Spotlight On: The Universe S2 on Blu-ray


Blu-ray is a fantastic technology, for many reasons.  Having the wonderful world presented to you in glorious 1080 resolution is eye opening.  I’ve become an HD-snob and there are very few things I’ll bother watching in standard definition.  Even regular DVDs must go into an upconverting player for me to watch.  I’ve been spoiled.  Documentaries have long been held up as the most stunning examples of what HD can look like, with rave reviews for programs like Planet Earth being stated as prime examples of why you should make the switch to high definition.  I have my own idea of what the perfect HD program is.  Surprisingly it’s not some slasher film or hyped up action movie.  No, there is plenty there that can be underwhelming compared to expectations.  My perfect program is always about space.  There is just something about it.  The absolute blackness of space, presented in absolute black by the powerful high definition technology, pinpricked with brilliant dots of light, vibrant colors of strange planets.  A movie like Sunshine on Blu-ray, hell yeah.  Or now, a series like The History Channel’s The Universe. Double hell yeah.

TheUniverse_BlurayWhen not watching movies, I am a total History Channel nerd.  I can’t get enough theoretical physics or explorations of distant planets, which serve as a reminder that despite being totally awesome, we’re about the most insignificant things in the entire universe.  Which is why I’m very excited to let you know that The Universe series is now on Blu-ray.  Three seasons are currently available on Blu-ray, though the one I’ll be speaking about is season two, which had some amazing episodes for a space junkie like myself.

The Universe Season Two is presented on 4 high-definition Blu-ray discs and features 18 episodes spanning a whopping 14+ hours of pure space awesome.  The MSRP for this set is a respectable $79.95, but if you shop Amazon you can get it for almost half off.  I want to call this season (or any season) of The Universe a must-own simply because of the jaw-dropping visuals of space presented on the Blu-ray format.  I mean heck, if you think the oceans look cool in hi-def, imagine the solar system.  The sound is nice where it needs to be, though this isn’t an action movie, but the real winner is the picture, again.  Maybe it’s just me, but staring into the blackness of space or watching some awesome nebula spin into view is just a great way to spend some time.  It’s better than the telescope sitting on my balcony – but that’s usually pointed at a nearby hotel anyways.

For those of you on the fence about checking this out, let me give a quick run down of my favorite episodes/subjects covered in Season Two, just to see if that can get you in the mood for some space exploration. (wink wink)

  • 2.01 Alien Planets. An examination of far off planets that have some downright wacky/scary developments, like super dense water that, through the magic of physics, somehow forms a kind of hot ice.
  • 2.02 Cosmic Holes. All giggling aside, black holes, white holes, mini holes, and worm holes are among the most interesting and maddening things in the entire universe.
  • 2.03 Mysteries of the Moon. Earth is lucky.  We only have one moon, but in comparison to Earth it is gigantic when we talk about moons in general.  Plus, we can stare at it all night and look at it through our telescope.  This episode goes into a bit more about why the Moon is sweet.
  • 2.05 Alien Moons. Did you know there are about 170 known moons in our Solar System alone?  Many scientists think the key to finding alien life might not be on alien planets, but on their orbiting moons.
  • 2.06 Dark Matter/Dark Energy. No one really knows anything about this substance other than it exists.  And there’s a lot of it.
  • 2.09 Supernovas. Your Blu-ray player was made to show stars explode.
  • 2.14 Nebulas. Some of the most visually arresting things you’ll ever see.
  • 2.18 Cosmic Apocalypse. Some day, everything we know will end.  While that may suck, it’s also an incredibly awesome subject to talk about.

All in all, you owe it to yourself and your Blu-ray player to pick up an awesome documentary and something featuring the vastness of space.  Why not make it this awesome show from The History Channel?

The Upside: An awesome journey through the universe in beautiful high definition.

The Downside: If you watch a lot of Season One, some of the episodes re-use material, though you can’t blame them too much.  Pricey if you buy it at MSRP.  Could also use a few more extras.

On the Side: Jupiter and Saturn have a whopping 124 known moons between them.  Your Anus Uranus has 27.

Grade: A-

Robert Fure is many things: horror expert, ruggedly handsome man of the world, witty prose composer, and writer of his own biography page. Beneath the bravado is a scared little boy, ready to grow into an awesome man and make lies about a scared little boy inside of him. Wait a minute...

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