Customer Review

201 of 204 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Succeeds triumphantly in what it sets out to do, 22 Mar 2011
This review is from: The Wonders Collection [DVD] (DVD)
This collection combines the five programmes of the "Wonders of the Solar System" BBC television series in 2010 with the more recent four programmes of "Wonders of the Universe".

"Wonders of the Solar System" is not an attempt to match a series such as "The Planets" in its coverage of the solar system. Instead it features a limited collection of facts and objects ranging from the beautiful to the bizarre. One programme is devoted to the sun, with the emphasis on the visual treats afforded by a solar eclipse and the aurora borealis. One programme is devoted to atmospheres - particularly those of the Earth, Mars and the moon Titan - and another explains why some planets and moons have geological activity and others are "dead" worlds. Yet another programme explains the formation of the solar system and the final one looks at the existence of life. During these programmes Cox identified seven specific "wonders" - the sun, the rings of Saturn, the influence of a small moon on the rings, Titan (because of liquid on its surface), Io (because of geological activity), Europa (because there appears to be water beneath the surface), and finally the existence of human beings - against all the odds.

What makes it out of the ordinary is the wonderful CGI, exceptional astronomical photos, exotic locations on Earth, and the infectious enthusiasm of the presenter Brian Cox. And all these qualities re-appear in "Wonders of the Universe". This series was not without its critics. It has been claimed it has little serious science. This is true, but it misses the point. Professor Cox rightly described the series as a "cinematic experience". As for the science, there may not be much depth but the topics covered are very well done and explained very clearly. Everybody watching these DVDs, whether a child or a pensioner, will finish with some understanding of topics ranging from the life and death of the universe and the formation of the elements, to gravity and light. Just as important it is likely to have inspired enthusiasm and a sense of wonder. For that we must thank Brian Cox. The impact he has made with both "Wonders" series can be gauged by the fact he is being called by many "the David Attenborough of astrophysics". High praise indeed.

"Wonders of the Universe" did generate controversy when the first episode was shown. There were numerous complaints that the music was too loud, particularly when Brian Cox was talking. The producers accepted the criticism and reduced the volume for all four programmes in the series when the presenter was speaking. This was welcomed by not only those who dislike the amount of background music in shops and TV programmes, but also by the 8 million people in Britain with a hearing impairment sufficient for them to find difficulty in distinguishing easily between two different and simultaneous noises.

"Wonders" succeeds in doing what it sets out to do and succeeds triumphantly.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Apr 2011 09:04:21 BDT
Extremely good review and I am particularly gratified that you mention a reduction in the incidental background music volume as you are correct when you state those of us with hearing difficulties (even if only borderline) can find it difficult to distinguish human voices over other noise. Thank you for your review - the DVDs are now sitting in my "shopping basket" waiting to be purchased.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Oct 2012 12:50:53 BDT
R. Pievaitis says:
hi i would also like to add my tuppeneth to this irritating issue of background music or just effects noise some programmes are so "noisey" that to those of us who are "hard of hearing" it becomes just impossible to know what is going on.i realise we have the option of adding the subtitles on either via dvd menu or by pressing 888 on our telly.but that also assumes you have decent enough eyesight to actually read the subtitles.as often folk with hearing issues may also have relating visual issues.
my hearing started to "go" when i was mid 30,s and by 40 i was officially deaf ! sure i can still hear certain things but my hearing loss at human voice frequency(in particular the female voice !)is around 60dbl loss.
as for hearing aids-well all i can say is its not the same as putting on a pair of specs to correct your vision.hearing aids esp. those issued by my PCT in hull are just total tosh.even digital ones.all i hear is everything else other than the voice i want to hear.
so to read that the BBC took account of viewers opnions here is fabulous news.
i often just watch and keep asking my wife "what did she say " or "what did he say there" dr who is a real culprit.but usually anything with extraneous sound effects can be a real turn off.
i will be treating our home educated chidlren to this excellent box set-either this one or the special edition.but cost wise its got to be this one at 10 for abrand new one via amazon.the special edition only has 1 extra disc for 17.50 can,t see the logic there ?!

Posted on 1 Dec 2012 06:47:18 GMT
MUCH APPRECIATED !

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Dec 2012 06:47:57 GMT
ditto !!
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Derek Jones
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