Judge Kent Dixon likes to learn by Cosmosis.
It's the story of everything: from the first microseconds of our universe, to the exciting future of first contact and homes beyond our Earth.
Hosted by award-winning presenter and writer Adam Hart-Davis and debuting on the BBC in 2007, The Cosmos takes viewers on some exciting adventures as each episode explores a fascinating aspect of our universe. They all follows essentially the same formula, with Hart-Davis introducing and explaining a complex concept, then seeking out the scientists and technology that are at work to gain more understanding and insight into the given area. All six episodes of The Cosmos: A Beginner's Guide are included with this release, spread over two discs as follows:
• "Life in the Cosmos"
• "Building the Universe"
• "Seeing the Universe"
• "Space Exploration"
• "Violent Universe"
• "Other Worlds"
Is the content you'll find in The Cosmos anything too astounding or revolutionary? Not really, but there's something about Hart-Davis and his co-presenters, scientists Janet Sumner and Maggie Aderin, that help make the content both more accessible and engaging for casual viewers. These folks aren't "voice of God" narrators, but viewers can relate to them as guides through some pretty complex concepts, explaining things along the way.
Another refreshing element of The Cosmos is that, unlike U.S. science series like How the Earth Was Made and The Universe, you won't find any of ridiculous sensationalism here. This is pure science and technology, but explained in such a way that even those of us with relatively little knowledge of astronomy, geology and the like will still be engaged and leave each episode with some cool new knowledge.
The Cosmos: A Beginner's Guide comes with a companion book that offers additional information on each episode, and a still gallery of Apollo astronauts is also included on disc one.
Being fairly well immersed in the Blu-ray world for much of my viewing, I kept thinking how fantastic this series would look in HD. Fortunately, the SD presentation is relatively sharp, showing no signs of damage or wear on the source material. The audio mix is well-balanced between narration, interview dialog and music; it's just unfortunate we aren't offered a 5.1 option that would give the mix a bit more wiggle room.
The BBC has done an excellent job with The Cosmos: A Beginner's Guide, delivering an engaging series that covers some fantastic topics about our universe, without bogging them down in technical jargon. This is an easy recommendation for students, teachers, and casual viewers alike.
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