The Incredible Animation of the New "Cosmos"

Bringing Cosmos back is one of the best things to happen to television since Walter White decided to break bad. The series was rebooted by FOX with the help of Seth MacFarlane, the maker of Family Guy, American Dad, and the upcoming movie A Million Ways to Die in the West.


For Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, MacFarlane tapped one of his animators. Victoria McNally at Geekosystem has the interview:

Kara Vallow might not be a name you’re very familiar with, and that’s okay; she tends to stay behind the scenes on the production side of animation. Her resume, however, is pretty stacked: she’s worked on Dilbert, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Johnny Bravo and Drawn Together, as well as the Jessica Yu documentary, In The Realms of the Undead, about the life and work of painter Henry Darger. Of cours, she’s probably best known for her work with Seth MacFarlane, which includes Family Guy, American Dad, and The Cleveland Show. She was kind enough to speak to us this week about her involvement with Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey, and what went into creating such a distinct, integral part of the series.

From animator Kara Vallow:

When I first talked to Seth about what he was imagining, he threw a few key words at me: “adult” and “sophisticated” and “noire.” And then he sort of left me on my own to figure it out, which was a little intimidating. I’ve been working on television and animation for so long and it involved thinking outside of that arena completely. I hadn’t really done that in a while!

So I went to a lot of independent and non-American animated films. I hadn’t really seen any non-commercial cartoons in a long time and felt out of the loop! But I saw a lot of really interesting stuff that really inspired me to start thinking about different modes and styles of animation. The Secret of Kells was a big one—flat and sort of primitive but stylistically really distinct, like a painted mural. Another one was called The Invention of Love, a short by this art student. It had this really beautiful romantic story told all in silhouettes. I showed stills from some of these films to the producers and they loved a lot of them, and we sort of went from there.

To read McNally's complete fascinating interview, head over to Geekosystem.

Image credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video/Flickr

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