Monday, May 21, 2012

History's Season Six The Universe on Blu-ray

I have to admit, I hadn’t seen a single season of the History Channels’ The Universe until this season. Considering that this is the 6th season of the series, one can’t help but respect the efforts of The History Channel to take on such a massive effort at explaining the mysteries and science of this great universe. I can’t help but also think, that in six seasons, there has to be a repeat of some basic information as it is presented in this largely CGI imagery and discussion involving various scientists from various specialties. I don’t know how much of this series is repeated from the past and how much is new; I can only review based on what I have seen and what I have seen up to this point is season six. In that, I can’t help but be impressed with many things, confused in some, left in awe with others, and perplexed at the totality of this project.

The Universe, Season Six is largely a CGI presented program. While there are images of The Universe that certainly come from real footage, much of what is shown couldn’t be done without CGI. While many television series of this sort fall short in CGI quality, as has even The History Channel at times, this particular series looks quite good via Blu-ray in both the visual and sound qualities of the program. There is enough interview segments and real life video footage that keeps this show entertaining and easy to watch. While I expected a narrative format over the season, each episode appears as a stand alone program. It still comes across as entertaining and educational as each varied program has various subject matters, all of which are well scripted. I have to admit, while I loved science in school I wasn’t a good student and should have taken my studies more seriously. This series would have increased my interest in science specifically regarding the universe and space. The History Channel does a good job at explaining the theories and science of the universe in an entertaining way.

One of the things I liked about The Universe, Season Six, although I don’t agree with all of the conclusions is the willingness to address the possibility of God, and/or other sources, (such as aliens and ufo’s) in the understanding of the origins of the universe. As I watched the series, especially the doomsday episodes of which there are many, I couldn’t help but recognize the complexity of the universe. I am not a scientist, but I consider myself educated and one who has the ability to think outside of the box as well as within the box. I appreciate things like logic and reason and it has been stated by others in the past, I can’t help but think the only logical explanation for the origins of the universe is the hand of God. The complexity of something like the universe, coming about from nothing, takes a greater leap of faith for me than the possibility of God. The complexity of faith, including its own possibilities is a concept that caused me to ponder within my own Christian faith practice.

I follow a faith that centers on the person of Jesus Christ. Aspects of that faith are congruent with other faith systems such as Islam and Judaism. Each of these faith systems recognizes a monotheistic God (singular God.) All would accept the Old Testament, much of their faith books overlap from the point of creation up to several hundred years before Jesus and Muhammad. Each of these faiths speaks of a God, who they claim created the universe, and knows each of us by name. The complexity of God, his ability to create something as massive as the universe and at the same time know each person by name is something I thought about while watching this DVD. I appreciate that various perspectives, including the possibility that God created the universe is presented in a respectful yet, objective way. In the search for the origins of the universe, we also see the universe explained in the very first verse of the Bible, where it states, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The place of faith in the search of science versus faith includes an act of faith, no matter which concept one believes. Unfortunately, one of the concepts that permeate many is that science and faith are not cohesive or mutually compatible. I disagree and the series, at least in one program may cause one to think of the possibilities.

I realize that for many, many of the concepts of the The Universe, Season Six may be rehashed stories and science. As mentioned earlier, I don’t know as I haven’t seen the previous seasons. I did find Season Six enlightening, entertaining and educational, but more importantly I found it thought provoking, causing me to marvel if you will at the concept that with the complexity of the Universe, I serve a God who knows me by name. That said, there was something I didn’t like about the DVD set, the lack of special features. With a series of this type, it would have been easy to include special features, including complete interviews, varying view points, and the myriads of information that I am sure ended up on the cutting room floor.

I am not certain if the blu-ray quality of this DVD set is a must own for DVD owners. I would say, the low suggested retail pricing and sure to be lower pricing makes it an okay purchase. I would have been glad to pay the few extra dollars on an already low price for the Blu-ray. I just don’t know if everyone will view it that way. I hope that as people watch this, they understand, much of what is presented is theory. While there are certainly doomsday aspects to this series, I am confident in my faith, and find solitude in my belief in a God. I don’t know how one who has no faith in God would feel good about the conclusions in this series. There would certainly be very little, if any hope. I realize that faith is a concept that can’t be measured; I also realize that whatever view on the creation of the universe one takes, there is a measure of faith, whether in God or science. I think there is a third place we can come to with a better understanding of the complexities of the universe that is accurate in using science, yet at the same time, seeing and believing that God is the creator. There is no doubt we live in a complex and massive universe. There is also no doubt that over the years, a great deal of wisdom and knowledge has come about regarding our universe. It is nice to know, this series breaks it down in such a way that we can see and better understand those complexities of the universe we live in. As for me, this series didn’t answer all of my questions, but did make me appreciate the power of God regarding the detail, majesty, and awesomeness of the universe.

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