The 5 DVD package of the complete Season Two of The Universe by the History Channel provides over 14 hours of captivating science. Bright lights and driving sound push information to the viewer as if a mad scientist had been let loose in a vault containing an infinite supply of paint and sound effects. And with the universe being as big as things get, there’s no end of great subjects on the discs.
Though having a broad mandate, the producers stay focused upon the wonders of space. The included 18 episodes have exotic titles and serious subjects. For instance, wild weather looks at storms on far away planets with wind speeds of many hundreds of kilometres per hour. Or, the cosmic web, a structure of super-galaxies and black matter, is the largest thing envisionable. Each come up with great fanfare and usually a broad dash of fun, thus keeping the viewer interested for the duration.
However, not all is song and dance. Documentary interviews with current investigators get interspaced amongst the visuals. And, accurate models, footage of real hardware and imagery from ongoing science programs serve to reinforce the factual nature. These continually remind the viewer that the subjects are very real and that many people are dedicating their lives to adding to our knowledge.
Most of us won’t be able to wander the surface of Europa or bounce in and out of black holes. Therefore, productions like these episodes are perhaps the best way of experiencing the wonders that surround us. Vibrant and lively, they lift us off the couch and into another realm that’s part fact and part imagination. As a teaching aid or self-learning tool, the 5 DVDs of The Universe – Season Two will resonate with a flurry of science amid a furor of colour and sound.