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The Planets [DVD]

Mark Halliley , Boris Chertok , David McNab    Exempt   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
Price: £12.70 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Also available to rent on DVD from LOVEFiLM By Post

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The Planets [DVD] + Wonders of the Solar System [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Mark Halliley, Boris Chertok, Charles Conrad, Carolyn Porco, Sasha Basilevsky
  • Directors: David McNab
  • Writers: David McNab
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Swedish, Portuguese, Finnish, Danish, Dutch
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: 2 Entertain Video
  • DVD Release Date: 24 Jan 2000
  • Run Time: 390 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CZSH
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,273 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

The entire BBC documentary series chronicling our Universe and man's exploration of it. 'Different Worlds' details space travel and exploration, while 'Terra Firma' looks at missions from Earth to neighbouring planets. 'Giants' investigates the larger planets in our solar system, and 'Moon' studies Earth's satellite. 'Star' offers fresh perspective on the sun, while 'Atmosphere' provides a journey through the skies of the solar system. 'Life' takes a look at robotic explorations of other worlds, and in 'Destiny' the question of how the planets will evolve over the next four billion years is investigated.


While watching The Planets, be prepared to fight your way past all kinds of computer animation which makes Walking with Dinosaurs seem like the last word in realism. It seems that no solar or planetary event which ever happened (or which may or may not have happened) is worthy of mention here without recourse to lovingly detailed shots of implausible-looking collisions and explosions. These come complete with sound effects, despite the fact that there is no sound in the vacuum of space, and are enhanced by a range of colours, some of which are visible only to bees. Somehow Patrick Moore's The Sky at Night manages to convey just as much excitement with little more than a couple of diagrams and the presenter's hyperactive enthusiasm.

Fortunately, this two-DVD set is redeemed by both its subject matter and its sheer scope, offering all eight 50-minute episodes of the 1999 documentary series covering the history of the solar system and humanity's age-old desire to learn its secrets. Detailed indexing and scene access makes this a convenient reference source too, so amateur astronomers everywhere can finally bin those off-air VHS copies. --Roger Thomas

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent series 16 July 2007
I recently did a short Open University course on the Planets and was looking for a TV documentary to complement my learning. I was nearly put off purchasing this series by the Amazon reviewer's comments about the poor quality effects, but after reading some of the customer reviews I decided to buy it - and I'm extremely glad I did.
This is an excellent series that is still contemporary enough to be valid (our knowledge of the planets can change quite rapidly as probes are launched and new observations are made). It not only covers current knowledge of the solar system, but also gives some of the history of space exploration and astronomy - the episode about the race to the Moon is a showcase example. The tone is "grown-up" and serious (rather than patronisingly "fun" or "funky" like some modern documentaries can be), but at the same time one gets a fantastic sense of wonder, a sense that you, too, are discovering new things as you watch (for example) the first colour image arriving from the surface of Mars, or see the orb of Jupiter grow slowly larger as the first Voyager probe approaches it.
One thing to note is that this series doesn't cover one planet per episode. Rather it takes a topic for each programme, such as "Atmosphere" or "Life", but in this way most of the major sights of the solar system are visited in one way or another.
For the record, I think the CGI/special-effects are absolutely fine. Not Hollywood standard, but more than adequate. Jupiter in particular looks pretty cool!
I would recommend this series to pretty much anyone who has an interest in space exploration - you don't need any prior knowledge to find the programmes fascinating and informative.

A note regarding the reviewer who said the music drowned out the narration at times: I had the same minor problem initially, until I turned off the spatial (3-D) sound setting on my TV. That eliminated the problem.
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56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Step into Astronomy 5 May 2004
This is an excellently made series of documentaries, that GRIPPED my attention, imagination AND interest from the moment i saw it. I have watched the series over and over again and now read whatever i can about astronomy. It has launched me on a personal voyage to understand the universe and it's planets.
What's beautiful, is that the space age and recent trips to space which are presently out there are history in the making... this series will set you up with the knowledge to accompany what is happening right now, and when the latest probes will be landing on their targets.
Who knows what we will discover beyond Titans atmosphere?
Apart from the information included, the esthetics of the film making is worth noting. Samuel Wests voice narrates each episode perfectly, and all scientists interviewed transmit genuine excitement and awe towards what they have decided to dedicate their lives to - the universe and it's mysteries.
If you have the slightest interest in our universe, and like to ask yourself important questions, then i recommend these films for you.
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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic journey 23 Aug 2003
Having diligently sat through the series, I placed my order for the DVD as soon as it was available.
This has been the best documentary series of its type ever produced for national television and it makes the licence fee worth it.
Any disparaging comments refer to it being a little bit technical and historical but that is the beauty of it. It wont be enjoyed by young kids (please see SPACE - also from the BBC) but it is fantastic for adults. I have watched this DVD over twenty times and each time I cannot resist being transfixed. The graphics are fantastic, the music is superb and the facts are correct.
This is a must buy for anyone who thinks TV should be about informing us and stimulating our minds. I highly recommend it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To boldly go! 6 Dec 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
And boldly did they go!

'The Planets' is a delightful journey through our Solar System which leaves the viewer quite breathless at the mind-boggling scale of the forces which brought it into being. Not only does this mini-series inform about our neighbours in the system, it entertains at the same time. It stimulates the senses and tweaks at the imagination.

It differs from many other of the BBC presentations in that it provides no presenter to divert attention. The narration from Samuel West is excellent and the stunning soundtrack adds to the visual treat.

The introduction of many of the great personalities who furthered our knowledge is a major bonus and the original film coverage of many of the relevant episodes historically stunning.

Anyone who is in the slightest interested in seeking an explanation as to how the Solar System came about should acquire the mini-series with its clear and lucid descriptions.

I'm so glad I decided to 'go' with them!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars starwatcher 24 Feb 2005
By A Customer
Although not purchased through Amazon..this is another excellent example of what the BBC do best...
Its informative, educational and entertaining..and the kids like it too..The only criticism I would put forward, and it's noted on other titles..the music can sometimes suppress the narrative..but that may just simply be my audio set up..not 3:1 or 5:1 Dolby Virtual Thunderbirds stuff. Other than that..clearly highly recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Informative without needless flash 25 Nov 2006
By brainleek007 TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I got this DVD set for christmas one year and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I found the programs very informative and interesting to watch - up to the usual high standards we've come to expect form BBC documentaries.

There are all eight episodes of the series on the two discs in this set. The way the programs have been arranged give a chronological account of space exploration for the most part with the early episodes dealing with the advances of Von Braun in the second world war German rocket factories through to the later episodes covering the advances made in observing the sun and undertanding solar activity. Every episode is excellent.

The presentation is a little more dry than the whizz-bang kind of stuff you might be used to and each epsiodes attempts to tell a story of one aspect of achievment with regards to space exploration/science. This is to be commended however as it lends an air of authority to an already informatively written series.

Some of the computer graphics will seem dated but lets be honest, computer graphics are advancing so fast something that came out a year ago can look dated but these computer generated effects were state of the art at the time and they do stand up today and add a lot to the presentation.

Where this series scored highly for me is that it weaved into the narrative interviews with the actual people form the Russian space agency and NASA who were involved with everything from Sputnik to the observation of the Shoemaker-Levy comet impact on Jupiter. It really put the 'human' element back into the exploration of space.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Thanks a lot !
thank you for your excellent stuff!
Published 1 month ago by sangsoo yook
5.0 out of 5 stars For Adults [thank god!]
So GREAT to watch something not made for little kids to watch. At least some people know that adults love to watch this genre as much as little kids. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Ra Tera
5.0 out of 5 stars NO SILLY MUSIC
This is brilliant ,so much info updated since i watched other material. It isn't narrated either, it's real people talking real facts. Read more
Published 7 months ago by GABRIEL
5.0 out of 5 stars Planets DVD
Another fantastic dvd if you want to look beyond our planet and obtain a greater understanding
of our Universe.Great !
Published 10 months ago by phil pearman
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
This is a landmark BBC series covering aspects of spaceflight and the solar system. I have watched the episode covering the Voyager missions umpteen times... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Dr G
5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative
Very informative series and a good introduction even if now a little dated.

Also - hurrah: For once we have subtitles and in Portuguese too, which I am learning. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars now you know
this series is quite old now but its special effects still stand out as spectacular

the presentation style is good, rather documentary like, as opposed to annoying loud... Read more
Published 19 months ago by tyrone
5.0 out of 5 stars Still unsurpassed
Although this 1999 series has become slightly dated, it remains truly outstanding in every other respect. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Fiddlesticks
3.0 out of 5 stars Gustav Holst would have loved it!
Superb series when first made, but now showing its' age! While it may not have the graphics of later series Wonders of the Solar System [DVD]; the documentary format is well... Read more
Published on 14 May 2012 by J. G. Futers
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 STARS
This was an interesting mini-series that seemed to pick up as each episode went along. I love astronomy and so this is exactly the kind of material that I'm looking to track down... Read more
Published on 19 Nov 2011 by Ryan B
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