This is really neat.
One of the highlights of Nat Geo’s “Cosmos: Possible Worlds” was how stop-motion animation helped humanize the tragic career of pioneering Russian botanist/geneticist Nikolai Vavilov in Episode 4: “Vavilov.”
Showrunner Ann Druyan and executive producer Brannon Braga used lots of hand-drawn animation throughout the series as a visual change of pace, but wanted to give “Vavilov” a more distinctive look to help humanize the historical drama. And they were both admirers of stop-motion, especially the nuance and naturalism of Charlie Kaufman’s Oscar-nominated “Anomalisa,” which was co-directed by Duke Johnson and animated at Starburns Industries — so they approached Johnson to spearhead the episode. (Source)
That's the start of a really interesting read over at indieWIRE. Says Johnson, “We animated it practically and pushed it with visual effects. I think ‘Vavilov’ is definitely some of the best animation that I have been a part of.”
Thanks to Sarah!