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NOVA - Origins (2004)

Neil Degrasse Tyson , Alice Harper , Julia Cort and Larry Klein  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Neil Degrasse Tyson
  • Directors: Alice Harper, Julia Cort and Larry Klein, Thomas Levenson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: December 7, 2004
  • Run Time: 240 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001WTWPG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,198 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Origins is a spectacular four-part miniseries, first presented on PBS's Nova, about the beginnings of the universe, our solar system, life on Earth, and the possibility of extraterrestrial life on other planets. It is not a stretch to say that Origins, among all television documentaries about the evolving cosmos, offers the most breathtaking dramatic visual representation of Earth's tumultuous history, and the clearest, step-by-step explanation of the formation of planets, the development of water and living organisms, and the forces that shape other parts of our galaxy and beyond.

Hosted by the engaging Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, Origins consists of four one-hour episodes. The first focuses on the initial billion years of Earth history, research into the emergence of water (which appeared surprisingly early, as it turns out, and could have been delivered by comets) and the birth of the moon. The second show concerns hardy, single-cell organisms on Earth developing, in some quite inhospitable places, into complex life forms, while the third covers the Big Bang and the final installment looks at theories involving extraterrestrial life. If the topics sound familiar, their presentation is always fresh, dynamic, and thoroughly accessible. Watching Origins would be a great, context-providing preface to the study of a number of niche subjects, including geology, physics, biology, and much else. An invaluable production. --Tom Keogh

Product Description

Has the universe always existed? How did it become a place that could harbor life? Are we alone, or are there alien worlds waiting to be discovered? NOVA presents some startling new answers in Origins, a groundbreaking four-part NOVA miniseries. New clues from the frontiers of science are presented by dynamic astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History. As the host of Origins, Tyson leads viewers on a cosmic journey to the beginning of time and to the depths of space, in search of the first stirrings of life and its traces on other worlds. The series' first hour, Origins: Earth is Born, gives viewers a spectacular glimpse of the tumultuous first billion years of Earth — a time of continuous catastrophe. Episode two, Origins: How Life Began, zeroes in on the mystery of exactly how it happened. Join the hunt for hardy microbes that flourish in the most unlikely places: inside rocks in a mine shaft two miles down, inside a cave dripping with acid as strong as a car battery's, and in noxious gas bubbles erupting from the Pacific Ocean’s floor. The survival of these tough microorganisms suggests they may be related to the planet's first primitive life forms. Hour three starts with a bang — the Big Bang in which everything began. Origins: Back to the Beginning explores how the colossal, mind-boggling forces of the early universe made it possible for habitable worlds to emerge. In episode four, Origins: Where are the Aliens?, Tyson explores such provocative questions as: Would "E.T.s" resemble "us" or the creatures of science fiction? And are there planets on which life can flourish rare or common in our universe? Special DVD features include: materials and activities for educators; a link to the NOVA Web site; scene selections; closed captions; and described video for the visually impaired. (Final features TBD) On two discs (disc size TBD). Region coding: All regions. Audio: Dolby stereo. Screen format: Letterboxed.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The NOVA four-part series, Origins, is the perfect gift for a lay person who's interested in the evolution of earth and its unique place in the Universe. I found myself totally engrossed in the development of our planet, learning things that I never knew. I had no idea that our moon was created when another planet struck earth billions of years ago, or that the oceans on our planet were actually formed from the ice on comets that hit earth during its formative years. I didn't know that life on our planet began from the microbes that came here attached to the comets and astroids that struck earth. I didn't know that it was because of having a planet the size of Jupiter in our solar system that we were actually shielded from the vast majority of destructive astroids that travelled through our system. This enabled life on earth to continue without too many major interruptions. I didn't know that scientists have already discovered other solar systems within our galaxy that have planets and the possibility of life. And, these are just a few of the things discussed by Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson as the host and narrator of Origins. This is a show with a wealth of information geared to people of all ages with an acute interest in our planet and the universe. The only complaint I have is that some of the computer animations were showed over and over again, especially in Parts 1 & 2. Other than that, Origins is an excellent series that teaches the viewer about astronomy, biology and geology in a way thats informative and highly entertaining and never boring! A great gift for kids who are just getting started in their quest to understand the origins of life.
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58 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Get NOVA mini-series! November 19, 2004
A Kid's Review
It's a great 4-part NOVA mini-series about the origins of the solar system and life on earth. Scientific information is presented in an interesting and clear manner. Suitable for kids as well as grownups. Simply wonderful!
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31 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining/Mind Blowing August 10, 2006
This package contains 2 DVD's and about 4 hours of programming. The production quality is excellent for an educational series. The producers especially loved the visual animation of the earth colliding with a Mars sized planetesimal approximately 50 million years after the formation of the earth which resulted in the moon and a larger earth, because they used the graphic 5 or 6 times on the 1st two episodes(disc 1). The Earth was spinning 4 times faster in the early days and the moon was 6 times closer. The young sun was weaker and the atmosphere had only 1% Oxygen but within a few hundred million years there was solid crust and large volumes of liquid water. 6 hour days and up to 200 foot tidal pulls on the earth's crust by the moon's gravity with each rotation. Another concept the producer's absolutely loved was that it took almost 3 billion years for single celled photo-synthetic bacteria to bring the level of Oxygen in the atmosphere up enough to turn the planet from red to blue. When you think about it, that is a pretty awesome thing ! So for 21 hours of the 24 hour day analogy, the surface of planet earth was either lifeless(the first 600 million years (3.4 hours) or dominated by these single celled photo synthetic bacteria. Only in the last 3 hours did everything else evolve. There's more on the 1st two episodes including tests to confirm exploding meteors supplying the material for the spark of 1st life on the planet due to peptide formation from the pressure of impact on amino acids. Episode 1 Disc 2 is goes into great detail on the possibility of extra-terrestrial life and episode 2 deals with the making of a detailed map of the universe 380 thousand years after the Big Bang(13.7 billion years ago) when everything had finally cooled down enough to emit visible light. Read more ›
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My kids loved this July 20, 2006
I showed excerpts from this series to my ninth-grade science classes and got lots of positive feedback. My own kids liked it as well. Lots of good "probable case scenarios." Will drive creationists crazy.
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29 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life, at the beginning August 19, 2005
I thought this Nova program was very entertaining. It is a lively

presentation and helps answer many questions about the origins

of life. I feel it is an excellent choice for the whole family

and something that is well worth veiwing.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensational... A+ January 22, 2007
By Greg S
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Beautiful images from single cell life forms to CGI representations of galaxies (and Hubble pics), plus a nicely paced presentation make this a must have for science doc fans. There are a few small areas it could explore more deeply, but for the most part it is 4 hrs of accurate and very entertaining viewing.

For those looking for a more in depth overview of why it is so difficult to actually detect other intelligences out there in the cosmos, checkout "Life Beyond Earth" by Timothy Ferris (another excellent science doc)
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By Nats
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Dr Tyson and NOVA do a good job introducing the currently held scientific theories but it barely skims the surface and moves to fast before
going off to another topic leaving huge gaps. Many of the views of origins from the origin of the earth and moon, to the origin of life
its self are debated by scientists. With ever growing advances in technology, science is learning and discovering new things which challenge
many of the theories in this video.
This video series is simply to short and condensed to provide the viewer with a meaningful understanding of anything, what it does though, is
spark your interest in learning more.

If you want to know the science and controversies behind any of the theories presented here, you need to do some research, but this video is a
great place to start, and I recommend it mostly for young people.

Dr Tyson is a good presenter and he makes the pursuit of science interesting and exciting, just what is needed to set the spark in a young mind.

BTW, I did order my copy from Amazon, and as always, their service was flawless. They also had the best price at the time.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Evolution evangelism?
Neil Tyson is very seductive and smooth in explaining cosmic evolution. Tyson's video is a high quality feast for the eyes, but don't let that seduce you. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Surf Deep
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
The information and the pictures are out of this world! :) My 10 and 11 year old love it. Neil Tyson is quite engaging. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Kimberly
5.0 out of 5 stars Nova - Origins
I am studying a course I designed (Our Earth) and am working on the Pre-Cambrian period. I like to use a multi-media approach and find Nova materials excellent for my use.
Published 7 months ago by H. Koenig
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Great introduction to some very important astronomical discoveries
Presented in a format that will appeal to audiences of all ages
I enjoyed it very much
Published 7 months ago by M
3.0 out of 5 stars OK for intro, but no challenging science instruction
I love niel Tyson, but was a little disappointed by this video. I expected a little more real science, and a little less promotopn of science, and intro-type material. Read more
Published 7 months ago by BlueNinja
5.0 out of 5 stars Nova Origins DVD
Excellent program set - even though a little date it provides a comprehensive overview.

The twenty-four clock is a good way of demonstrating the degrees of separation... Read more
Published 9 months ago by val dunne
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Informative
Wow Dr. Tyson really knocked this one out of the ball park, never dull or dry always interesting and sharp, rite on target, without being boring, Good job!
Published 12 months ago by odie's friend
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow
The graphics are so real!! I thoroughly enjoy watching this one and will watch it time and again. Highly recommended!
Published 15 months ago by Katie
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent general introduction to the most compelling questions we can...
"Family viewing" might not be the first phrase that comes to mind here, but this 2-DVD set is perfect viewing for adults & children alike, or for anyone who wants to know how we &... Read more
Published 16 months ago by William Timothy Lukeman
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Introduction To the Universe and How the Earth Was Made
The Universe and How The Earth Was Made Were Released by the History Channel and go into more depth than NOVA -Origins. I recommend both sets.
Published 18 months ago by Zarathustra
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