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The Universe: The Complete Season One(TV) (2007)
Travel through the galaxies and explore extraterrestrial phenomenon with this sweeping examination of the universe from The History Channel, which uses state-of-the-art computer technology to take viewers up close to distant planets and stars. Topics include black holes, comets, alien galaxies, star deaths, the moon, the interior of the sun and much more. All 13 episodes from the first season are included, plus the bonus episode "Beyond the Big Bang."
For more about The Universe: The Complete Season One and the The Universe: The Complete Season One Blu-ray release, see the The Universe: The Complete Season One Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on November 20, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
The Universe: The Complete Season One Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, November 20, 2008
A terrific collection of thirteen episodes focusing on the history of our Universe as well as the past, present, and future of the planets that reside in it "The Universe: The Complete Season 1" arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of A&E Home Video.
No one knows how the Universe came to exist. No one knows how it will end. Some speculate that it was the Big Bang that gave birth to millions of stars and planets, including our own. Others are unsure. Some believe that it will be another cosmic event that will end everything the human race has been struggling to understand since the dawn of time. But how long before it happens? Billions of years according to some. Much, much less according to others.
Speculating with what ifs, some more logical and backed with factual data than others, thirteen episodes tell different stories about the Big Bang, the Earth's changing climate construction, and the manner in which the planets that surround us have evolved. Some also speculate on the existence of ET in the far corners of the galaxy which we not yet explored. Are we alone? Is anyone out there watching?
Some of the entries in this collection also explore past events that gave scientists a clue how the Earth became a planet, how life came to exist. Through marvelously done animated sequences the audience is given the opportunity to witness the progression route of the Earth from, supposedly, a star to a planet. Billions of years shaped the foundation of our planet and eventually set the stage for life to appear.
The more exotic flavor of The Universe, however, stems from its fascinating look at our neighbors – Mercury, Saturn, Mars, Jupiter and Venus. The evolution each planet underwent billions of years ago is carefully analyzed and also impressively compared to specific evolutionary patterns from Earth's history. Scientists and researchers from leading US and foreign institutions state why life did not emerge on these planets, what were the specific conditions that prevented life from emerging, and how likely it is for the human race to use some of them as an alternative home in the future.
Some of the theories are truly fascinating. But they are also quite disturbing. Particularly troubling is the fate Mercury suffered. Also called the dead planet for billions of years Mercury has been bombarded with massive floating asteroids that not only altered its surface dramatically but according to many scientists also "corrected" its gravitational movement. As a result, Mercury became the only planet on which the Sun is now rising from the West.
How likely it is that such massive massive asteroids would collide with our planet and effectively terminate life? The scientists are once again divided on the issue. Some believe that it is not a question of whether or not the Earth will be hit by a massive asteroid, the question is when. Others are skeptical. They believe that the human race has advanced enough to effectively protect itself if such an event is to occur. Technology allowing scientists from all over the world to track the progression of stars and comets that come dangerously close to the Earth are now in existence and de facto allowing us to see well in advance if such a dangerous collision is to occur. But what if a much greater cosmic event wipes out not only the Earth but the universe as we know it as well?.
According to those who have gathered enough information to comfortably state that the universe was born from the Big Bang it is also a matter of time before another as powerful cosmic event puts an end to it. Forces the human nature is yet to fully comprehend are apparently altering what we consider as space even today and it is only a matter of time before they repeat the same process that gave birth to our galaxy. Only this time around the event will likely erase what has been in existence for billions of years and replace it with something else. When and what something else will be no one knows. Yet!
1. Secrets of the Sun
2. Mars: The Red Planet
3. The end of the Earth: Deep Space threats to our planet
4. Jupiter: The Giant Planet
5. The Moon
1. Spaceship Earth
2. The inner planets: Mercury & Venus
3. Saturn: Lord of the rinds
4. Alien Galaxies
5. Life and death of a star
1. The outer planets
2. The most dangerous place in the universe
3. Search for ET
4. Documentary: Beyond the big bang
The Universe: The Complete Season One Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC, and granted a 1080i transfer The Universe: The Complete Season 1 arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of A&E Home Video.
I assume that those of you with HD satellite or cable subscriptions have already seen at least one episode of this marvelous show. And you have to admit that even if you aren't particularly interested in astronomy The Universe boasts some mighty impressive visuals. As far as I am concerned this Blu-ray set does all of them justice. Contrast for example is incredibly strong allowing some of the more colorful scenes to reveal texture and detail that are absolutely breathtaking (Jupiter: The Giant Planet for example had me literally glued to the screen). The actual color-scheme on the other hand is probably amongst the best I have seen on a documentary. It is lush and incredibly rich truly transforming these well-crafted episodes into captivating short films that you won't tire looking at. As mentioned above clarity and detail are of superb quality and during some of the animated footage where stars burst and asteroids explode you will literally be immersed into a sea of colors with countless variations. The non-animated footage on the other hand where numerous interviews and lectures are offered is vibrant, detailed, and very pleasing and therefore it also makes for a terrific viewing experience. The actual quality of the prints provided by A&E Home Video is also as impressive. I looked for but did not spot a single scratch or speck (excluding of course some of the archival footage where the original source isn't in perfect condition). (Note: The three discs containing the 13 episodes of "The Universe" are Region-Free meaning that you will be able to play them on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location).
The Universe: The Complete Season One Blu-ray, Audio Quality
UPDATE: It appears that there is a newer pressing of this release which does include an English LPCM 2.0 track.
The only audio track that you will find on this Blu-ray disc is: English Dolby Digital 2.0. It is somewhat disappointing that a PCM track of some sort isn't included here but in reality I really do not believe that there would be much of an upgrade if A&E Home Video were to include a PCM 5.1 mix. Aside from the ambient tunes that pop up here and there, as I mentioned earlier, the majority of the content is dialog driven. For me personally the wealth of information these series provide was much more important and I definitely did not notice the lack of a more elaborate soundtrack. Finally, I did not detect any hissing, drop-outs, or audio distortions to report here. Please note that optional English subtitles are not provided.
The Universe: The Complete Season One Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
This 3BD collection does not offer any supplemental materials. On disc 3, however, you will find a full-blown documentary titled "Beyond The Big Bang" which goes into great detail explaining how the universe came to exist, how it currently evolves, and how it is likely to end. Some of the theories and speculations discussed by the scientists are simply mind-boggling and put into perspective a lot of what the human race has come to accept as "reality". The wilder theories are even more fascinating to ponder as some of them are so unbelievable that I would not be surprised if long after we are gone they turn out to be true. In any event, you have to see this documentary!
The Universe: The Complete Season One Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
What a terrific show! I had seen some of the episodes prior to receiving this great looking set and had a good idea what to expect from it but being able to see all thirteen episodes without any commercial breaks is definitely something else. In fact, I was so perplexed by the terrific visuals and fascinating theories The Universe offers that a few nights ago I literally lost track of the time and ended up seeing the morning sun peaking through my window. Really, really terrific programming! As to the actual Blu-ray set I have only one minor complaint – the audio could have been a bit more elaborate. Highly Recommended.
The Universe: Other Seasons
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