Hyperspace (2001)





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Special Interest , Television


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Audience Reviews for Hyperspace

Sam Neill Shows Us the Universe Most popular science documentary miniseries take some personable actual scientist and bring you into their world. Most famously, Carl Sagan. However, for this, the BBC has chosen to give us the genial face of moderately famous actor Sam Neill. No worries there. His soothing voice explains the cosmos for those of us who aren't too into it. (Well, I am. But you know.) And then there's the clips of people who work in the various fields talking about what they do. It's the perpetual quest of those who know what they're talking about to convey the information to those who don't. What do you expect? Something complicated? Though, of course, the information isn't the most lighthearted in the world. We start, as the universe did, with the Big Bang. Annoyingly, they show the Big Bang as an actual explosion, which of course it wasn't. However, they do work toward trying to give us a scale of time and space, which is notoriously hard to do at the scope we're working with here. There's a [i]lot[/i] of time and space. I can't grasp it. I don't think anyone can. But Neill works to help us as best he, and the show's producers, can. The central conceit of the thing is this giant demonstration thingy in the middle of nowhere. It's like a force field generator, and we see the visuals of time and space inside it. Though, at one point, he tells us exactly how far away the next star is on that scale, and it's awfully far. It's interesting to see how the state-of-the-art progresses--not of the science itself, or the technology itself, but of the presentation. Carl Sagan, after all, sat around in that really fake-looking spaceship bridge. Sam Neill gets out into the sun, and his CGI's not bad. Especially given the made-for-the-BBC-ness of the show in the first place. I really liked the time-lapse sequence about Jupiter and how it sweeps the Solar System of huge asteroids that could potentially kill us, kill us all. That could, in fact, have prevented life in the first place. Not all of the visuals were quite so appealing, and not all of them were quite so creative. Of course, we do move on to the scary stuff. The possibility of life elsewhere always creeps me out. Not because I don't want it to be there. It's because I'm afraid it's not. The universe, even just the galaxy, is a huge place. The idea of us, alone, occupying the only inhabited planet in it gives me the heebie-jeebies. Even more so than the segments which follow, those talking about how the Solar System will end. I can't watch anything speculating about life in the universe before bed, because I'll just lie awake thinking about it. Admittedly, I caught this in the middle of the morning, so I'm fine. But I'm going to have to watch a bunch of other things to feel better about myself and my place in the cosmos. This is not the best series along these lines. There are more than a few out there, and I still advise [i]Cosmos[/i] first, for all its '70s hokeyness. However, there are merits to this one, especially if you just can't take Carl Sagan's voice, which I would understand. Also, of course, the information on this is more up-to-date, and it doesn't have the quantum focus of [i]The Elegant Universe[/i]. It's not a bad presentation of the important cosmological and astronomical information. I note, by the way, that no one else on the entire site has anything to say about this. Which is a shame, frankly. It's a good miniseries. Not great, but one of many that's a good starting place into the wider world of science.

Edith Nelson
Edith Nelson

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