This landmark series uses specialist imaging and compelling narrative to tell the life story of our planet, how it works, and what makes it so special. Examining the great forces that shape the Earth - volcanoes, the ocean... more », the atmosphere and ice - the programme explores their central roles in our planet's story. How do these forces affect the Earth's landscape, its climate, and its history? CGI gives the audience a ringside seat at these great events, while the final episode brings together all the themes of the series and argues that Earth is an exceptionally rare kind of planet - giving us a special responsibility to look after our unique world. This is a series that shows the Earth in new and surprising ways. Extensive use of satellite imagery reveals new views of our planet, while timelapse filmed over many months brings the planet to life. Offering a balance between dramatic visuals and illuminating facts, this ground-breaking series makes global science truly compelling.« less
"Is it as good as Planet Earth? No. This documentary series doesn't a never-ending overabundance of brilliant imagery. But don't let that dissuade you. If it wasn't for "Planet Earth" everyone would be raving about this set. Because though its visuals aren't always as stunning as that excellent series -- sometimes the screen shows just a guy or two talking in front of a washed out sky -- overall "Earth: The Biography" is just as interesting and at times even more informative. The special effects are good, too.
Generally, I'd say this set is great for anyone with even a passing interest in geology, at least if they're over, say, 8.
These are the same shows that recently aired on the National Geographic Channel. There are no bonus features.
Disc 1 has three shows, "Volcanoes," "Atmosphere" and "Ice." Disc 2 adds "Oceans" and "Rare Earth." Each of the first four explains how that particular system works, as well as what happens when it's messed with.
The last show examines a theory that says simple life may actually be common on other planets, but complex life -- i.e., animal life -- requires such a complex sequence of events that we'll never find another human-like population. It goes on to examine how humans are damaging the planet. Did you know each year people cut down enough forest to cover the state of South Carolina?
Everything is presented with plenty of objective, scientific information.
My favorite show is the first one, since it includes the formation of Earth. Did you know scientists think our planet once had a twin? Or that the moon is drifting away from us?
Though the narrator, Dr. Iain Stewart, speaks in a Scottish brogue, I didn't have any trouble understanding him. He's calm and articulate.
By the way, you can't help but be reminded of "Planet Earth" as you watch this. A commercial for it is actually the first thing that comes up when you pop in Disc 1.
Besides "Planet Earth," I'd recommend pairing this up with An Inconvenient Truth. Or a trip to go see Wall-E."
This is just amazing
Charles Decker | New York, NY | 07/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I thought I had a decent science education until I saw this spectacular, mind-expanding series. But no. I sat on the couch and watched all five hours of this brilliant presentation and felt I had been robbed in college. The stuff on vulcanology and atmospheric science alone makes this show worth having, but the theories about 'Rare Earth' at the end make it even more special. The photography and recreations are amazing [National Geographic should win some sort of award from the high-def people] and the host is charming. Even middle-school kids will drop their jaws at some of the footage and photography in this show. I have bought at least a half-dozen DVDs for people who need a little science in their lives. Mega-bril!"
More of a resume than a biography ;)
G. Mladenov | 08/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"'Earth - The Biography' is a documentary about Earth's geology, atmosphere, and oceans. It provides a short overview of how our planet was created but its main focus is on how Earth's natural forces combine to create conditions for life - and how this makes Earth a unique place in the Solar system and 'perhaps in the universe'.
It's a very high quality documentary that is on the same level as 'Planet Earth' and 'Blue Planet' - with great footage and visions of earth. The guy with the accent is actually very charming, watchable, and non-obtrusive. I'm a non-native speaker and had no problems understanding what he was saying. Besides, there are subtitles.
I only regret that they did not put any special features on the DVD. After watching all five episodes, I really wanted to see a little more. "
J. Ganahl | Seattle, WA USA | 02/01/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"THE BEST video of the complete history of the earth. Up to date information, very well illustrated, choreographed and narrated. The facts are accurate and generally the accepted versions of human knowledge on the various topics (with one exception: the semi-controversial topic of how the dinosaurs came to demise; Personally, I side with the argument that super volcanoes choked the atmosphere, thus killing all life as opposed to the widely believed in super-meteorite theory on the devastation. You be the judge). Compared to thousands of hours of watching Discovery Channel and The History Channel, this video will give you everything you wanted to know about the earth in 230 minutes. A must watch for science and ecology buffs."
Understanding the Earth with science, not opinion
R. Lapekas | Tennessee | 09/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Dr. Stewart's latest contribution to science for the non-scientist continues his refreshing perspectives on the planet earth. If this video does not educate, enthrall, and entice you to learn more about our planet and its fragility, you must be one of those people who will not allow themselves to be confused with facts because your mind is already made up.
Once you get used to Dr. Stewart's Scots accent, his explanations of natural phenomena are remarkable for their clarity and simplicity. Even so, he does not condescend as he shares his wonderment at the most recent scientific discoveries that he presents in ways that compel the viewer to pay attention.
While some may contend that his topic includes "controversial" issues such as global warming, he never makes a statement without offering solid evidence. Indeed, his discussions are replete with references to the scientific recognition that they are theories that continue to evolve as evidence is accumulated. Thus, the only "controversy" would arise from the fact that the accumulating evidence tends to support scientific concerns.
For example, the evidence is uncontrovertible that Greenland's glaciers are melting at a rate never observed in modern times. Even so, Dr. Stewart includes the observation that scientists can only theorize about the consequences because they are unable to follow the melt water through the glacier and under the ice. Hence, scientists continue to explore and ask questions and postulate new theories ... because that is what good scientists do and that is what good science requires.
Anyone think that there is no problem if the frozen tundra warms up? Watch Dr. Stewart singe his eyebrows as he shows that the white stuff under the moss is methane by igniting it. So, how much methane would be released if (or when) the tundra warms up? And what will be the effect of this greenhouse gas? Watch the video.
Regardless of your political views on global conditions, this presentation offers the serious questioner the most recent research available. It could cause you to change your mind -- or, like a good scientist -- it could inspire you to find contrary evidence so that an informed dialogue will help us solve our planet's problems.
Last, but not least, so many interesting facts, theories, and supporting evidence are demonstrated that I was amazed at the organizational skills required to present so much information in only two DVD's. I include this video in my five-star list of videos that includes, among others, Blue Planet, Life on Earth, ... and Dr. Stewart's "Weather" -- which I also highly recommend. "