STUDIO: A&E Home Video
MSRP: $16.99
RUNNING TIME: 376 minutes
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The Pitch

It’s about everything else in creation that doesn’t concern the Kardashians.

The Humans

Various scientists and commentators.

The Nutshell

The Universe is a History Channel documentary program that explores the mysteries of reality,  space and time, space travel, quantum and celestial mechanics and other areas of physics.  It calls upon the expertise of notables in the field and seeks to make attainable to the average person the intricacies of the universe.

The Lowdown

The Universe is a pretty interesting doco show.  For the most part, it bestows good info about the universe, both in heavenly bodies with which you’re familiar and some you probably never even knew existed.  It makes copious use of CGI in representing its subjects.  The experts with whom they consult are by and large able to represent the physics in layman’s terms and the show has real educational value without coming off as too dry.  This is season five of the program and it centers on the following eight topics:

"Heh, so yeah, I used to approach girls and say 'I'd love to see Uranus.' That didn't go over so well. So then I switched to, 'Hey baby, wanna see my Big Dipper?...'

7 Wonders of the Solar System: This deals with seven amazing features of the solar system, including the Rings of Saturn, Jupiter’s Big Red Spot, Olympus Mons on Mars, the geysers of Enceladus, the Asteroid Belt and surface of the sun.

- Mars: The New Evidence: Deals with hints that there may still be life on Mars of some sort, taking a look at the remains of bodies of water like lakes and rivers and frozen water at the poles.

Magnetic Storm: Solar flares.

Time Travel: The theories, possibilities and potential roadblocks to time travel, from traveling to just under the speed of light, parking outside of a black hole for a few months, and wormholes.

Secrets of the Space Probes: Takes a look at past and future possible benefits of space probes.

Asteroid Attack: Takes a look at past and future asteroid strikes on Earth

Total Eclipse: Examines the mechanics of both solar and lunar eclipses.

Dark Future of the Sun: The sun’s going to burn itself out in five billion years.  You might need to make arrangements.

"Yeah, being hot and being a rocket scientist is kind of a drag. My colleagues keep telling me they'd love to see my anus. So I counter and tell them that if they have at least a 10-inch telescope, maybe they can..."

So yes, topics are interesting and well presented.  If there’s a gripe though, it’s the occasionally bad CGI, and the repetitious use of it.  The CGI occasionally looks like it was rendered on a Commodore 64 and they tend to reuse footage more than the old Battlestar Galactica (okay, maybe not quite that much).  They even like to flip the images on the screen, just so you can look at it from the other side like it’s new.  I’d expect more from a show this well-put-together.  But otherwise it’s solid.

The Package

The episodes are in TV standard, the audio is in boilerplate Dolby.  The package is two plastic pullout sleeves in a cardboard box.  No special features.


Out of a Possible 5 Stars