Live from Space
Saturday, 11am, National Geographic I enjoy a clever title as much as the next person. This is not a clever title. Quite literally, at the appointed hour, NASA will provide unprecedented live views of Earth from the International Space Station and high-definition cameras launched especially for this transmission. The ISS travels at 27,359km/h and makes a complete orbit of Earth every 90 minutes. Extraordinary, but if you saw the Academy Award-winning film Gravity you may be underwhelmed if it doesn’t collide with anything.
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
Sunday, 7.30pm, National Geographic In other space-related television news, it is said that in the three decades since Carl Sagan’s Cosmos: A Personal Voyage went to air, it has been seen by 750 million people in 175 countries. Sagan’s original collaborator, Ann Druyan, has partnered somewhat incongruously with Seth MacFarlane ( Family Guy, Ted) to resurrect the format, aiming to bring wonderment and hard science to audiences once again. “There’s never been a more important time for Cosmos to reemerge than right now,” says MacFarlane. “I want to make this so entertaining, and so flashy, and so exciting that people with no interest in science will watch it just because it’s a spectacle.” It shows a lot of promise. The opening sequence has natural and biological images morphing beautifully into celestial phenomenon. The show features an uplifting orchestral score and it is hosted by rich-toned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. Will it catch on? Audiences have changed a lot in 30 years. Children are less likely to sit passively in front of the TV and likelier to seek information when they want it on the internet. Wonderment has been usurped by the age of anti-heroes and irony. It ain’t morning in America any more, and there is general resignation to society’s limited ambitions in space.
A Night at the Movies: Cops & Robbers
Sunday, 8.30pm, TCM Tracing the influences and intersections between TV, film and authors is fascinating. This documentary by Laurent Bouzereau looks at the way the movies have inspired some of the world’s most popular writers. Guests include George Pelecanos ( The Wire), James Ellroy ( L.A. Confidential), Tess Gerritsen, ( Rizzoli & Isles) and Lee Child, the British thriller writer who created the Jack Reacher series.
There’s Something About Patrick
Monday, 8.30pm, History It is St Patrick’s Day. Put on a revolting novelty hat, avail yourself of a stout, peaty whisky or Irish