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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Science > Astronomy > TV > The Universe – Our Solar System (History Channel/A&E Blu-ray)

The Universe – Our Solar System (History Channel/A&E Blu-ray)


Picture: B-     Sound: C+     Extras: D     Episodes: B-



Though part of our universe since my conception, I have only viewed it on TV and Blu-ray as of recently.  The Universe is a fascinating series that has been on the History Channel for a few years now and whereas at first I found it enjoyable, as of recently I have found the material to be a bit of a stretch.  As we reach the edges of our universe as well as others, the fact of the matter is that it is all a mystery.  Scientists and scholars have long presumed what is out there and have made very educated conclusions; some based in fact, others merely hypotheses.  Whereas the series is interesting in recent years I have been left yawning and bored.  This collection released on Blu-ray is a gathering of some of the best of what The Universe has to offer; as the information is surrounding the universe we know the most about…our own.


This release is confusingly composed of the first ten episodes of Season One, only leaving out the last 4 episodes; leaving one to question, why not just buy Season One?  The information is strong and entertaining, unlike recent episodes of the series.  The Universe: Our Solar System quickly captures the viewers’ interest as it delivers information you never knew or cast in a new light.  I thoroughly enjoyed the ten episode lot and it seems that it is not only a good education disc, but also entertaining.


The episodes included are as follows:


Secrets of the Sun

Mars: The Red Planet

The End of the Earth: Deep Space Threats to our Planet

Jupiter: The Giant Planet

The Moon

Spaceship Earth

The Inner Planets: Mercury and Venus

Saturn: Lord of the Rings

Alien Galaxies

Life and Death of a Star



The series is a mix of both High Def real footage and brilliant CGI that does not feel like a choppy 1970’s educational film.  The seemingly boring topics of physics come to life and suck the viewer in; perhaps even inspiring future generations that there is more out there than bling and fame.


The video and sound are nicely done, although not perfect.  The video is presented in a 1080i AVC Encoded 1.78 X 1 Widescreen that has its highs and lows.  The clarity, depth and detail are amazing at times and ‘blah’ at others.  The colors are okay, but never stunning with blacks (especially when talking about the universe) could be better.  Overall, the picture quality is inconsistent, but how could it be?  The footage comes from a variety of sources ranging from quite old to HD/brand new to CGI; so as you can imagine it is all over the place.  The sound is a standard unimpressive Dolby 2.0 Stereo that gets the job done, but it is not up to snuff with Blu-ray quality.  Audiences buy Blu-ray to be blown out of their seats and with a title like The Universe the viewer expects the best.  Whereas it was a fun title the technical features add little to the experience or my recommendation to own this set.


Sadly extras are not available here.


If you love the series, buy The Universe: Season One; as in all honesty this cutback re-release is a waste of time as all it does is steal 4 episodes from you.


The universe is big and even bigger if you get all of Season One.



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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