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Join Jurassic Parks Sam Neill on an awe-inspiring virtual journey that explores the wonders and terrors of the universe. Experience the beautiful, astonishing and often dangerous phenomena of the universe as state-of-the-art computer graphics take you from the vast clouds where stars are born to the edge of a planet-guzzling black hole.
If the scholarly tone and historical depth of Cosmos made that science miniseries akin to National Geographic magazine, then Hyperspace is like the National Enquirer. Each episode centers around a dramatic question (Will asteroids destroy the Earth? Could a black hole suck up our sun?) that is examined with slick computer-generated eye candy but fairly shallow content--for example, one episode argues that human beings need to colonize other planets because the sun will one day expand and burn the Earth to a cinder, but never mentions that the expansion of the sun won't happen for millions of years. Still, Hyperspace does present a variety of exciting ideas and may prompt viewers to learn more. The graphics are beautiful, host Sam Neill projects an engaging intelligence, and you have to love a television show that treats scientists like rock stars. Young science fiction fans will enjoy it enormously. --Bret FetzerSee all Editorial Reviews
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Highlights are the broad perspective view of the universe, galaxies, stars, planets, etc.
Sam Neal is so much better too, than usual hosts on most other science series.
Highly recommend this for adults, parents or kids who are interested in the universe.
After reading reviews here, I learned what it was actually about, but what ended up motivating me to purchase it were the reports of excellent graphics and the fact that it's narrated by Sam Niell. I really like Sam Niell as an actor, he was great in Jurassic Park and even better in Event Horizon (in my opinion), and so narrating a documentary should seem interesting. It also makes me assume that Sam Niell is also into this subject, rather than just some paid actor (although he is probably that as well, but I hope to think that he agreed to do this because he finds the subject interesting).
This documentary really is very introductory. So if you're looking to delve into some of the heavier material of astrophysics or properties of gravitation, or anything of a more in depth nature, then this is not a documentary you're looking for. It really is excellent to introduce students or anyone with a passing interest into these subjects though. It has very high quality eye catching graphics and very accurate content. This is only one disc and its split into six episodes, about 30 to 45 minutes each in length. It takes you through a veritable tour of the sequence of life in the universe, starting off with how stars are created all the way until they can die. It even goes into how Earth can be affected by the galaxy around it and what major dangers we could possibly face. "Hyperspace" spends a fair amount of time on that subject in particular and goes into a decent amount of detail. It also goes into speculation of how we may be able to avoid such dangers and how we may one day eventually be able to leave this planet.
I just finished watching it, and even though I knew most of the things that were discussed on the DVD I still found it an interesting and entertaining show to watch. I realize that Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" is probably superior, but it's far more daunting. I think the BBC's aim may have been to target newer audiences and get them engaged in this kind of research. Having it in 30 to 45 minute segments really makes this accessible for teachers in high school or earlier. It's like having an abridged version of the more in depth material found in "Cosmos", which I think is a smart move. When I went looking for documentaries of this particular nature, I couldn't find too many on DVD that seemed adequate and covered a broad base of research. "Hyperspace" fit my criteria after viewing it.
As some people have mentioned the tone of the show is pretty doom and gloom. But seriously... Sam Niell is narrating this, think about the movies he's acted in! I mean come on; he played the Antichrist in the third Omen movie. I personally liked this factor because I really don't think the average person really understands a lot of the factors that our planet could possibly interact with on a daily basis. I mean, it's no secret this planet will eventually die and be completely destroyed. "Hyperspace" just makes the viewer aware of that situation and to motivate people to start thinking far outside the box. As humans go, we live a pretty short amount of time, so a lot of scientist's dream of being able to do certain things and a lot of times without public backing their dreams won't be realized. I think this helps to raise the public awareness of where science is. This is basically telling people what they're working on. Scientific research is often funded corporately and publicly (via taxes), so it's products like this that help us see where all this research is leading us... oh, and most people pay for that corporate involvement too, since we buy products from corporations. I mean, people don't really think that General Electric doesn't spend all their money on producing stuff; they have a huge R&D budget too.
To comment further on what others have mentioned here already, I didn't see it mentioned anywhere that this DVD implies our sun will eventually explode into a supernova. I think it's pretty well documented that our sun lacks the mass to fully go nova. Rather the language used to describe our sun in this DVD is that it will eventually die. Now they are at fault for not going into detail as to how exactly that will happen, but it didn't really imply it would go nova.
Overall, Niell is an incredibly engaging host who really makes you get involved with the show. It's spelled out fairly simplistically (almost without enough detail in some sections), but overall it is an excellent introduction. I would highly recommend this to people who have an interest in cosmology, or want to share with someone just getting interested in the subject. Even for veterans of the world who have read more than enough books, this DVD is still quite entertaining to watch given the graphic quality. Enjoy... and see what the future holds for our galaxy.