of what the narrator is covering.

In terms of the major differences, I would argue it heavily comes down to the oratory style you prefer.

Sagan had a captivating voice and challenged us to use our imaginations when considering all the evidence. Even when describing the vast size of space, he made it seem a little less scary with his hypnotic voice.

Tyson on the other hand has always had a much more impersonal, revealing oratory style. He addresses things in absolute detail, and is more provocative than Sagan. For example, whilst Sagan never went into detail on his own religious beliefs, Tyson is much more outspoken about his feelings that science should influence politics.

Ultimately, I'd suggest watching both. Start with Sagan's and take your time enjoying them. Then watch Tyson's and see the aesthetic differences (the first episode is very similar otherwise).

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