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DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes Blu-ray Review
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A brain trust made up of hyper-geniuses solving complex emergency scenarios in and around Los Angeles gives CBS’ first season hit drama Scorpion its unique p... Read More
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A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy Blu-ray Review
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Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Blu-ray ReviewBlu-ray Fox TV Reviews
- Studio: Fox
- Distributed By: N/A
- Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese
- Rating: Not Rated
- Run Time: 9 Hr. 13 Min.
- Package Includes: Blu-ray
- Case Type: keep case with leaves in a slipcover
- Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
- Region: A
- Release Date: 06/10/2014
- MSRP: $59.98
The Production Rating: 5/5With Dr. Sagan’s death in 1996, the impetus of his work has been carried forward by his widow Ann Druyan who serves as producer, writer (with Steven Soter who also was part of the original series), and occasional episode director on this new series of shows. As before, the new Cosmos carries us backward and forward in time and everywhere from the inside of a dewdrop to the farthest reaches of the universe in illuminating the creation and continuation of the cosmos in all its complexities and marvels. In order to tell its story, the producers have combined live action photography from around the globe, astounding 3D computer graphics, and emotionally charged standard animation that keep each densely-packed episode vividly varied in its presentation. So thickly crammed with information are these episodes that one might feel overwhelmed if more than one or two of these shows are viewed in a single sitting. Better to allow yourself the option of digesting the spectacles found in each one for a time before diving headfirst into a new one.
Hosting the new series is Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist who displays the same natural ability as Carl Sagan to introduce complex theories and mind-blowing speculations as naturally as telling a bedtime story and makes for a most ingratiating galactic guide. In his Ship of the Imagination, he takes us to far away galaxies, to the rims of black holes, inside molecules, and back and forth in time to introduce us to some of the legendary names of scientific investigation: Edmond Halley and Isaac Newton, William Herschel, Albert Einstein and Michael Faraday. (These mini-biographies of the famous men and women of science are voiced by a star-packed team including Richard Gere, Patrick Stewart, Alfred Molina, Cary Elwes, Amanda Seyfried, Kirstin Dunst, and producer Seth MacFarlane, among others). Among other tantalizing scientific topics handled during the series’ thirteen episodes are rogue planets, the age of the Earth, the end of our sun, the future of the cosmos, global warming and our mammoth carbon dioxide problem, and the hopeful rediscovery of science as a key to survival. Without preaching or proselytizing, the underlying theme of the series is obviously to put forth scientific facts not in dispute as a way of waylaying nay sayers who continue to insist in the 21st century that these truths are in some way dangerous or to be avoided while offering more fanciful explanations of the miracles of creation and the history of the cosmos.
Here are the thirteen episodes of the series as contained on four Blu-ray discs in this set:
1 – Standing Up in the Milky Way
2 – Some of the Things That Molecules Do
3 – When Knowledge Conquered Fear
4 – Hiding in the Light
5 – A Sky Full of Ghosts
6 – Deeper, Deeper, Deeper Still
7 – The Clean Room
8 – Sisters of the Sun
9 – The Electric Boy
10 – The Lost Worlds of Planet Earth
11 – The Immortals
12 – The World Set Free
13 – Unafraid of the Dark
Video Rating: 5/5 3D Rating: NA
The episodes are presented in the widescreen television aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and in 1080p resolution using the AVC codec. With its dramatic mix of CGI, live action, and traditional animation, this is a show made for high definition, and the sharpness, clarity, and excitement of the presentation is peerless. Color is dramatic and richly saturated without ever seeming over-the-top. The black levels of space are densely black and endlessly appealing. Just as Planet Earth was the touchstone to the first generation of high definition viewers, so this series now serves as reference quality video for our current generation. Each episode has been divided into 12 chapters.
Audio Rating: 5/5The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix again offers reference quality audio especially for a television series. Dr. Tyson’s commentary is excellently recorded and has been placed in the center channel along with the dialogue from the animated biographical segments. Alan Silvestri’s commanding score gets a magnificent rendering in the front and rear channels, and the sound effects will rock your viewing environment when supernovas explode or we approach the rim of a black hole in our Spaceship of the Imagination.
Special Features: 4/5Audio Commentary: the first episode contains commentary by producers Ann Druyan, Mitchell Cannold, Brannon Braga, and Jason Clark and animation director Kara Vallow.
Celebrating Carl Sagan (34:37, HD): Seth MacFarlane, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Ann Druyan speak at the dedication ceremony at the Library of Congress which now houses the late scientist’s papers.
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey at Comic-Con (40:03, HD): Ann Druyan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Brannon Braga with moderator Jonathan Rose address a sold out auditorium at the 2013 Comic-Con in anticipation of the program’s premiere.
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey – The Voyage Continues (41:20, HD): a behind-the-scenes look at the original 1980 series and the making of this new updated version with many of the crew members discussing their contributions to making the new series unique.
Interactive Cosmic Calendar (HD): allows the viewer to choose any month on the cosmic calendar and see a clip from one of the show’s episodes which pertains to that particular moment in the history of the universe.
Promo Trailers (HD): 3 Days to Kill, 24: Live Another Day.