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    Hardware Reviews

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    The Universe: Season 7 (Anicent Mysteries Solved) Blu-ray Review

    Lionsgate Blu-ray TV Reviews

    May 15 2014 11:35 PM | Brendan Surpless in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
    In this seventh season of History's The Universe, the series tackles some of history's most enduring mysteries. From the possibility of the Star of Bethlehem not actually being a star but rather a planet, all the way to the idea that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was actually an asteroid hitting Earth, follow History as they travel around the world in hopes of solving these mysteries and more!

    Title Info:

    • Studio: Lionsgate
    • Distributed By: Other
    • Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
    • Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
    • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
    • Rating: Not Rated
    • Run Time: 2 Hr. 56 Min.
    • Package Includes: Blu-ray
    • Case Type: Single Package
    • Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
    • Region: A
    • Release Date: 05/27/2014
    • MSRP: $19.99

    The Production Rating: 3.5/5

    Having watched a wide range of series on The History Channel, I've typically found their productions to be enjoyable, yet somewhat basic in tone (one can probably assume that they develop these series for the elementary level to be show in schools across the world.) Regardless of that, I was intrigued when I had heard about their newest series, 'The Universe' as I had always found the study of the galaxies, stars, planets, and really astronomy to be intriguing.

    Originally premiering back in 2007, The History Channel's series 'The Universe' tackled subjects involved in cosmology, astronomy, and astrophysics. Initially running for four seasons on The History Channel, the series aired for four seasons before switching over to H2 (History 2) in October of 2011.

    Oddly enough, this release is being billed as the 'Seventh Season', yet the included four episodes are part of the 'Eighth Season', which began airing in March of 2014. As any viewer of the series can attest to, 'The Universe' has always relied on explaining their chosen topics through a mix of CGI effects (which one can assume is done to make it easier to sell to the core educational audience) and scientific interviews (you know to make it feel like you're watching something educational.)

    Withstanding that, the included four episodes offer up a rather swift, cursory glance into a few intriguing topics. Covered here are the topics of Stonehenge being a prehistoric astronomical observatory, The Pyramids of Giza, the thought of Sodom and Gomorrah and the possibility of an asteroid being the route of the biblical destruction, and a look into The Star of Bethlehem. The topics themselves are quite interesting, particularly that of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Even though the series doesn't really provide any substantial evidence into their actual claims, those curious to learn more about this story, as well as the others included, will want to give this disc a spin.

    Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA

    Like the prior releases of this series, the included 1:78:1 framed, AVC MPEG-4 encoded transfer is near perfect. While the series focuses on a majority of heavy CGI effects, the live action bits are equally as impressive as the computer created counterparts. Colors are bright and accurate, with spot on blacks of the universe, and bright blues of the sky. Some of the older archival footage can look and feel a bit dated (with a slight layer of noise and grain to it,) but that's to be expected. All in all, this is a clean, consistent efforts from the folks at Lionsgate.

    Audio Rating: 4/5

    The included DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix offers up a solid aural experience that just might surprise some viewers that aren't expecting all that much out of this release. During the aforementioned heavy CGI sequences, the surrounds are quite active offering up a fine aural experience. LFE, while not as bombastic as some of the bigger TV releases, still shows up giving us a deep low-end at times. Dialogue is also fine with clean, intelligible dialogue throughout.

    Special Features: 0/5

    No supplements have been included on this release.

    Overall Rating: 3.5/5

    Running for the past seven years, The History Channel's series 'The Universe' is one of those series that is enjoyable in doses. While the series does tend to spin more of a deadly feel to their chosen events, the show is still rather convincing in the manners in which they chose to present their information. While I would have liked to see a few included supplements, I'm not that surprised Lionsgate opted not to include anything as they haven't in prior releases. Still, based on the enjoyment of this Seventh Season, I'm going to recommended this for fans of the series, while the rest will want to watch the earlier seasons to see if this fits their style of history.

    Reviewed by: Brendan Surpless
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