“Ancient mysteries shrouded in the shadows of Time. Now, can they finally be solved by looking to the heavens? The truth is up there hidden among the stars in a place we call…the universe.”
The Universe: The Complete Season Seven (Blu-ray) tackles four separate ancient events over four episodes. The History Channel has been producing this series since 2007 and it’s one of the channel’s hits. However this season may be one of the most controversial as half of the episodes deal with biblical events. As with many shows of this nature much of the runtime is concerned with interviews from field experts with the occasional bit of animated CGI to help illustrate a point.
“Stonehenge” — One of the world’s oldest structures, its foundations pre-date the great pyramids. It is one of mankind’s most ancient mysteries. Why is it here? Is it a temple? A burial ground? A place for sacrifice? Or could the mystery of Stonehenge be revealed in its builders’ desire to explore the unknown heavens and touch the universe?
“Pyramids” — The ancient pyramids of the Pharaohs. Were they built as merely colossal burial tombs? Or was their real purpose not of this earth? Were these mounds of stone designed as transport ships to carry a Pharaoh’s soul and all his riches deep into the heavens? What might hold the ultimate secrets about how and why they were built?
“Heavenly Destruction” — Sodom and Gomorrah. A tale of two cities incinerated by a hail of fire and brimstone. Is this a fantastic fable or could it be a near-apocalyptic disaster from space? Newly discovered evidence might hold the secrets to one of The Bible’s greatest mysteries.
“The Star of Bethlehem” — A strange light in the heavens. A star that signals the birth of Jesus. Is it faith? Fable? Or fact? Can we decode the secret of the star with the science of the universe? What was it? Where did it come from? And will it return?
The Universe: The Complete Season Seven (Blu-ray) is a good choice for those who like their theories to remain purely scientific in terms of speculation. If you’re interested in the subject matter but are open to more interpretations than science can provide I would direct you to the series Ancient Aliens which often dips into the same subject pool as The Universe but comes up with differing perspectives. In fact they present theories some would call fantastical.
If your belief in the Bible is that the events are literal with no room for interpretation then stay away from this disc. Two of the episodes present scientific theories for biblical stories and it may be something which is bothersome. On the other hand if your interest in these subjects allows for interpretations of a more scientific bent then Season Seven may be right up your alley.
The technical specs are really quite lovely. The video transfer boasts an incredibly crisp and clean palette. The 1.78:1/1080p transfer presents the turquoise hues to the best effect in terms of colors. The audio is a DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track which more than holds its own. Both audio and video are definite upgrades from what you can see either by streaming it online or on the channel itself. The Blu-ray is the way to go for providing a richer experience than you can get merely watching it online.
The only special feature is an ability to bookmark points in the programs. This isn’t one of your typical special features and it’s useful if you just want to show someone one portion of an episode.
Whether or not you will be inclined to view (let alone purchase) this set depends on your religious inclinations. The idea that some of these events are not considered acts of God but rather celestial events may be a turnoff to those whose interpretation of The Bible tends to run more literal than the episodes allow.