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Big History [Blu-ray]


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Big History [Blu-ray] + Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey [Blu-ray]
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Product Details

  • Actors: Bryan Cranston
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Blu-ray, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Studio: A&E HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: March 11, 2014
  • Run Time: 442 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00HNR406I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,647 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

HISTORY® s new fascinating series BIG HISTORY, takes you on an exploration, crisscrossing billions of years of time and space to show how everything, and everyone, is connected. Digital UV copy included in both DVD and BD sets! Based on The Big History Project which was started by Bill Gates and David Christian to enable the global teaching of Big History concept. Narrated by acclaimed actor Bryan Cranston. With cutting-edge visuals and graphics to show surprising links between past and present.

Customer Reviews

I found the information in Big History to be amazing.
Rocky Mountain Snowgirl
A bit too much self promotion and bragging and some things I already knew.
Bob
I tried three episodes of the series and am left wanting more.
Farburn69

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By D. Martinez on December 1, 2013
It's like watching a history show scripted by a very knowledgeable professor who has ADHD, and that in post production the tangents were expanded instead of being edited out.The show is very interesting, specially the first few episodes, but often times the connections they try to make are tangential or seem to be arbitrarily picked. For example, on the episode about flight ("Defeating Gravity") when talking about the first airplane; the engine, the the cloth material and metal skeleton of the plane get hardly mentioned. Instead, BIG History focused on the aluminum of one part of the engine and the wood that complements the metal skeleton. Why are those things more important than the engine itself, who knows.

In summary here is a list of pros and cons that might help in deciding if this show is worth watching.
Pro
*excellent production value
*it's not overly dramatic
*a lot of the information is at least intriguing and some of the connections can be downright jaw dropping
*it's educational
*it will keep sending you to Wikipedia

Cons
*arbitrary/tangential and sometimes irrelevant connections
*the guests often repeat a phrase along the lines of "before now it has not been revealed in a way that only BIG History can" as if all other disciplines (including traditional history) are taught in a vacuum
*you have to have basic understanding of most the topics they discuss, at least a college education, or else you're going to be taking a lot of stuff on faith because often the show makes bold claims and provide no evidence or logic to back it up

Overall, I liked the show. It's one of the only current educational show that I find interesting and entertaining.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Serge J. Van Steenkiste on March 13, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
History aims to alter our understanding of the universe with Big History, i.e., the look at our world spun into a web that has been stretched for over 13.7 billion years of history. Therefore, Big History discards the traditional timeline that has been stretched for a few thousands of years into the past. To alter the understanding of viewers, History uses what they call eight thresholds, moments that have irreversibly changed our world.

These thresholds, which are clearly articulated in Disc 3, are:

1. The Big Bang;
2. The birth of the stars;
3. The creation of the complex elements;
4. The formation of the earth;
5. The beginning of life;
6. The rise of collective learning among humans;
7. The farming revolution;
8. The modern revolution.

The hidden link among these eight thresholds is the spread of power and information over space and time.

Big History ends Disc 3 by speculating over the rise and nature of the next big threshold:

1. Will human beings be able to successfully colonize other planets?
2. Can technology overtake humans?
3. Will human beings discover intelligent life elsewhere?
4. Will intelligent life discover the existence of humans on earth and / or elsewhere?
5. Will a catastrophic event coming from outside the planet earth dramatically change its course?
6. Will a new worldwide disaster on earth take central stage?
7. Will human beings cause a catastrophic event on earth?

These possible thresholds are not mutually exclusive.

Discs 1 and 2 complement the understanding of Disc 3 by looking at specific connections crisscrossing through time and space. Examples are the role of the domesticated horse in the spread of some languages or the role of salt in the rise of civilizations.

In summary, Big History encourages viewers to rethink anew what they have been taught and / or have discovered on their own.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Robert E. McDaniel on June 26, 2014
Format: DVD
I started watching Big History with great anticipation but sadly, I was disappointed. I felt like I was being treated like someone in middle school. It constantly was referring to the "Big History" and its relationship to each item. It would reiterate many items as if the viewer needed reminding of its importance. Each segment was relatively short as if it should've been part of a classroom viewing. The last disc was quite good compared to the first discs and was considerably longer. I would recommend this for viewing by children in a age group of about 8 to 15.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Thomas M. Downs on November 26, 2013
Verified Purchase
Great overview of how one event or resource can shape cultures and civilization. This is an overview type experience and great introduction for diving deeper. It is not intended to be a doctoral dissertation, so ignore the negative reviews that expect that. I can see this as a great way to help people who see history as just dates and wars how much more fascinating it can be through a big view lens.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By David Keeney on April 7, 2014
Format: DVD
I like the idea of showing how important elements we might take for granted made such an impact or were necessary for our existence. In fact this had huge potential to be great but lacked more in-depth information that might have made it great. I really felt like they assumed that most of us had a limited ability to understand information when presented so tended to repeat the same facts over and over as if they were afraid we just didn't get it.

Another thing that really bothered me was all the bright flashing, sound blasts and redundant graphics. I really think producers assume if they don't show a bright flash on the screen or change the picture every 2 seconds we will get bored and walk away. This problem persists across the board these days with most television so this is a more general point. The images flash so quickly that it gets very annoying and almost nauseating. I would rather dose off enjoying an informational program in contrast to their attempt to keep me interested with bright flashes and loud sounds. I wanted to enjoy this and the topic matter was awesome however I couldn't really watch it as presented.
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