Back in 1981, when Ann Druyan co-wrote “Cosmos” with her husband Carl Sagan, the revolutionary science series was nominated for five Emmys and won three – all in the tech races. Even though the program was one of the biggest TV blockbusters of the year — one hailed by the New York Times as “a watershed moment for science-themed television programming” — It lost the top Emmy, Best Informational Series, to “Meeting of Minds,” which featured Steve Allen interviewing celebrities dressed up like Catherine the Great and Leonardo da Vinci.
So now Druyan holds a giant Emmy I.O.U. as she returns to the race with the newly updated “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey,” which is at least guaranteed of a nomination. It just finished airing to bravura reviews, solid ratings and its competition, at least numerically speaking, is slight. Only 13 other programs compete for Best Documentary or Nonfiction Series, including “The World Wars,” “Beyond Scared Straight” and – last year’s winner – “American Masters.”
Below, watch my webcam chat with Druyan, who discusses both versions of “Cosmos” in detail and explains how they aim “to create a whole picture of space and time that everyone can understand .… I’m proud of our aspirations to know the cosmos. I’m proud when people say that they find it an uplifting experience to watch ‘Cosmos.'”