Earth and Space combines two of my favorite History Channel shows, The Universe and How the Earth was Made. The first seasons of both programs are included in this Blu-ray set, making this a good place to start for those unfamiliar with either series.
Before delving into the individual strengths of the two shows, I want to first point out what makes them so good. Both The Universe and How the Earth was Made are based on sound science and they present their material in a visually dynamic and entertaining way. These shows are great for the amateur astronomer and geologist in all of us.
Of the two, my preference lies with The Universe, but that has more to do with my greater interest in outer space than any fault in How the Earth was Made. Quality-wise, both series are excellent, but the subject matter of the former just hits closer to home for me. Season one, in my opinion, was the strongest, so that makes this set especially enticing.
For those unfamiliar with the show, The Universe sets out to explain the incredible objects and phenomenon that fill, well, our universe. Season One focuses primarily on our solar system, and it refrains from getting into areas that belong more to theoretical physics and biology than straight-up cosmology that later seasons delve into. Each episode features commentary from top-notch scientists currently working in the field and some amazing computer graphics illustrating the things they’re talking about. It’s a beautiful, entertaining, intelligent show that I can’t get enough of.
How the Earth was Made keeps the focus strictly on home—that is, the Earth. Each episode takes one specific geological feature or earthly phenomenon and explores the various geological forces that created/caused them as well as the history of our studying them. Like The Universe, this series features experts discussing these various subjects and some amazing CG and real-life images that illustrate what they’re talking about.
One of the reasons why I love shows like these (and these in particular) is because they help give me perspective. It’s so easy to take this little blue ball we call home for granted, but seeing the incredible forces that go into making it and understanding the vast cosmic sea that surrounds it reminds me just how amazing it truly is. For me, science not only serves as a useful tool for explaining the world, it also helps me appreciate it by pointing out the dangerous, perplexing, illogical, and beautiful forces that create the tapestry of forever, and these shows do exactly that.
Secrets of the Sun
Mars: The Red Planet
The End of the Earth: Deep Space Threats to Our Planet
Jupiter: The Giant Planet
The Inner Planets: Mercury & Venus
Saturn: Lord of the Rings
Life and Death of a Star
The Outer Planets
The Most Dangerous Place in the Universe
Search for ET
Beyond the Big Bang
How the Earth was Made
San Andreas Fault
The Deepest Place on Earth
Driest Place on Earth
Each episode is presented in Fullscreen with no aspect ratios given. The audio is in DTS-HD 2.0. These shows look and sound great in Blu-ray with no problems whatsoever with the transfer.
There’s only one extra in this set, but boy is it a good one. The feature-length documentary Beyond the Big Bang originally aired as a kind of capstone to the first season, and it’s an incredible account of the history of science. It’s highly informative and it helps you to truly appreciate the impact science has had on us as a species and the incredible hurtles scientists faced in their quest for truth.
Earth and Space retails for approximately $60 on Amazon, making it slightly cheaper to buy than purchasing the first seasons of both shows individually. If you’re a fan, as I obviously am, then it’s well worth the money. I’ve complained in the past about the History Channel regurgitating previous seasons of The Universe to make a little extra money, but in this case I don’t really have a problem. I see this as almost a primer for these two shows, and given that this set is cheaper than buying the individual Blu-rays, it’s not a bad deal. Recommended.
A&E Television Networks presents Earth and Space. Running time: 21 hours 56 minutes. Rating: PG. Released on Blu-ray: October 26, 2010.