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Universe: The Complete Season Two, The (Blu-ray Review)

15 Jul, 2009 By: Chris Tribbey

Universe Season 2

$79.95 four-disc Blu-ray

You know those Blu-ray Discs featuring crackling fireplaces or tranquil aquariums, merely there to set the mood and show off the plasma screen? A&E Home Entertainment’s History Channel series “The Universe” is much the same, except for really smart people.

The brilliant CGI and visual storytelling in the 18 episodes of the second season is enough to entertain, allowing you to put these discs on mute and just enjoy the visuals while you do something else. Take the time to listen, however, and you’ll easily become addicted to this nifty series. The show is a comprehensive presentation of our understanding of the universe, covering everything from black holes to supernovas to time travel.

Little green men never really get involved in this series, with the History Channel choosing more common and explainable fare to study, such as the moon, Mars and “Cosmic Collisions.” Sometimes the episodes are easily digested and the information easily understood, while other times you know things are simply over your head. You can only dumb down what dark matter and an Einstein-Rosen Bridge are to a certain point.

Episodes such as “Space Travel,” “Colonizing Space” and “Cosmic Apocalypse” are alone worth the price of admission for this series. They’re uplifting, entertaining and have replay value.

Several of the astronomers feature prominently in more than one episode and even share their backstories when they’re relevant, while others appear just long enough to offer their expertise. And no two episodes play out the same, with some using Earthly understanding of physics to explain the great unknowns and others planting us squarely millions of miles away for an entire hour.

A lengthy bonus featurette, “Backyard Astronomers,” gives viewers step-by-step instructions on how to view planets in our solar system and constellations in our galaxy.

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