Australia’s First 4 Billion Years Is A Docmentary “For The Ages”

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

Earth’s history is one of the most interesting topics to discuss and learn about.  From the planet’s very earliest formation, to everything that followed in the eons, Earth has a very rich history.  That history could be examined from any number of angles.  And it has been done so, too countless times.  One of the latest examinations of Earth’s history comes courtesy of PBS’ hit science based program, NOVA in Australia’s First 4 Billion Years.  Much can be noted of what makes this episode one of the series’ best from 2013.  The very first aspect of the episode that audiences will appreciate is that its four-hour length has been split into four separate segments on two discs.  Another positive to the set is that despite its science content, host Richard Smith talks right to audiences instead of over them.  Lastly, the cinematography and special effects are absolutely stunning to say the least.  This is especially the case in the presentation’s Blu-ray presentation.  All of these factors and more make Australia’s First 4 Billion Years one more example of what makes NOVA another part of PBS’ best programs.

The first aspect of Australia’s First 4 Billion Years that audiences will appreciate is the fact that the episode has been split into four separate segments over two discs.  This applies both in the program’s DVD and Blu-ray presentation.  Each of the program’s four segments runs almost an hour, not counting end credits.  So for PBS to split the episode up in such fashion was a rather wise move.  It maintains the network’s tradition of doing so, too.  On an even deeper level, each segment is itself divided up over the course of its near hour-long run time.  This is another positive to the overall presentation.  It is another positive in that it helps to maintain audiences’ attention.  It allows audiences to take a break if necessary.  What’s more, it also serves to allow viewers to better keep track of what is being discussed within the course of each segment.  So in essence, the separation of each segment and episode serves as the very foundation of the entire presentation.  It’s a strong foundation for the episode in whole, too.

The second aspect of the presentation that audiences will appreciate is that unlike so many science based shows out there, they won’t feel like the material is above their level.  Host Richard Smith talks to audiences rather than over them.  He speaks so simply that even some younger audiences would be able to grasp the discussed topics.  Right from the program’s outset, he uses his jeep as a virtual time machine.  As he goes along, he puts into simple terms just how large a meteor had to have been in order to create one of the continent’s larger craters.  There are also discussions of early aborigines, dinosaurs and much more.  It collectively puts into perspective much of the world’s history.  And thanks to his “down-to-earth” nature of discussing each topic, Smith makes audiences want to learn more.  It’s yet another of so many positives that makes this episode of NOVA so enjoyable.

Smith’s simple discussion of each topic makes taking in each segment of Australia’s First 4 Billion Years entertaining and easy to understand.  The division of each segment therein makes this episode even more enjoyable.  There is still at least one more aspect to examine that makes this double-disc set even more enjoyable if not more.  That aspect is the program’s collective cinematography and special effects.  Audiences are taken throughout Australia’s back country, as well as across New Zealand and Tasmania.  The shots obtained by NOVA’s camera crews are incredible.  Viewers get to see geysers, tropical rain forests, snow covered peaks and so much more as each topic is discussed across the program’s segments. 

The computer generated effects used throughout Australia’s pre-historic periods are just as impressive as the cinematography.  From asteroids to dinosaurs to the ancient peoples of Australia and more, those charged with taking viewers on a trip through Australia’s history have done an outstanding job.  Viewers will be in awe at the ancient Earth and its inhabitants, including dinosaurs.  Younger viewers will of course enjoy this portion of the program if no other.  Of course, there is much more for all viewers to enjoy across this episode’s four-hour run time.  And that rich content set along with everything else that went into bringing this episode to life makes it that much more worth the watch.  It is available now on DVD and Blu-ray.  It can be ordered online via PBS’ online store at  More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available online at and  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at                        

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