The real stuff
FrKurt Messick | Bloomington, IN USA | 01/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a wonderful science series that has been seen around the world. It primarily focuses upon space exploration, both manned and unmanned, but also branches out into more conceptual and theoretical astronomy and physics as well. I liken this series to the series 'The Astronomers' and Carl Sagan's wonderful 'Cosmos' series for its breadth of coverage and high production values.
There are twenty-six episodes in all, each a little under half an hour, for about ten hours total, on five DVD discs. Manned missions into space include coverage of Soviet and American missions around the planet, the moon landings, and the space shuttle. Skylab and Soyuz are covered as well. Some of the coverage of these period includes never-before-broadcast footage.
'Above and Beyond' also takes advantage of advances in telescope technology, particularly the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and other non-visual-range sensory technology to show new, fabulous portraits of the universe. The universe is getting bigger all the time, so it seems, and this series helps develop an appreciation and fascination for the topic. It is good for late middle-school, high-school, college-age, and adult viewing. It doesn't dumb-down the information, but presents scientific and historical information in an interesting and accessible way.
This science series should not be confused with the science-fiction series of a similar name ('Space: Above and Beyond'). This is the real stuff.
Very good series, if you like the format
Anton Karidian | Tennessee | 06/19/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I agree with the review here by "FrKurt Messick" that "Above and Beyond" is a very good series that deals well with many aspects of space exploration and, to a lesser extent, astronomy. I do think, though, that prospective buyers should be aware of the format of the show. Each 30-minute episode on the DVD box lists one topic, as though the entire episode deals with that alone. Some of those topics include "Gemini - the Story Behind the Program," "Halley's Comet," "Apollo 11 - Man on the Moon," "The Chandra X-ray Observatory," "In Pursuit of the International Space Station," "John Glenn - Orbiting the Earth," and so on. However, each episode actually deals with 3 or 4 topics, including the one listed, with each segment running about 5 to 10 minutes. That's OK, but it creates some problems. One is that you don't get much detail on any one topic, thus I DON'T recommend this DVD set if you're mostly interested in the history of space exploration. Second is that over time some segments will become badly outdated, while others will not. For instance, a segment on a historic space mission like Apollo 13 will always remain valid, yet a news piece about a minor development in aeronautics will seem increasingly unimportant over time. Also, I'm still not sure when this series was made, but judging from some of the topics covered, it must have been made within the last 5 years. In sum, this is a worthwhile series, but I recommend it only to those who would enjoy its format."