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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

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