Plot: What’s it about?
Cosmos is a thirteen volume series, in which host/narrator Carl Sagan takes us on a tour of the universe. From the ancient past to the potential future, Sagan explores all the aspects of space, but this series isn’t just for science buffs. Sagan uses simple dialogue and speaks in a fashion that anyone can understand, which ensures that all audiences will come away from Cosmos better informed about the universe. It all starts at the possible links to the origin of life, through the formation of stars, the modern search for other life forms, to the potential on where it all could be headed. Each of the thirteen episodes handles a specific topic and runs about an hour, so in total, you’re given thirteen hours of informative programs. Although the episodes do work on their own well enough, they also fit together to form a much larger picture, which I think the best choice to view this series. It will take a while to sift through these seven discs, but in the end, I think that is time well spent and I think anyone at all interested should check out this release.
I was very pleased when I heard Cosmos was being restored and remastered for a new release, but this presentation was even better than I had hoped for. As if the new video transfer and remixed 5.1 surround audio wasn’t enough, this pack also includes some added footage, updates on Sagan and Druyan, and a very cool selection of bonus materials. This set includes all thirteen episodes spread over seven discs, which allows for a high bitrate and flawless compression process. As I mentioned above, this is a science based series, but thanks to Sagan’s approach, it never seems stuffy or dull, usually quite the opposite. The episodes each provide a wealth of information and insight, but also pose some questions, which prods you to think a little yourself on the topics. I know the thirteen hour running time is imposing, but with the terrific episode structure, you can make it through the series at your own pace. I simply can’t recommend this release highly enough, as it is insightful and entertaining at the same time. If you have any interest whatsoever in this subject matter, do yourself a favor and look into Cosmos, you’ll be glad you did.
Video: How does it look?
Cosmos is shown in the original full frame form and as I mentioned, has been restored and remastered for this release. This is a superb visual treatment, with no real complaints to made and I think fans will be delighted here. Of course, this was a television series and as such, doesn’t look as refined as a feature film, but this still looks very good. The print used looks terrific and shows minimal grain and debris, which allows the intense visuals to shine and that is how it should be. The colors look bright and show no bleeds, while the black levels are stark and well defined. This is the best Cosmos has ever looked and in truth, I can’t imagine how it could be much better than this.
Audio: How does it sound?
This release also sports a brand new Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mix for the series, which is very well used and adds a lot to this presentation. The musical soundtrack (which was also reissued in a deluxe double CD release) is simply breathtaking and includes some excellent classic music, which compliments the material to perfection. The surrounds are used often and to effective ends here, which is good news, since the music is so important to the series. The other elements are also well replicated here, from the cool sound effects to Sagan’s superb narration, which is also vital to the series. You can also enable subtitles in English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Mandarin, and Japanese.
Supplements: What are the extras?
In addition to all thirteen episodes of Cosmos, this release also contains some nice supplements. The main bonus is an isolated musical score & sound effects track, which is a welcome and terrific inclusion here. You can also see updates on Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan, as well as some new updated footage inserted into the series itself, which is very cool. A special subtitle option also provides new science updates, which is a valuable tool and a fine addition. Some weblinks round out the extras, in case you want even more information on Cosmos. I didn’t expect much in terms of extras here, but this release has some goodies that really enhance the presentation.