4 comments on “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

  1. The music from the original series was all needle dropped music. That is, there was NO original music composed for the series. The original Cosmos theme was from an existing Vangelis album, and everything was taken from existing albums by various and very different artists, so the producers were able to pick and choose from existing electronic, new age, classical, blues…any and every genre of album available at the time. The new series relies on one man to score the series. So the “not special” comment is pretty unfair and doesn’t really apply.

  2. Mike,

    Yes, I’m well aware of the needle-down nature of the music for the original series. I’ve certainly done plenty of it in my day, but I was taught to do it wisely and make the music fit the production.

    We analyzed that endlessly back “in the day”. I wasn’t going to get into this much detail in my review, above, since it is one of those “producer” decisions that I could easily devote a LOT more space to and this review was not the time or place. My intent in this review was to give audiences a taste of what I got to experience, mention a couple of things that I found different (to my taste, which should be understood), and encourage people to watch the show. I think this new one is an admirable achievement, and as a long-time fan of the show, of Dr. Sagan and Ms. Druyan’s work, I think that the new one is the new “Cosmos” for a new generation.

    That being said, and if you insist on talking shop, the “needle down” nature of the original does not detract from the fact that the music was chosen to fit the scenes and does so admirably. It sets a mood and makes the viewer more receptive to the thoughtful nature of whatever it was the scene was meant to convey. That is the essence of marrying music to storytelling — to enhance, to accompany, to make memorable. And, in fact, the Vangelis music and music from others in the first series does exactly that: it makes it memorable and enhances. The fact that it is so memorable is a testament to the music selection.

    The modern soundtrack by Alan Silvestri features music that is good. And,in places, it works very well to enhance the show. I like Silvestri’s work, and I was not slagging it in the review. What I am getting at is that in places in the new Cosmos, the music too much “over the top” for the lovely scenes it is supposed to be enhancing. That is a production decision, not one that I agree with, but as an experienced producer, it is something that just jumped out at me as I was watching the show. The fact that I even commented on it means that the music was memorable, but in places not perhaps in a positive way.

    In the end, it is my opinion — an informed and experienced opinion — expressed on my blog. I liked the new Cosmos, and even though it has a few things that I wouldn’t have done, it is still an achievement and I’ve said so now, twice.

  3. Hi Spacewriter,

    I completely agree with you about the soundtrack.

    The music for the original series by Vangelis, regardless of it not being written specifically for the series, fit perfectly. Vangelis’s music is inspiring and enables a sense of wonder, excitement and imagination about the real cosmos. I felt all those things when regularly tuning into the show in 1980.

    The sounds in the new Cosmos trailer are primarily ominous sound ramping and bass rumbling. I want to be inspired about the Cosmos, not scared like an asteroid is about to strike the earth! :)

    The sound samples for the new soundtrack on iTunes are more reminiscent of E.T. and other Hollywood films.

    Isn’t the whole point of the show to stimulate the higher functions in the brain like imagination, and inspire young people to pursue science careers?

  4. The point of the show is many things, and the music can help the understanding. I am not a huge fan of the music for this show, although Mr. Silvestri is a good composer, so I’m not saying he did something wrong. It’s just not a perfect match.

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