Friday, August 05, 2011

Pretty-much the ENTIRE world may have been completely wrong about Seth MacFarlane

Ironically enough, the ONLY place (other than reality, as it turns out...) you could expect to hear a confluence of "somethings" this random would be a "remember that time..." cutaway on "Family Guy." Seth MacFarlane is so insanely powerful at the Fox network that he has the "pull" to get pretty-much anything he wants greenlit, made and run in a cushy slot. He's already flexed that muscle to set up one coming-soon project, a modern (stone age) revamp of "The Flintstones;" and now we know that the next one is yet another classic-TV callback: A new incarnation of "Carl Sagan's 'Cosmos.'"

...Really. And no, it's not a "spoof" or a "takeoff." It's a 'continuation' of "Cosmos" - in which Sagan explained 'big idea' science about the universe - to be hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. The creator of "Family Guy" is using his clout to get Fox to run an educational science documentary on PRIME TIME TELEVISION. WTF!?Granted, the "line" of MacFarlane has always been that he's a much more intelligent, thoughtful (to say nothing of nice) guy than a lot of his material might suggest... but you've got to admit this is waaaay the fuck out of left field. Fox (of all networks) opting to run a show where an astrophysicist explains how scientific phenomena works as a prime-time series is unbelievable in and of itself; but coming from MacFarlane? Never would've called that.

Just to give you an idea of how unlike anything you'd ever expect to run on a network today this is, here's how the original looked/sounded:

Now, granted - I wouldn't be surprised if the final version of this new one DOES end up having some kind of more humorous or "energetic" angle to it, a science-based cousin to The Daily Show, something like that. But still... holy shit. A billion Freshmen frat-pledges bulk-buying (and watching to the point of memorization) the first three seasons of a canceled "Simpsons" stepchild almost a decade ago results in the return of "Cosmos" to TV.

What's next? Is Michael Bay going to donate a trillion dollars and personally re-start the American Space Program? Larry The Cable Guy gonna personally install an American interstate bullet-train system?


Danny said...

The fact that this is a really big deal in America makes me glad I'm British.

O.T said...

Honestly, Seth has spent so much time making his shows a complete affront to (what at least is considered to be) Fox's agenda that him getting a program like this on their airwaves doesn't actually surprise me.

I mean, kudos in all to Seth, but I'm not exactly bewildered.

Also, while said in jest, you can frigg'n eat me Bob because the earlier seasons are damn fine entertainment. :)

Just Gavin said...

Yeah, what Danny said, watching that Intro was very nice but in Britain we have several documentary series just like that, heck, we recently have had a documentary about how unfortunate it was the Space Program was going down or the History of Islam.

It's nice to see Fox investing in what is very interesting and high quality television.

Euler d'Moogle said...

Holy crap! Cosmos was my second favorite documentary series ever! Carl Sagan got me to dream of the stars and of humanity's place in it. It gave me hope for the future. This is in all probability a good thing.


Oh, my favorite? The James Burke series of documentaries: Connections and The Day The Universe Changed.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ O.T

Fox's "agenda" is to make billions of dollars... and that's exactly what they're doing.

@ topic

Considering how well these sorts of shows seem to be doing on Science Channel (Through The Wormhole, Wonders of the Universe), History Channel (The Universe), and Discovery's various specials, I'm really not surprised that a major network is taking a shot at it. A lot of those shows seem to have about as high a production value as anything you'd see anywhere else, so I cam only assume there's a lot of money to be made in it.

Hope it turns out as good as Neil deGrasse Tyson being in it implies it should be.

The Offender said...

Seth gets so much shit, and I don't get why. Seems like an alright guy. None of his shows are bad (or great either). Why all the hate?

Dave from canada said...

@ bob

It's not quite out of left field if you understand his politics. He's one of the more outspoken atheists in the US, and generally as a rule we tend to put a high value on science education (what with science being the only reliable tool with which to explain our universe and us not having a holy book to tell us what knowledge is inherently sinful and should be avoided.)

So Macfarlane wanting better scientific education is not out of character (especially given all the shots taken at creationists over the years). When you consider that he's good friends with Neil deGrasse Tyson (an american astrophysicist and scientist HEAVILY influenced by Sagan) and if irecall correctly at least passing acqwuaintances with Richard Dawkins it is not at all difficult to see how he could decide this was something that needed to be done. And as pretty much the richest and most powerful TV writer around right now, he had the power to do it.

@ Danny

I wouldn't act so smug when you government (and King to be) are huge supporters of homeopathic medecine.

@ Offender
3 reasons:
He's openly liberal, openly atheist, and south park told peopel to.

Mads said...

Cosmos is, even today, an amazing documentary. Most of it is still current.

It's also f'in long, very long episodes, and very beautifully made.

To say that current-day documentaries are "just like cosmos" is ignorant of the importance of the work, when it was done, and what it meant.

Brittish current day documentaries in particular are often very geared towards televised consumption. Some of the recent drug documentations appear to be 3 times the length they needed to be, for instance.

Cosmos wasn't. Sagen was probably pretty baked while making it, tho, as it turns out he was a frequent cannabis user, so that might explain why he sounds a bit long-winded and mellow...but the production itself is absolutely brilliant, and the modern day iterations have nothing on it.

WilhelmVonHaig said...

This reminds me of Brian Cox's wonders of the solar system which was on the bbc recently enough. If you haven't seen that yet you should look it up, because its a great series very much in the same vein as this.

counterpoint said...


so fox news makes up the news just to make money? NO political angle? just a coincidence?


it's a big deal not that the show's getting made, but that its getting made on Fox (or any maj network) for prime-time. There's lots of stuff like this in the US... just on cable.


I can't really tell... are you a family guy hater or something? yeah, the new seasons aren't amazing, but you have to admit that it has played a huge role in shaping the current comedic climate, etc.

Phobos said...

I so expect it to be given the fox treatment though, by being studio based and where you can vote for your favourite planet or star.

But good on Seth...

Smashmatt202 said...

Wait... Bulk-buying "Simpsons" a decade ago? Don't you mean Family Guy?

Adam said...

I'm not surprised really. If you really watch Family Guy at all you get a pretty good idea of what Seth's politics and beliefs are. And while everyone might be confused that this is being produced by the same corporate entity that makes Fox News, Fox News exists because there's a market for it a Fox wanted to capatilize on it and make a s*** ton of money. Same reason Family Guy was brought back; they thought they could take it all the way to the bank. Fox likes money; Fox does what it can to make more.

Popcorn Dave said...

Smashmatt - Bob said they bought "a canceled "Simpsons" stepchild", i.e. Family Guy.

Anyway... yeah, good for Seth. Not sure what I can add, really.

teno said...

Does anyone remember the Colbert Report piece where Colbert extensively bashed Bill O'Reilly for his ridiculous "Tide comes in, tide goes out, never a miscommunication" statement with the help of Neil deGrasse Tyson?

Sylocat said...

Seth MacFarlane? Really?

I mean, I like his politics, but all his cartoons are godawful, I never expected him to do something as intelligent as this.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ counterpoint

Given the possibility that FOX is trying to push a right wing agenda that just happens to be making them billions, or the possibility that FOX is just pandering to lower to lower middle classes whites, who tend to be undereducated conservatives, and it's quite intentionally making them billions (in a not entirely dissimilar way to how MSNBC is pandering to upper middle to upper class whites, who tend to be higher educated liberals)... I'm gonna go with the latter.

I can't believe any one could possibly be making that much money by accident. And given this is the same company that's producing Family Guy, it's pretty clear where FOX's priorities are.

Sebastian said...

This is quite off topic, but I just wanted to add this famous (allthough not famous enough) monologue by Carl Sagan, which should be mandatory viewing/listening for Every Fucking Human Being Ever:

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Sebastian

I've always loved that picture. Never heard Sagan's narration before, though... pretty win.

Chris Cesarano said...

I'd like to comment that "education" has nothing to do here, unless you mean "capability to go out and ask questions and find their own answers". In which case, you're still a bit off base. I'm either always surrounded by conservatives or always surrounded by liberals, and no matter what sort of grades they got or what sort of paper their College tuition paid for, most people are just overall dumb when it comes to politics.

Especially if you're watching any non-BBC news network.

I'd say Fox just appeals to conservatives in general, and their class or education doesn't matter.

Minic said...

George Lucas signed the Giving Pledge.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Chris Cesarano

On a broad national scale, people who live in rural areas are lower-ish class and thus have less money for higher education, and are less likely to benefit from social programs so are likely to be conservatives. Where-as people who live in urban areas are going to benefit more from social programs so are more likely to be liberal and have more opportunities for higher education.

Benfea said...


"Less likely to benefit from social programs"? Actually, conservatives from rural areas get MORE from government programs and pay less in taxes. It is the urban/liberal regions that get less from the government than they pay out.

To those saying "FOX is just in this to make money", your statement is misleading FOX is also in this to make money. Let's not forget that FOX News lost tons of money in the first several years. If FOX was just in this to make money, FOX News would not have been in business long enough to become profitable.

Smashmatt202 said...

Oh, a Spimsons stepchild... lol

Darcy said...

The dude is totally right, and there is no suspicion.
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