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Erin Watches: Cosmos, Magic School Bus June 13, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches, Meta.
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And as long as I’m posting about stuff I’m watching….

Netflix just ordered a new Magic School Bus series!

To be available in 2016. And it’s going to be CGI, which I’m not wild about, but we’ll have to see how it turns out.

It sounds like part of the reason they’re doing this was because of how popular the 1994-era Magic School Bus episodes are with their subscribers. Apparently I’m not the only one using Netflix to catch up on the episodes that weren’t on the VHS tapes my parents made from the original Maryland Public Television broadcasts.

Am working on getting through Neil Degrasse Tyson’s Cosmos. I…don’t know that I’ve learned a lot of new things about science from it. (Except about Cygnus X1. That was fascinating.) But it works well better if you stop expecting that, and just take it as a slightly more adult Magic School Bus.

(There’s literally an episode where they make sound waves visible. It’s exactly like the Sound Museum, complete with instruments and clapping. And his CGI ship, which travels through space and other hostile environments, and can shrink down to the size of an atom when necessary, is clearly from the same factory that made the Bus.)

The most disheartening thing about this Cosmos is the way it’s so clearly trying to reach people with fundamentalist religious anti-science beliefs. I mean, it’s disheartening that it has to. That these views have gotten so mainstream that Neil has to interrupt the cool stuff to spend five minutes explaining, in small words, how the fact that we can see things more than 6500 light-years away means that the universe must be more than 6500 years old.

And, admittedly, I’ve been skipping through a lot of the animated history segments. But sometimes even those are worthwhile. I just finished the one that covered a history of the science-versus-corporations struggle to prove that lead poisoning is a serious danger. Real-life action-adventure scientist-heroes FTW.

And the rest is Neil talking about cool stuff. With awesome location shots, and some beautiful CGI. He gets to look like the hero in a sci-fi movie a lot, walking (or flying in the ship) through these great outer-space environments, playing with the futuristic special effects.

tl;dr it’s a nice show to have on in the background. Listen to Neil being warm and enthusiastic the whole time, stop to watch at the points when it gets especially watchable.

…I may or may not be working on a gifset casing Neil as Carlos the Scientist. Some of the shots are too perfect not to. It doesn’t hurt that, half the time he’s on-screen, you could believably subtitle it with “Everything is exciting. Particularly existence!”

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