Nova: Australia's First 4 Billion Years
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Episode one tries to start from the beginnings of our solar system to the first episodes of life on Earth. As it turns out, for the majority of the Earth's existence, life never went beyond single cells. Multicellular life mostly started at the Cambrian explosion around 500 to 600 Million years ago. This was somewhat after the last 'iceball Earth' episode. The idea of the whole Earth covered with ice is one of the most exciting Earth geology ideas of the past few decades(supervolcanoes would be another). As the Narrator says, this period is considered the most boring period for Paleontologists, biologists(except those trying to understand say genetic fossils in cellular dna, the origin of life and so on). I'm kindof disappointed they didn't try to talk about the Gaia hypothesis and some of the latest ideas of chemical self-organization into the first cells.
The second and fourth episodes were the most exciting in my opinion. These episodes have the most to say about diversity of life. Some of the unexpected highlights in my opinion are the plant life during the Dinosaur period still living in Australia and associated Islands. Also, they say some interesting things about the great barrier reef in episode 4. Also in episode 4, they get into some of the artwork of the Aborigines.
The third episode was about the Dinosaur era. As they say, Dinosaur fossils were hard to come by for the longest time; so, they've just started to wright the Australian Dinosaur history. Still, upon rewatching it a few times, I suppose it wasn't too bad.Read more ›
Almost anything that PBS puts out or even affiliates itself with is a sure bet to be decent at worst and phenomenal at best, especially in their Nova and Nature productions. Australia leans toward the higher end without being quite phenomenal.
The story of Australia itself is wildly interesting. Some of the oldest rocks on Earth can be found there, and it's been through a LOT of changes in the 4 billion years they cover. I've seen several different shows on the continent but none that explain its geologic and natural history so well and in depth. The amount of information provided in each episode is enough that you're really learning a lot, but is presented in a light enough way that it doesn't feel like a lecture. Additionally, the narrator/guide is really good. He may not be David Attenborough, but that's not his fault, and he does very well in spite of that handicap.
Had to learn to love:
The story telling style. The premise is that you and the narrator are going back in time by the power of some magical car that goes a million miles an hour. They thread that throughout and use it as a transition when going between different time periods. At first I found it a little cutesy and annoying, but by the 2nd or 3rd episode it didn't bother me. It's well done so it doesn't become a distraction or make things too stilted/awkward.
Didn't really love:
The CG. Some of it is pretty okay, and then some is rather ridiculous.Read more ›
My husband and I enjoy series of this type, such as "How the Earth Was Made". This series focuses on Australia and provided many facts concerning the Down Under continent that I had not heard before. Highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This series is masterfully balanced between scholarly merit and layman friendly presentation. Accompanied by stunning visuals of Australia's gorgeous landscape, NOVA hits it out of... Read morePublished 29 days ago by Josh Manning
A wonderfully informative series. Having been to the country I was interested in what formed the remarkable landscape. Makes me want to go back and travel some more.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Somewhat corny and shallow presentation. Long on computer graphics but loose with the facts/theories.Published 2 months ago by Chuck McB
Half way through the 4 episodes. Very good and informative. Looking forward to watching he last 2 segments.Published 2 months ago by Brian P
An excellent documentary, even for geologists. Australian has some of the world's most important and ancient outcrops, and to see them is marvelous! Read morePublished 2 months ago by Cindy Brothers-Full