STUDIO: History Channel
MSRP: $44.95
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 846 minutes
Backyard Astronomer

The Pitch

The Universe likes to have big bangs.

The Humans

Academia’s Nerdiest

The Nutshell

The Universe is a fascinating place. It’s so fascinating that the History Channel has spent two seasons and twenty-five hours discussing it. Hell, they even admit that they’re scratching the surface. So, why don’t you get in on the ground floor and learn about the cosmos. I promise that Carl Sagan is nowhere to be found. He’s dead. He’s really, really, really dead.

The real face of riding dirty.

The Lowdown

The Universe – The Complete Season Two is
an exercise in tolerance. How much educational material can you watch about astronomy before you want to stab yourself in the eyes? It’s an impressive show that mixes together informative research with talking heads discussing The Big Bang. But, the show creators eventually get that the material is too above the heads of the viewers. That’s when the bikini babes come out to teach the folks about wormholes.

This means about as much as the watermelon in Buckaroo Banzai.

The subjects explored this season run the range from dark matter to wormholes to the speed of light. That tends to lead into my major beef with the series. What in the hell does it want to be? You get bombarded with so many talking heads that you believe this is going to be a serious academic endeavors. Then, a half-naked chick comes out to teach us about the rings of Saturn.

Honestly, the show is visual Ambien. You’re up and attentive, then something comes along to put you to sleep for an hour. Then, there’s a brief bit of visually interesting information. Then, it goes back to talking about the Earth was almost smashed by an asteroid in 1750. Honestly, I don’t care anymore. The entire planet could be hit by space rocks and I just wouldn’t care.

Germs. So many germs.

The show is a great idea for the educational setting. There’s material enough to cover an entire semester. Hell, there’s even the appeal to the lower-end folks. It’s just that it’s so scattershot that no one can keep up. If The History Channel ever makes a third season…they need to keep this shit in focus.

The Universe – The Complete Season Two is an average TV on DVD release. Sure, you end up getting the entire second season presented uncut and uninterrupted. But, it’s just so dry without any special features of merit. This is classroom material at best and I can’t see any reason for anyone to own it for personal use. There’s never going to be a time when you’ve got to watch the episode on Black Holes. Take that for what you will.

Apparently smoking pot and fucking teaching assistants will get you tenure.

The Package

The Universe – The Complete Season Two comes
to DVD with a decent release. The A/V Quality is pretty sharp for recent television. But, the only special feature is a quick romp called Backyard Astronomer. Have you wondered what’s in the sky? Well, you should probably get a telescope and not bother with this lackluster special feature. For all the science nerds out there, this is going to be a must-buy.

Dave Bowman’s screensaver of the mind.

6.6 out of 10