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The Universe: Collector's Edition Megaset

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14-Disc Version
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The unfathomable power of the Universe explodes to life in an out-of-this-world set from HISTORYTM. Planets, stars, and galaxies are revealed in a whole new light: not as tiny dots in a telescope, but as if you were right there. Incredibly realistic computer reconstructions, sophisticated animations, and the most current scientific intelligence combine to show the hottest events in the sky, from colliding celestial bodies to collapsing suns.

Closer to home, THE UNIVERSE COLLECTOR S EDITION delves into how our own Earth developed from an inferno of molten rock to the beautiful orb that sustains us today. Experience firsthand the cataclysmic events that set the stage for life, and visit sites where Earth s birthing process is still in evidence. Relive astronomical triumphs, from the first crude lenses that were able to magnify celestial bodies to probes that blaze to the most distant planets. It s a journey of cosmic discovery, amazement, and adventure like nothing on earth.

Join HISTORYTM on a stunning exploration of Earth, our solar system, and far-away galaxies on 14 DVDs.

Contents include:
The Universe: The Complete Season One
The Universe: The Complete Season Two
The Planets
How the Earth Was Made

DVD Features: Bonus Documentary, Beyond The Big Bang; Featurette: Backyard Astronomer; Web Links to Space Camp Sites; Schedule of Past, Present and Future Eclipses; Bonus Documentary Inside the Volcano; Additional Footage


Review for The Universe: Season One:

The sky and outer space have fascinated man for centuries and the History Channel's series The Universe is the story of man's study of the cosmos from his earliest attempts to map and understand the heavens through modern day scientific studies, advances, and theories. A mix of historical footage, modern space imaging, and conceptual computer graphics presented in high-definition, the visual component of this production is absolutely breathtaking. Each of the 13 44-minute episodes begins with a general introduction of subjects ranging from the sun to individual planets, alien galaxies, the search for extra-terrestrial life, and scientific theories like the Big Bang. Each topic is then broken down into a series of segments that detail specific ideas, theories, or components integral to the understanding of the main topic as well as historical material, current studies and theories, and projections of potential future events and scientific advances. The 90-minute "Beyond the Big Bang" feature relates "the story of everything"--from the universe's formation following the "Big Bang" to its eventual projected demise from unchecked expansion dubbed the "Big Rip." Leading experts from universities and scientific institutions around the world do a great job of taking very complex subjects like galaxies with spiral density arms and relating them to easily graspable concepts like a city with a downtown core surrounded by suburbs and plagued by freeway traffic jams. Amazing photographs from the Hubble space telescope, infrared views from the Spitzer space telescope, and x-ray images from the Chandra X-ray Observatory augment understanding as do demonstrations of modern science's ability to simulate historical events like the formation of earth and to project future cosmic events. The Universe is a fascinating and understandable study of space that speaks to viewers ranging from the generally curious to the serious student of cosmology. --Tami Horiuchi

Review for The Universe: Season Two:

With the DVD release (on five discs) of this, the complete second season of The Universe, the History Channel has now devoted a combined total of more than 25 hours, not including bonus material, to its documentary study of that combination of time, space, and matter that we call our universe. That’s a lot. But then you consider the mind-boggling age and size of the universe itself: 13.7 billion years old, and big beyond our comprehension; infinite, in fact, and expanding rapidly. By those measures, it’s apparent that this fascinating series could probably air for longer than The Simpsons and Gunsmoke (the two longest running shows in TV history) put together and still not run out of things to talk about. The 18 episodes from Season Two cover an appropriately wide range of topics, from "Cosmic Holes" to "Cosmic Collisions," from supernovas to gravity. There are episodes about the weather in space, the largest objects in space (hint: they’re really, really big, like the so-called "cosmic web" of galaxies, which is a hundred million billion times bigger than Earth), and traveling to and colonizing space. The amount of information and data provided is enormous. Jargon abounds, including terms like "lunar transient phenomena," "pulsar planets," "hot Jupiters," "dark matter" and "dark energy," "collisional families," the "heavy bombardment period," and many, many more. And the numbers are mind-boggling: for instance, it’s estimated that the impact of the asteroid that landed on the Yucatan Peninsula some 65 million years ago, wiping out the dinosaurs, was equal to that of dropping a Hiroshima-sized atomic bomb every second for 140 years! Still, some may find the episodes that involve informed speculation more interesting than those that deal in facts. We know that the Moon affects ocean tides, but does it also have an effect on human behavior? If the Big Bang was the beginning of the universe, what came before it? Instead of using rockets to go to space, can scientists actually build a "space elevator" that will reach from an orbiting satellite some 60 thousand miles down to Earth? All of this is delivered by way of very convincing computer-generated imagery and other effects, along with dozens of interviews with astronomers and other experts, photos, film footage, and so on. Best of all, while it can get a bit dense, technically speaking, by and large The Universe will be readily accessible to most viewers. --Sam Graham How the Earth was Made: There's a lot of information in How the Earth Was Made, but perhaps the most interesting relates to time. Quite often, the numbers are so staggering that scientists refer to it as "deep time," an appropriate term when one grapples with the notion that our planet is 4.5 billion years old, or that the oceans were formed by rainfall that lasted literally millions of years, or that 700 million years ago, Earth was completely covered by ice that was a mile thick, with surface temperatures reaching minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other end of the scale are numbers that seem surprisingly small: for instance, it wasn't until 220 years ago that the accepted church doctrine regarding the planet's age (no more than 6000 years, according to the Bible) was seriously challenged and that the key to its past was found in rocks, not scripture, while the discovery that dinosaurs once ruled the Earth came considerably later than that. Using a combination of computer graphics and animation, various drawings and diagrams, photos, location footage, and expert commentary, this fascinating, 94-minute History Channel production takes us from the very beginning, when the planet was formed by meteors colliding in space, through numerous major events (including the appearance of water, granite, and oxygen) and mind-boggling catastrophes (such as mass extinctions caused by volcanic eruptions or the enormous meteor that wiped out 75% of all living things, including the dinosaurs, some 65 million years ago), right up to the present; there's even a glimpse into the future, when Earth will likely end up as barren and lifeless as Mars (no need to hit the panic button yet, though--a few billion more years will pass before that happens). Bonus features include additional scenes and a documentary entitled "Inside the Volcano." --Sam Graham

Review for The Planets:
Where did it all begin? How did the universe give birth to the sun and its family of planets that form our solar system? How is a bubbling atomic reactor in space the source of warmth and light for life as we know it? Why will Mars be the first planet we colonize? What is the long-term fate of the planets in our solar system? Are we alone? The Planets is an entertaining, comprehensive, and informative A&E documentary series that sets out to answer many of life's most physically existential questions. This series combines scientific history of early scientists, rich knowledge from the leading minds in modern astronomy, and extraordinary image technology to tell the story of our solar system, from its beginnings to the present and beyond. The topics of the eight-volumes are: "Different Worlds," "Terra Firma," "Giants," Moon," "Star," "Atmosphere," "Life Beyond the Sun," and "Destiny." From the sweltering rocky surface of Mercury to the violent stormy skies of Jupiter to the cold, mysterious land of Pluto, The Planets is a fascinating exploration of discovery and adventure for anyone who has looked up into space on a starry night in total amazement. --Rob Bracco

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Erik Thompson
  • Directors: Douglas J. Cohen
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 14
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: A&E HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: February 24, 2009
  • Run Time: 2021 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001IB2Z9Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,713 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

You watch as much as you like, as often as you like.
This is a series that is definitely worth owning because one viewing is probably not enough.
J. Williams
Fantastic photography and interesting scientific concepts.
J. Dumont

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 92 people found the following review helpful By DJ Joe Sixpack HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on April 3, 2009
Verified Purchase
"The Universe: Collector's Edition Megaset"
(History Channel/A&E)
I bought this massive, 14-DVD set while in search of video materials to stimulate the the curiosity of a five-year old whose school has been doing a lot of space-related reading and discussion. I wanted to find materials that could build on what she's already learned, and would be exciting but not too complicated or disturbing. Based on other reviews, I have high hopes for this collection, although I think it may not work (yet) for this young, budding scientist. I plan to review the episodes as I view them, so the review you see here so far is not a complete one. More like a review blog, I guess.

Anyway, the series that this "mega-set" collects are as follows:
"The Universe: The Complete Season One"
"The Universe: The Complete Season Two"
"The Planets"
"How the Earth Was Made"

And here are my reviews:

Informative, but sensationalistic. Although many of the visual metaphors help illustrate complex phenomena -- billiard balls used to show how atomic particles interact, for example -- they are also confusing and misleading in many ways. The real problem, however, is in the overly dramatized, alarmist framing of the narration. One of those oily-voiced announcers, the kind that record political attack ads, tells us over and over of the "deadly" threat of the sun's "terrible power", computer graphics show the Earth buffeted by "explosions" of solar energy; at one point an actual shotgun is pointed at a beachball-sized model of the earth and is fired repeatedly, until the ball is destroyed.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 15, 2009
Verified Purchase
I got this set for my 8 year old grandson. He is fascinated by the science. When he visits, he will ask to see one of these discs. I find them interesting as well and I think they're great for all ages. Those who have a curious mind will enjoy the series.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Spkssftly on February 4, 2010
I purchased this for my 6yr old son, and he loves it. He's been very into all things space related for a few years now, and this fits the bill perfectly. In our area, we have "furlough Fridays" with no school due to budget cuts. On those days off, we work on some math, then watch an episode of "The Universe" and write about what he's learned. He loves the DVD's, and has picked up lot's of interesting facts... it's even led to an interest in studying the periodic table since they talk about the chemical make-up of different atmospheres, and how the Sun lives it's life. This is a great jumping off point for people and kids just getting into learning about Astronomy and Physics.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Davey on October 14, 2009
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When my daughter and I first found The Universe on the History Channel, we knew it was a set we would have to own. We have been enjoying this set very much and all get so engrossed in each episode that the house could burn down around us. I would recommend it to anyone and feel it is appropriate for all age groups.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Dumont on October 25, 2010
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The Universe is an excellent documentary that makes the universe easier to understand. It is basically a Geography class about the Universe. Fantastic photography and interesting scientific concepts.
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11 of 17 people found the following review helpful By K.W. on November 9, 2010
This is a very entertaining show about the origins of our universe, however, it is filled with inacuracies. The episode I am watching now is about Saturn, and they are saying that your weight on Saturn would be roughly 2/3's of what it is on Earth, that is, if you could stand on the surface, which they maintain you can't. This is untrue. The rocky core of Saturn is several timess bigger than Earth which means that not only could you stand on it's surface (assuming you could withstand the atmosphere) but it's density is such that you would actually weigh more on Saturn - it's gravitational pull is actually far greater than Earth's. Even more purplexing, they actually admit later on that Saturn does indeed have a rocky core that is larger than the Earth. So not only are they giving misinformation, but they contradict themselves in the same paragraph. They also continuously refer to the outer edge of Saturns atmosphere as it's surface. I have never heard of anyone refering to Earth's stratosphere as it's surface.

I have seen the show several times, and every show that I have seen has had some obvious missinformation. I do enjoy it for the marvalous visuals, including actual photographs as well as computer animation, but have been somewhat unimpressed with some of the astonomers and much of the naration. To be fair, they get more right than wrong, but if they are mistaken on some of the very basic things, how much of what I don't know are they also getting wrong? Which is why if I actually wanted to learn about the Universe, I would recomend a good book. You may start with Hawkings Universe, or A Brief History of Time. Or just about any modern astronomy text.

In summary, this is an entertaining show, but perhaps not the best source of factual information, so watch it and enjoy it, but if you really want to learn about the universe pick up a good companion book.
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I teach freshman earth and physical science and the kids love these. They are current and up to date and don't bore the kiddos! I'm so glad I bought this
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Topic From this Discussion
The Universe Megaset = The Univers Seasons 1,2 & 3?
No, It just includes seasons one and two along with the planets and a few other bonus features.
Aug 25, 2009 by John Graham |  See all 4 posts
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