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Cosmos: Carl Sagan

4.8 out of 5 stars 611 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Astronomer Carl Sagan's landmark 13-part science series takes you on an awe-inspiring cosmic journey to the edge of the Universe and back aboard the spaceship of the imagination. Topics covered include: the 15-billion year history of the Universe; the evolution of life on Earth and what forms life might take on other worlds; Johannes Kepler, the first modern astronomer; the hellish atmosphere of Venus and the threat of the Greenhouse Effect on Earth; the search for life on Mars; the 17th century exploration of the Earth; the Voyager missions to Jupiter and Saturn; the possibility of time travel; Einstein's theories; the life cycle of stars; determining the origin of the Universe; the brain and the evolution of intelligence; how we might communicate with alien civilizations; the continued survival of the human race versus the threat of nuclear destruction.

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When Cosmos was first broadcast in 1980, our world--and the context of Carl Sagan's eloquent "personal journey"--was a different place. The late Dr. Sagan would be pleased to witness the cooling of the Cold War, the continued exploration of space, and ongoing efforts to curb our destructive dependence on fossil fuels. For Sagan's series is far more than a guided tour through "billions and billions" of stars and galaxies. It remains a profound plea for the unity of humankind, for the recognition that "we are a way for the universe to know itself," with an obligation to know our origin, our place in the universe, and our future potential.

In the course of 13 fascinating hours, Cosmos spans its own galaxy of topics to serve Sagan's theme, each segment deepening our understanding of how we got from there (simple microbes in the primordial mud) to here (space-faring civilization in the 21st century). In his "ship of the imagination," Sagan guides us to the farthest reaches of space and takes us back into the history of scientific inquiry, from the ancient library of Alexandria to the NASA probes of our neighboring planets. Upon this vast canvas Sagan presents the "cosmic calendar," placing the 15-billion-year history of the universe into an accessible one-year framework, then filling it with a stunning chronology of events, both interstellar and earthbound.

From the lives of the stars to creation theories, functions of the human brain, and the ongoing search for extraterrestrial intelligence, Cosmos asks big questions. When appropriate, Sagan offers big answers, or asks still bigger--and yes, even spiritual--questions at the boundaries of science and religion. What's most remarkable about Cosmos is that it remains almost entirely fresh, with few updates needed to the science that Sagan so passionately celebrates. It is no exaggeration to say that Cosmos--for all the debate it may continue to provoke--is a vital document for humanity at a pivotal crossroads of our history. --Jeff Shannon


Special Features

  • Digitally remastered, restored and enhanced
  • Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan updates
  • Subtitled science updates
  • New footage
  • Bonus 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound music and effects track

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Carl Sagan, Jaromír Hanzlík, Jonathan Fahn
    • Directors: n, a
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Collector's Edition, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
    • Subtitles: Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Italian, English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
    • Number of discs: 7
    • Rated:
      NR
      Not Rated
    • Studio: Cosmos Studios
    • DVD Release Date: October 22, 2002
    • Run Time: 780 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (611 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B000055ZOB
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,210 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "Cosmos: Carl Sagan" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 22, 2002
    Format: DVD
    This set is one of the main reasons why I got a DVD player. My VHS taps had actually broken from too many viewings of "Cosmos." This box-set is one of the all-around coolest DVDs I own. The packaging is as innovative as the series, allowing for quite a few disks to take up very little shelf space. (It is about the size of three DVD cases.) The disks average 2 episodes per disk. The digital sound and picture is perfect, and a great boon to this exceptional series. As an extra feature, the "updates" option fills in any scientific gaps.
    As to "Cosmos" itself, like many people I could offer my testimony to it's quality. As a child (I think I was about 7 when I first saw it) "Cosmos" opened my mind to the possibilities of the Universe. I am glad that the information is still relevant today, and that the only thing dated about the production is Carl Sagan's turtlenecks.
    Should I ever have children, "Cosmos" is the sort of thing I would like to share with them.
    6 Comments 396 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: VHS Tape
    The "Cosmos" series, along with Carl Sagan's books, prompted me to go back to school when my son was 9 to get a physics degree, to become a science writer and essayist, and to write two science books for children, the latest "How Come? Planet Earth" (Workman). I watched it with my son every week, and he was mesmerized. He later met Dr. Sagan in Ithaca, who called on this 10-year-old, his hand frantically waving, FIRST at a seminar of very distinguished adults.
    "Cosmos" was sheer inspiration as well as brilliant education, the perfect antidote to a bad day, the ultimate escapist television. As each episode closed and the poignant theme music played, it would inevitably bring me to tears. I was lucky enough to purchase the entire set before it went out of production. It was the first thing my son, now 28, wanted to borrow when he came home for a visit recently. I miss Carl Sagan's presence in the world more than I can say, ....
    18 Comments 569 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
    I was fortunate to purchase all 13 episodes a few years ago before they became unavailable, and believe me it was difficult then to get them. I have learned the following from the Carl Sagan Productions website: The COSMOS series has recently been fully acquired by Carl Sagan Productions but it cannot be sold until the music rights have been re-cleared. We are planning to re-issue it on DVD and VHS after the legal work is complete. We will also be reissuing the album, Music of Cosmos, on CD. I am sorry none of these items is available at this time. --So hopefully it won't be much longer for these extraordinary programs to be available for purchase. In the series, Carl Sagan masterfully guides one through the wonders of our Universe and lets us see just who we are in it. From stars to micro-organisms, to trees and whales, to Johannes Kepler and the little-known, woman scientist named Hypatia from ancient Alexandria, to warnings of the perils of human aggression and foolishness of the past and perhaps future, and mostly of our striving, never-ending need to explore and understand through science; Sagan takes us on this journey. This is not just some science documentary, but rather, an experience that gives one a spirit, an appreciation, and a zest for science and understanding and mostly for being alive in this marvelous Universe. The photography is lovely. The music is full of wonderment. Sagan explains complex subjects to easy understanding (his greatest talent). When the videos become available again, I will be purchasing them again for fear of wearing the old ones out. They are great for everyone! The best purchase I ever made.
    2 Comments 168 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    Although the "Cosmos" series is nearly 20 years old, it remains as relevant today as it did in the early 1980s. The series was devised and written by the astronomer Carl Sagan of Cornell university. Based on the book he wrote by the same name, the late Carl Sagan put together the most ambitious and far-reaching inquiries into the human scientific endeavor to date.
    Within "Cosmos" is an assortment of discussions of the history of scientific ideas, as well as the personages who conceived and promoted those ideas. The collection includes such diverse fields as astronomy, theoretical physics, zoology / taxonomy, molecular biology, cosmology and chemistry.
    Sagan takes his viewers on a tour of some of the most pivotal epochs in science history. Incorporated into the historical overview are such personages as Eratosthenes of Alexandria, Hypatia of Alexandria, Anaxagorous, Aristarchus of Samos, Archimedes, Democritus of Abderra, Aristotle, Johannes Kepler, Leonardo Davinci, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein (among others). Sagan does a wonderful job of recounting the intellectual milieu in which these pioneers lived, and also explains what inspired their revolutionary ideas.
    There have been many scientific documentaries put out on video since the debut of "Cosmos." Virtually all of them, however, were influenced by Sagan. His vision was to make science more accessible to the general public, as opposed to being confined to the stuffy laboratories and lecture halls of academia. After all, the fruits and treasures of scientific discovery belong to all of us, not just a select educated few. It was not so long ago, however, that it was widely thought that laymen were not intelligent enough to follow the general principles of scientific polemics.
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