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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Science > Biology > Health > The Unknown World (WGBH/Nova)

The Unknown World (Nova)


Picture: C+ Sound: C+ Extras: D Episode: B



One of the greatest installments of the WGBH series Nova remains the Unknown World (1996), which looks at microorganisms in everything from those that feed on dust to hair debris, to clothing and old paper. It also talks about the nature of such bugs and bacteria, including what you skin does when it is damaged, to the AIDS virus, to the way bacterial spreads, including on your teeth. Though some might get freaked out by this, the show is excellent and a too-short hour-long installment of the series.


Narrated by David Ogden Stiers, the program is always informative and nonstop in coming up with more and more micro-creatures usually hidden from the public by default, if not the science community. It gives you new ideas about evolution and the useful, if sometimes destructive and creepy results of each bug or like creature. There is even regular insects and how they do or do not handle carnivorous plants. This is the kind of show that put Nova on the map, so it is strongly recommended.


The 1.33 X 1 image is filmed for the most part and looks good, despite some detail limits. Color is good and the print is clean. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has faint surrounds at best, but the sound is just fine, including the remarkable capturing of the noises these organisms actually make. Except for DVD-ROM PDF files you can print of educational material, there are no extras. Too bad, because this show and its subjects have much more to offer. As it stands, it is still a fine, basic disc.



- Nicholas Sheffo


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