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DVD Review - How the Earth was Made (Season One) - The History Channel 

 

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This one's a bit confusing because there's both a single programme version of How the Earth was Made and a series, all from the History Channel. We looked at the series version, which contains 13 episodes.

I really enjoyed this series, perhaps more than the sister series The Universe. It's possible this is because it's rather less abstract - the Earth is right there beneath our feet, and these DVDs give an excellent view of a good range of aspects of the physical reality of our planet. The topics in there are San Andreas Fault, The Deepest Place on Earth, Krakatoa, Loch Ness, New York, Driest Place on Earth, Great Lakes/Yellowstone, Tsunami, Asteroids, Iceland, Hawaii and The Alps. Okay, there are a couple of hokey topics - come on guys, Loch Ness? - though to be fair the loch itself is an interesting structure with a story to tell.

You might also wonder why 'asteroids' is a topic in here, rather than in a space documentary. This is because asteroids (or rather their impact) has had a significant effect on the Earth (just ask the dinosaurs) - and let's face it, it's a good scary topic. There's also the chance for some long-range CSI on the increased levels of iridium around the KT event that wiped out the dinosaurs.

I think the reason this worked better for me than The Universe was that more of the video was real rather than computer generated, and there's some pretty dramatic photography in there. Yes, graphics are fine - and How the Earth was Made makes plenty of use of them - but you can't beat the real thing for a documentary that grabs your attention.

Well worth looking out for.

Reviewed by Brian Clegg

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Last update 05 June 2007