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35 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

Absolutely Incredible

Author: freddielburrow from Murfreesboro, Tn
24 July 2012

Simply said, this is the best astronomical documentary that I've seen since Carl Sagan's "Cosmos". And believe me, that is saying a lot considering that I own every astronomy/Cosmos documentary I can find on DVD and/or Blu-ray, including all six seasons of "The Universe" which was my favorite (excluding "The Cosmos") until I saw this. If you are in to watching these type of documentaries and haven't seen this, then I can only say, you are missing at least a year worth of education. The only negative thing I have to say is that season two already isn't as good due to Mike Row not being the Narrator, but that is purely my own opinion and does not reflect the quality or quantity of information given in this season.

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19 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Amazing! Must watch

Author: Athungo Odyuo from India
14 February 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I tried to watch this documentary to see how educative it is and I ended up watching the whole eight episodes (Season 1) right away till I finished it all. It was simply amazing and very educative. Everything is so well explained and shown vividly using simulation visual where things needs to be explained for absolute lucidity.

This documentary does not just merely explain the factual things that are present and happening in the universe. What is even more about this documentary is that it keeps the mind engaged in inquisition about the whole universe and its system. The eight episodes that is Big Bang, Black Holes, Galaxies, Stars, Supernovas, Planets, Solar Systems and Moon are all interlinked so attentive view is required if one has to obtain maximum clarity. Inspite of the limitations as it requires high end technology for getting deep insights into the working of the universe, yet the documentary used sufficient evidences and experiments it can gather to make even the layman understand.

I highly recommend all those who are into academics and who have inquisitive mind on gaining more knowledge on the working of the universe to watch this. Thanks a lot to those who made this amazing documentary, the narrator and the various scientist of astronomy for their vivid explanation.

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13 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Best Documentary..!! Must watch ... A whole new world out there!!

Author: navneetsteotia
10 March 2013

Firstly, I would like to tell you that if you are going to watch this documentary (which you definitely must) then you should watch it in HD. This whole documentary has very beautiful graphics and great interpretation of universe.

Now, I have always been interested in astrology since it the the most curious area of science and the strangest too with the most potential. I have also casually studied a lot of various space phenomenon on the internet. But there is always been a lack of clarity and various questions that have been left out in the mind.(Like when stars are destroyed there is supernova or hyper-nova! but how is black-hole created if the energy is pushed out from the star during that time?). This series is an answer to all such mini-questions in our mind related to universe that are left unclear. This series provides a great educational value too.

One thing this series will do is make you a fan of our universe and science. Giving you a way way way broader horizon in mind which will help you get a neutral perspective towards a certain things.

Once again don't miss this series and do watch it in HD!!

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Simply amazing.

Author: nimrodtangi from Israel
26 February 2014

When I saw the lack of reviews of this magnificent documentary show I had to write something down. In my opinion this is the best show about the the universe and space to date and its taught me a lot of things I always wanted to know about our universe (and I've seen a tons of similar shows before),

Lets begin with the great scientists and theoretical physicists such as Michio Kaku that explaining things we "normal" people wont usually understand in such a nice ways, and the visual effects by LOLA are great too. The show is written very well and the Narrators does a great job (personally I liked Mike Rowe better in the first season). Even the soundtrack fits perfect and I love it. Every time I watch the show its like going to a trip in a bizarre place we humans are just beginning to understand, even in the second and third time you watch it. In conclusion, I recommend this show to everyone not just space enthusiasts. Sometimes its even better or the same as watching a great drama such as Breaking Bad, True Detective etc. you should try it!

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11 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Our Universe is Truly Amazing

Author: Jeff Johnson from Australia
22 February 2014

Incredibly awe inspiring, jaw dropping, heart striking documentary & all the Scientists as well as Mike Rowe are FANTASTIC at explaining our Universe & making an emotional connection, certainly to me. Our Universe is incredibly complex and other programs I have watched have really struggled to get the information across in a way that truly sinks in & fires the imagination. That is not the case with this AMAZING documentary, this is an absolutely must watch for everyone. To think that WE ARE the Universe looking back at itself and asking "Who am I & where do I come from?" I find that an incredible thought. We truly are one people on one tiny marble planet we ALL call home, it's time for humanity to wake up! Alas it seems it really is in our nature to destroy ourselves.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Simply the Best Astrophysics Documentary in over 30 Years

Author: B Decker
17 November 2015

Yes, 10/10 "How the Universe Works" is, in my opinion, simply the best astrophysics documentary in over 30 years (astro-documentary viewers will probably know what landmark series aired at that time). If you like science, gaze at the stars or have any curiosity about anything beyond your own sphere of day-to-day activity THIS SERIES WILL NOT DISSAPPOINT. For me, this is the real deal, and what many of us have been missing since Sagan's death.

The series started out as a small unknown for many, without the intense fanfare given to many similar series like Tyson's "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey". But this series is quite the quiet achiever. I LEARN something every episode. Interviews with leading experts like Michio Kaku and Andrea Ghez are HIGHEST QUALITY.

The season one original musical score from Richard Blair-Oliphant is INSANELY GOOD for material not otherwise sold on a CD label (but right now you can still get it on Last.FM). The visual effects are well done. Commentary is well researched. But a balance is still maintained of keeping this show informative yet hugely entertaining. I often watch a re-run before sleeping. I just love it.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

One of the Best on Stellar Mechanics

Author: John Willis
24 March 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've seen a lot of shows about "The Cosmos" and "The Universe" but this one was both brief and simple and I appreciated that. It started at the beginning and got right to the point. The Background Music was original, orchestral and enveloping, it set just the right mood. The Narrator "Mike Rowe" is a convincing "everyday man" who makes you believe there really isn't anything a person can't comprehend with a little effort. And none of the Scientific terms or words ever seem to baffle him. Lending an air of confidence to this journey.. your in good hands with a guy who really knows what he's talking about.

I came away learning a few things I didn't know before. Like "Iron" serves a unique purpose in the Universe and is responsible for all the Super Nova we see out there.

The show didn't really steer too far into the implausible or "fringe" type speculation that SciFi tends to do. It stayed close to the hard science and vividly depicted things like particle physics in a convincing manner. And genuinely? They really did logically connect everything up from the super infinitesimally small to the largest and deepest things in the Universe. Its quite comprehensive and well worth watching.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Excellent series for science nerds and non-nerds, plus Mike Rowe

Author: Guy Lanoue from Canada
20 April 2015

A great series. I think I've seen all the science documentaries, and this is the best. Why? Not only do they take some of the better known scientific faces to present the material, they add a host of lesser known but engaging scientists who are great at explaining without undue simplification. Like other dimensions of The Culture that seem to emphasize glamour and show, the producers have found scientists that look good or look simpatico, like you could imagine yourself having a conversation with them. This, however, is not at the expense of the content. The theories are not only current, some are really quite subtle and difficult to present with mathematics, yet they manage, and without too many analogies and metaphors. You don't need a science background here, but it certainly helps. Although they have a musical sound track, it's rather muted and avoids the military/Wagnerian Birth of the Gods melodrama that just dummies down with the scientists say (In one telling interview I think at UCal, Alex Filippenko acknowledged that in other documentaries he doesn't have all the control he wanted on what came across; here, he seems more true to his scientific roots). Plus, the producers and directors try to avoid the standard self-congratulatory narrative trope that always diminishes (for me) similar documentaries: "In 1993 Nasa decided to solve this mystery and launched…. Nasa scientists eagerly waited for the results." Cut to shot of excited scientists huddling around consoles. Same scientists, twenty years later: "We couldn't believe it. It was the greatest moment of my life". Yes, science does involve egos, but it's not about egos, which (I presume) non-scientific producers seem too eager to use as a framing device. They get that the universe is much more dramatic than anything we could conjure up in a studio. True, they also use the Life on Other Planets narrative device, but usually to debunk it. Unlike other recent space documentaries that seem to play to the Trekkie desire to find thousands of alien races on each planet (put a goatee on Spock: instant alternate universe), here, the possibility of alien life is usually quickly debunked as highly improbable. In fact, what seems to be behind this series is the notion that Earth is a one-of. Things are cut hopping by brief framing shots and quick cut- aways. The graphics are great and plausible And, for at least one series, Mike Rowe narrates. Not to take away from the other narrators, who keep things interesting, a filmic structure that depends on narration needs Mike Rowe, whose offhand delivery underlines the stupendous wonders that are presented.

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Great Special Effects Lightweight on the Science

Author: John Smith from Australia
19 September 2017

How the Universe Works is a Discovery Channel series on Astronomy. To date there are five series consisting of eight or nine episodes each. The first series was developed in 2010 and the fifth 2016, so the material is reasonably up to date.

The first series was about galaxies, stars, planets etc. providing a good introduction to these topics. The later series tended to cover breaking theories such as Planet Nine, exoplanets and dark matter. As a result, as the theory is updated or revised, the information in the show tends to get a little dated.

The shows format is narration, supplemented by addition contributions from scientists and researchers involved in the relevant area. The show also uses CGI and graphics to give an 'artist's impression' of phenomena such as a solar system forming, as well as telescope images of planetary nebulas, open clusters, galaxies and Hubble's ultra-deep field.

However, I found the material to be fairly light weight. For example in the series one episode on Supernovas they describe a Type 1A Supernova: "The moment the white dwarf star starts to fuse carbon and oxygen into iron its doomed. Suddenly the white dwarf explodes." This is bunkum. When a white dwarf accretes enough matter from a companion star and its mass reaches the Chandrasekhar limit (due to electron degeneracy - approx. 1.4 solar masses), the star collapses, undergoes thermonuclear runaway, blowing itself to bits. About 0.6 solar masses of Nickel 56 is formed, which decays into radioactive Cobalt 56 and then into Iron 56. This process produces a consistent light curve and Type 1A supernova known as Standard Candles, were used to determine distances of remote galaxies. Similarly for a Type II supernova, the explanation is inaccurate. Very large stars (> 90 solar masses) are thought to collapse directly into black holes without any visible explosion, although this depends on metallicity and the star's rotation rate. These have been observed but are not mentioned on the show.

So while the show popularises astronomy with great special effects, the facts have been dumbed down for ease of public consumption. Nevertheless the show is a good introduction to our amazing universe and how it works. 7/10

P.S. For a more technical explanation, try Dr Alex Filippenko's 96 lecture series: Understanding the Universe an Introduction to Astronomy.

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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Giving different answers!

Author: Dustin Huff from Wellsville, ohio
22 February 2016

I give this show an 8 out of 10 only because they keep changing there answers about things like the sizes of the planets... One time they will say Mars is bigger then earth and now today's episode the lady said that Mars was smaller then earth. They also do the same with Jupiter and Saturn. You're show is one of my favorite shows but you guys need to get the stories straight.other then that this show is amazing and has no other flaws from my opinion. Also I was wounds ring if maybe the show could show what's farther out past Pluto and the asteroid belt. Just a suggestion. Big fan of mike row he's an amazing guy. Last thing maybe an episode of possible plant life growth on other planets such as Mars. Thank you.

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