Top positive review
49 people found this helpful
An excellent series
on 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.