In the beginning The Universe was a fascinating tour of our cosmos based on hard science and concrete evidence. As the series progressed the episodes began to become more speculative in nature, covering more esoteric concepts such as alien life and faster than light travel. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these episodes (they are still quite enjoyable) but they do represent a sea change and took the show in an unexpected direction.
My favorite season is also the only one I don’t own: Season One, so I was particularly glad to get Our Solar System in to review because all of the ten episodes come from that season. The only problem (other than this being a repackaging of a season in a blatant attempt to get more money from viewers) is that it’s missing my favorite episode, “Beyond the Big Bang,” an in-depth history of science and the social, political, and religious upheavals scientific progress has created. I suppose the people that put together this Blu-ray thought that it didn’t fit in with the whole solar system theme, but considering every episode comes from Season One, I don’t see why they wouldn’t include it.
Obviously, if you own the first season then you should skip Our Solar System. Even if you don’t, I would recommend buying Season One; it’s a bit more expensive, but for the money you get four more episodes including “Beyond the Big Bang.”
Each episode is presented in Fullscreen with no technical specifications given. Audio comes in a single English language track in Dolby Digital Stereo. In terms of quality, the show looks and sounds great. The computer-generated images of the planets, outer space, and space phenomena are gorgeous to watch, and the Blu-ray treatment makes them even better.
No special features are included in this set.
Honestly, I can’t recommend this Blu-ray set. As much as I love the series, this is a cheap attempt to bilk more money out of the fans. You’d be much better off buying Season One or complete seasons one through three set. You’ll get more for your money. For this reason, I’m not giving this set many disks. It’s not a reflection of the quality, but in response to the fact that this is a repackaging. Not recommended.
A&E Television presents The Universe: Our Solar System. Directed by: Douglas J. Cohen. Running time: 7 hours 50 minutes. Rating: NR. Released on Blu-ray: August 24, 2010.