This year’s new music lists are officially done for Phil’s Picks, so now it’s time to move on to the TV and movie side of things as we continue to wind doown 2021. Starting off this year’s lists on the audiosvisual side is the best of this year’s new documentaries.
All of this year’s top new documentaries come from none other than PBS, the last true bastion of worthwhile programming. They come fromsome of th network’s most beloved series, while others are standalone offerings. From bios, to science, to mother nature and wildlife, the documentaries that PBS has produced this year have proven quite exceptional. They have also proven why PBS remains such an important force in American television offerings.
As with each list from Phil’s Picks, this year’s list presents the Top 10 new titles and five additional honorable mentions for a total of 15. There is nothing bad about that additional set of honorable mention titles. Each is equally deserving of its own applause. So with that in mind, it’s time to get into this year’s lit. Here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2021 Top 10 New Documentaries.
PHIL’S PICKS 2021 TOP 10 NEW DOCUMENTARIES
NOVA: Saving Notre Dame
NOVA: Can We Cool The Planet
NOVA: Touching The Asteroid
NOVA: Searching For Life On Mars
American Experience: American Oz
Nature: River’s Bend
Nature: The Alps
Laura Ingalls Wilder: From Prairie to Page
America Experience: The Codebreaker
Nature: Pandas — Born to be Wild
NOVA: Nature’s Fear Factor
NOVA: Great Electric Airplane Race
Life at the Waterhole
NOVA: Secrets in our DNA
That’s all for this list, but there is still more to come on the DVD/BD side of things before this year lets out, so stay tuned!
Air transportation has seen a lot of highs and just as many lows throughout its history. From the Wright brothers’ first powered flight, to Charles Lindberg’s solo trans-Atlantic flight, to Amelia Earhart’s flight around the world and more, the highs are many. The lows have been just as many. From the still unsolved disappearance of Flight 19 in the Bermuda Triangle, to the now infamous crash of the airship Hindenburg and so many other crashes, those lows are enough to fill their own history book. Speaking of the Hindenburg, more than 84 years have passed since the airship went down in flames over New Jersey. To this day, the exact cause of the incident still remains a mystery, but a new episode of NOVA — NOVA: Hindenburg – The New Evidence – aims to answer that question. The investigation into the fire that destroyed the airship serves as the episode’s foundation and ensures audience’s engagement and entertainment in its own right. It will be examined shortly. The general presentation herein makes for its own appeal and will be discussed a little later. Considering all of the noted content, the DVD’s pricing proves to be its own positive. It will also be examined later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD. All things considered, they make the DVD an interesting new episode of NOVA.
PBS Distribution and PBS’ recently released presentation of NOVA: Hindenburg – The New Evidence is a unique new addition to the long-running science-based series. Its interest comes in large part through its central story. The story in question focuses on the investigation into what exactly caused the airship Hindenburg to go down in flames more than 80 years ago in New Jersey. The investigation in question spends most of its time focused on mooring ropes that were dropped from the airship as it prepared to land and how they may or may not have caused the spark that ignited the hydrogen that caught fire. Not to give away too much, but while the investigation proves the ropes may have in fact caused the fatal fire, ultimately speculation still remains by the story’s end; that and conjecture. The science aspect here is how the story ties itself to NOVA’s bigger science theme, which is interesting, leaning how the airship’s electrified body may have actually led to the fire, not sabotage. That blending of history and science is certain to keep audiences engaged and entertained throughout the presentation’s nearly hour-long body. Speaking of that blend of history and science, it plays just as much into the program’s appeal.
The general presentation of this episode of NOVA makes it appealing because it really is more than just another episode of NOVA. Instead of just being one overall feature filled with facts and narration, it presents elements of another PBS series – History Detectives – along with the more science-based elements of NOVA in one. Having those “hosts” so to speak to take viewers along through the story personalizes the presentation and in fact makes it connect with viewers that much more. Keeping all of that in mind, the general presentation works directly in tandem with the story to make for more than enough reason for audiences to watch. To that end, there is one more item to examine. That item in question is the DVD’s pricing.
The average price point for NOVA: Hindenburg – The New Evidence is $21.48. That price was obtained by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Books-A-Million, and PBS’ store. The DVD was not listed through Target at the time of this review’s posting. Now for a program, such as this, that is a little bit expensive. That is undeniable. At the same time though, the separate listings reveal prices, there are listings that are well below that figure. Amazon and Walmart each list the DVD at $17.96 while Best Buy’s listing of $17.99 barely tops that figure. Meanwhile, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Books-A-Million, and PBS each list prices that exceed the average, at $24.99 each. So while the average price and some of the separate listings are somewhat expensive, there are also listings that come in at less than $20. To that end, those less expensive listings will not break anyone’s budget. What’s more, considering the unique presentation featured within the DVD, it makes the less expensive listings more appealing even as the episode comes across like episodes of certain shows on other commercial cable networks, which will remain nameless here. Keeping this in mind along with the content featured in this episode of NOVA, the whole proves mostly worth watching at least once.
PBS and PBS Distribution’s recently released DVD presentation of NOVA: Hindenburg – The New Evidence is an intriguing addition to the series’ history. It stands out stylistically from so many other of the series’ episodes. That applies in its examination of what brought down the airship and the general presentation thereof. That is not an entirely bad thing, but at the same time, does detract somewhat from the presentation. Even with that in mind, it is still worth watching at least once. The pricing for the DVD proves to be at least somewhat positive, too, considering that there are some less expensive listings for the DVD. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD and its presentation. All things considered, they show this episode of NOVA to be imperfect but still entertaining and engaging.
NOVA: Hindenburg – The New Evidence is available now. More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available online now at:
When the concept of mass transportation was first thought of in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the belief was that it would help reduce human created pollution. As time has gone on, those views have increasingly changed, obviously. They proved to be almost as problematic in terms of pollution as personal transportation. Coal-burning steam engines that put so much smoke and other chemicals into the air have given way to much cleaner rail transport. Many buses nationwide have switched over from gasoline and diesel to much cleaner power sources, too. While those measures have done and are doing their part to reduce mankind’s impact on the naturally occurring process that is climate change, there is still much more to do even on their end. While those mass transportation means continue to evolve and change for the better, one means of mass transportation that is sadly only now beginning to evolve is air transportation. Jets and planes put pollution into the air every day, but thankfully, there is a growing number of companies out there whose work aims to eventually make mass air transportation cleaner. Their work is the focus of another recently aired episode of PBS’ long-running science-based series, NOVA. Having originally aired May 26 on PBS stations nationwide, it was released Aug. 3 on DVD, and is also streaming online now, too. The noted “race” to develop “clean” air transportation is at the center of this episode. It is quite interesting and will be discussed shortly. The visual aids that are used to help tell the story add their own interest to the presentation and will be discussed a little later. Considering all of that content, the DVD’s pricing rounds out its most important elements. IT will also be discussed later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD. All things considered, they make this episode a presentation that (pardon the awful pun) is a high-flying success.
NOVA: Great Electric Airplane Race is another successful offering from PBS’ long-running, science-based series. It is a presentation that will appeal to a wide range of audiences. Its success comes in large part through its central story, that of the efforts underway to evolve mass air transportation in regards to its energy source and impact on climate change. This revelation leads to the story’s most important aspect. While the impact of air travel’s pollution on climate change serves as the basis for the bigger discussion, it remains just that. So while this is hardly the first time in recent years that PBS programming has focused on climate change and humans’ impact thereon, it does not just preach about it nonstop. Rather the story naturally grows from that topic to the innovations that are happening as a result of the efforts to make air travel cleaner. At no point does the program ever try to lie to audiences, either. It is pointed out multiple times throughout the almost hour-long program that the efforts to make air travel cleaner are in their infancy and that there is still a very long way to go. To that end, that realistic view makes things interesting in itself. The various ways in which the different startups and established companies are trying to use clean energy to power planes and jets is just as interesting to learn about. It seems, in watching the whole, that the most feasible energy source at this point would be hydrogen. That is just this critic’s own interpretation. That is especially considering the note of how many pounds of batteries would be needed to replace approximately 40,000 pounds of fuel in a full-size jetliner in order for it to maintain its range. On another hand though, the thought of batteries being recharged in-flight by the same propellers that they are powering is interesting in its own right. Of course, that would seemingly only be feasible in small, one and two seat planes, but is still a potential upgrade that could work in that avenue. That so many efforts are being made to reduce the carbon footprint of air transportation companies is just as interesting to learn about as the efforts being made to simply pull carbon from the atmosphere in another of PBS’ climate-related NOVA episodes. It is just one part of what makes this episode interesting. The visual aids that are used add their own interest to the episode’s presentation.
The visual aids in question are actual footage of the prototype planes and “helicopters” that are being developed by the noted startups. This may seem minor on the surface. However, being that there are so many visual learners out there and that television is, after all, a visual medium, actually getting to put a picture with the discussed concepts serves very well to keep viewers engaged and entertained. What’s more, actually seeing the concept vehicles at work (both in reality and in concept videos) enhances the viewing experience even more. One cannot help but wonder if a “helicopter” powered by as many as six propellers is really as efficient as a combustion-powered chopper (which uses only two rotors). That such a clean-energy vehicle would need that much power shows that there certainly is a long way for clean energy air power to go before it is perfect, but at least the effort is being made. On another note, watching another clean-energy air vehicle actually taking off and landing around the Hawaiian islands shows that some progress is happening. Again, these visualizations may not seem like much on the surface, but when viewers actually see them as they take in the story, they will ensure those viewers’ engagement and entertainment that much more. That ensured engagement and entertainment will also ensure that viewers will better understand and appreciate the efforts taking place and why they are taking place. Keeping all of that in mind, the overall content featured in this DVD does plenty to prove the appeal of the episode and DVD. It is still just part of what makes the DVD and episode appealing. The DVD’s pricing, again considering the content, proves important in its own right.
The average price point for NOVA: Great Electric Airplane Race is $21.49. That price was reached by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Books-A-Million, and PBS’ store. While the average price point is a little bit high, some of the separate listings are more appealing by comparison. Case in point is Amazon’s listing of $16.79, the leas expensive of the listings. The only listings that exceed the noted average come from PBS, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and Books-a-Million, at $24.99 each. Best Buy offers the DVD at just under $20 at a price of $17.99 while Walmart’s listing is slightly more expensive at $19.17. Given, with shipping, each listing’s price does go up, but again by comparison to the three listings that exceed the average, those lower listings are still relatively affordable. Considering again, the overall content featured in this episode of NOVA and its ability to ensure viewers’ engagement and entertainment, those less expensive listings are still money well spent. To that end, the pricing and overall content featured in this episode of NOVA makes the episode in whole a fully successful presentation.
PBS and PBS Distribution’s presentation of NOVA: Great Electric Airplane Race is a successful new offering from the company and its home distribution arm. That is proven in part through the episode’s central story. The story in question follows the efforts underway to progress air travel from a hugely polluting means of mass transportation to something much cleaner. The visuals that are used throughout the episode add their own appeal to the whole. That is because they make the episode more interesting for viewers. That added interest ensures audiences’ engagement and entertainment in its own right. To that end, the pricing for the episode’s home DVD release proves mostly positive in its own right. Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD. All things considered, they make the episode and its DVD presentation a presentation that passes…with flying colors. Yes, that awful pun was intended, too.
NOVA: Great Electric Airplane Race is available now.
More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available online now at:
Throughout the course of human history, there have been so many pivotal moments that have forever changed things for the world. The creation of fire and the wheel, the development of electricity, the development of mass communications and recording technology are all prime examples of those key moments. They are hardly the only key moments in human history. In a recently aired episode of its long-running science-based series, NOVA dubbed Ship That Changed The World, PBS examines a key turning point in nautical history. Having originally aired June 2 on PBS stations nationwide, it was released to DVD Aug. 17. The story featured in the nearly hour-long episode creates a strong foundation for the program and will be discussed shortly. The secondary story that accompanies the main presentation adds to the episode’s engagement in its own right. It will be discussed a little later. Keeping those two items in mind, the program’s pricing proves to be important in its own way, too. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD’s presentation. All things considered, they make the DVD a presentation that will appeal to a wide range of audiences, from history buffs to nautical history lovers, to even those with any interest in engineering.
NOVA: Ship That Changed The World is an interesting new episode of PBS’ long-running science-based series. Its interest comes in large part through its primary story. The story in question follows a group of marine archaeologists who have located the remains of a ship off the Swiss coast known as the Griffin Dog. That is the English translation for the ship’s name. As narrator Craig Sechler points out, the ship is important to the bigger picture of maritime history because of its construction. Audiences who have any interest in that topic will remain engaged just as much as anyone with any interest in the history or maritime warfare and history in general. Watching the group try to identify the ship and solve what caused it to sink (and succeed in the process) gives audiences reason enough to watch this episode of NOVA. While that aspect of the episode is interesting in its own right, the episode’s secondary story (which could actually be argued to be the episode’s main story in its own right) makes for just as much engagement and entertainment.
The episode’s secondary story involves the history lesson on boats’ construction in comparison to that of the Griffin Dog. Viewers will be interested to learn, for instance, that while Vikings’ construction of their longboats is legendary, it was in fact imperfect. That is because as is noted in this episode, the longer the boats became, the more problematic was their mobility in the water. On a different note, viewers will learn that by comparison, boats that were created in the Mediterranean region of the world had their own problem. Their problem was not one of mobility, but of the ability to carry large cargo capacities. As the secondary story progresses, viewers learn that the shipbuilders who created the Griffin Dog used the style of not one but both regions in creating the ship. The result was that the creation and launching of the Griffin Dog was really that turning point in maritime history. The ship was, as one interviewer called it, a castle of sorts, on the water. It allowed for certain unique military advantages for the soldiers on board as well as the ability to carry extensive cargo loads and to provide certain comforts for the crew and passengers. That aspect of the story is really just as interesting as the efforts to identify the Griffin Dog if not more so. That is why, again, viewers can argue that this secondary story could also be the episode’s central story and vice versa. Keeping all of this in mind, the DVD’s pricing proves to be a positive in its own right.
The average price point of NOVA: Ship That Changed the World is $21.38. That price was reached by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Books-A-Million, and PBS’ store. Target did not list the DVD at the time of this review’s posting. Amazon’s listing of $16.79 is the least expensive of the listings, while PBS, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and Books-A-Million all had the most expensive listing, at $24.99. Walmart listed the DVD at $18.52 while Best Buy’s listing of $17.99 is not the best buy, but is still well under the noted average point. Short and simple, three of the listings are well above the average while the other three are all below that point, and are also less than $20. To that end, those three less expensive listings will not break viewers’ budgets. Considering the DVD’s content, again, that information proves its own positive in the bigger picture of the DVD’s presentation. Keeping all of this in mind, NOVA: Ship That Changed the World is an overall successful presentation.
PBS and PBS Distribution’s presentation of NOVA: Ship That Changed the World is a largely successful presentation. That is proven in part through its initial story. That story in question follows the search for and discovery of a five century-old warship. The warship in question, the Griffin Dog, changed the face and history of maritime warfare and history. The explanation of how the ship incorporated different ship building techniques from two parts of the world thousands of miles apart from one another adds to the overall presentation. That overall content makes the DVD’s pricing – average and separate – positive in its own right. The DVD’s average price point and most of its listings are inexpensive and will not break viewers’ budgets. Each item examined here, the whole makes the DVD a positive presentation. All things considered, they make the DVD a presentation that will definitely float. NOVA: Ship That Changed the World is available now.
More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available online now at:
The urgency in understanding humans’ impact on the natural process that is climate change cannot be understated. According to a brand new report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, humans’ impact on climate change, is painting a very bleak, but not entirely hopeless, picture for the planet’s future. The timing of the report’s release this week is interesting not only because of its revelations, but also because it came approximately one month after PBS and PBS Distribution released its ecologically-minded episode of NOVA, Reef Rescue. Released July 6, only months after its original airing on PBS stations nationwide, the episode examines the impact of climate change on coral reefs and the efforts to restore the world’s reefs. That story forms the foundation for this episode and will be discussed shortly. The cinematography that accompanies the story adds even more appeal to the presentation and will be discussed a little later. Considering the content featured in this episode of NOVA and its appeal, it makes the episode’s average price point in its home release appealing in its own right, too. This will be discussed later, too. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the episode. All things considered, they make the episode another important reminder of why we need to take our impact on the planet more seriously.
NOVA: Reef Rescue is an interesting addition to PBS’ long-running science-based series. It serves as a powerful reminder of why humans need to be better caretakers of what is currently our only home. Its impact is shown mainly through its central story. The story is a dual-pronged presentation. On one side, the story shows viewers the impact of climate change on reefs around the world. In the process, the story reminds audiences of just how important reefs are to the world. They play a very distinct role in the world’s economy because so many fishers harvest their fish from reefs. They also serve as a first defense against the impact of storm surge during hurricanes in specific regions of the world. Without that defense, storm surge in those areas can and likely will wipe out life in those areas. The introduction of that information helps this part of the story from becoming interpreted as being preachy, which is positive in its own right. On the story’s other side, it presents the efforts being undertaken to help bring coral back from the brink. Audiences learn there are those around the world who are working on what is known as “assisted evolution” to help coral survive and adapt the ongoing impact of climate change. Yes, evolution is real as much as so many individuals out there might want to believe otherwise. While the efforts show some hope for the future of corals (which again play a much bigger role in the world than people would like to believe), the efforts are not perfect. As is revealed, warming waters around the world are still negatively impacting coral even despite efforts to help them adapt. The whole story will be left for viewers to learn for themselves. The story in whole movies fluidly (no pun intended), and that together with the discussions therein make for reason enough for audiences to take in this episode of NOVA. It is just one part of what makes this episode engaging. The episode’s cinematography adds another layer of appeal to the whole.
The cinematography presented in NOVA: Reef Rescue is of note because it does its own part to keep audiences engaged and entertained. The cinematography shows the full and real impact of human-impacted climate change on corals, showing the stark whiteness of the bleached corals as they are pictured by those working to save them. Audiences are also taken high above the reefs in aerial shots showing for instance, the immensity of the Great Barrier Reef, and even a simple aspect, such as the contrast of life above and below the waves. Between these visuals, the examination of wave crests to help explain how reefs impact storm surges, and other items, the cinematography in whole proves to have its own important part in the overall presentation of NOVA: Reef Rescue. Keeping in mind that importance and that of the episode’s story, the two elements form a fully engaging and entertaining whole. The engagement and entertainment ensured by the episode’s content makes its average price point appealing in its own way, too.
The average price point for NOVA: Reef Rescue is $20.99. That price was obtained by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Books-A-Million, and PBS’ store. PBS’ store and Books-A-Million each list the DVD above that price point at $24.99. All of the other retailers noted list the DVD well below that number, at $17.99 each. Keeping that in mind, the separate listings and average prove largely affordable. The listings will, for the most part, not break audiences’ budgets with their affordable point. Keeping that in mind along with the appeal of the episode’s overall content, that whole makes the episode another positive offering from PBS and PBS Distribution.
PBS and PBS Distribution’s recently released DVD presentation of NOVA: Reef Rescue is a presentation that is worth watching at least once. That is proven in part through its story. The story examines the impact of human-impacted climate change on coral reefs and the efforts by humans to help corals adapt and survive those impacts. It is a well-balanced presentation in itself that will keep audiences engaged throughout the nearly hour-long feature. The cinematography incorporated into the episode adds its own appeal because it shows audiences firsthand, the impact of warming ocean temperatures on corals. That and the footage showing the work being done to help restore coral populations makes for plenty of engagement and entertainment. The collective content makes the DVD’s average price point positive in its own right. The pricing for this DVD is largely affordable and will not break audiences’ budgets. It puts the finishing touch to the DVD’s presentation. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD. All things considered, they make the DVD another interesting episode of NOVA that audiences will find worth watching at least once. NOVA: Reef Rescue is available now.
More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available online now at:
Science, like math, is at the heart of everything. Science can be and is also cooler than most people realize. Just ask David Pogue, the host of PBS’ NOVA: Hunting the Elements and its recent follow-up, NOVA: Beyond The Elements. Released on DVD April 6 following its nationwide airing in February, NOVA: Beyond the Elements is a presentation that proves just how prevalent and fun science really is. That is proven through the episode’s main feature. This will be discussed shortly. The three-part episode’s presentation style ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment in its own way. It will be discussed a little later. The episode’s packaging rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the episode’s presentation in its new home release. All things considered, they make this episode of NOVA an unquestionably positive addition to this year’s field of new documentaries.
PBS and PBS Distribution’s recently released home presentation of NOVA: Beyond the Elements is a presentation that fans of the popular, long-running, science-based series will enjoy. That is proven in part through its main content. The content here refers to host David Pogue’s experiences showing how the elements play into our everyday lives. From partaking in a chili eating contest (no, not chili as in the stuff with beans and meat, but actually chilis), to watching stuff explode (who doesn’t love a good explosion?) to examining how glass can actually be unbreakable (truth is stranger than fiction), Pogue puts in layman’s terms how the elements work together play into our everyday lives in so many ways. In the case of the chili eating contest (which will have audiences laugh uproariously), it is used to show how molecules in chilis actually act as a “defense mechanism” for the vegetables. Pogue discovers in his discussion with a scientist that the molecules in question actually trick the human brain into thinking chilis are spicy when in fact they really are not. It makes for a really interesting exploration and discussion in itself. In regards to the explosions, the discussion turns to talks on how molecules in certain elements come together to make explosives, such as ammonium nitrate and C4. The discussions are presented in an effort to show how construction resources are obtained at their base from quarries. It is yet another clear, accessible discussion on how the elements play into our daily lives, and is certain to keep viewers engaged and entertained in its own right. The noted exploration of how glass can possibly be unbreakable is used to show how elements and their molecules play together to create glass, another item which we use daily. Audiences will be surprised here to watch as a super hot piece of molten glass is cooled quickly in water and made virtually unbreakable. Throughout the experiments noted here and so many others, Pogue maintains a certain humility. He never tries to be more than he is, making for even more enjoyment. His everyman presence makes him more relatable to audiences, sort of like fellow media personality Mo Rocca.
While the experiments featured throughout NOVA: Beyond The Elements go a long way towards making science so enjoyable and accessible, they are just a portion of what makes this episode’s primary feature so entertaining and engaging. The discussions about the ecological effects of products created by the elements make for their own interest. What’s more, the discussions on the efforts that are being made to counter the noted effects makes for even more interest. All things considered here, the primary feature of NOVA: Beyond the Elements makes for a strong starting point for the episode. Building on the foundation formed by the main feature is the episode’s presentation style.
NOVA: Beyond the Elements runs just shy of the three-hour mark (two hours, 50 minutes to be exact). Being that this episode is so long, it is divided into three separate segments in its DVD presentation, just as was done in the episode’s original broadcast early this year. The segmentation seems minimal on the surface, but taking into account all of the information delivered through each segment, it is necessary. It allows audiences to watch the episode at their pace. In watching at their own pace, audiences will find themselves that much more inclined to remain engaged. That increased engagement means that viewers will in turn more easily comprehend and remember the topics discussed in each segment. Keeping all of this in mind, the way in which this episode of NOVA was presented proves important in its own right.
Moving from the matter of the episode’s presentation, the packaging of the episode in its home release proves important in its own right. The packaging stands out primarily in that a brief but concise summary of each segment is provided on the back of the episode’s box. What’s more, it lets audiences know before they even put the DVD in their DVD/BD player, that it is separated into each segment. This is an aesthetic element, but is important in its own way. It allows viewers to decide for themselves which segment to watch before they even start watching. The decision might take a moment, but that moment will take less time than having to learn the topic of each episode one at a time by playing out the start of each episode. The positive mindset that will result from the use of the segment summaries will play greatly into the overall engagement and enjoyment in its own right. When that impact is considered along with the impact of the episode’s main feature and its presentation style, the whole of that content completely rounds out the episode and makes it completely enjoyable.
NOVA: Beyond the Elements is a welcome follow-up/companion presentation or NOVA: Hunting the Elements. As a matter of fact, one could argue that it is in fact an improvement from its predecessor. That is due in part to the episode’s main feature. The main feature is accessible because it presents so much heavy science content in a fashion that is accessible to the most average viewer. That in itself will hopefully help viewers see the fun in and importance of science. The fact that the episode is separated into its three segments here just as it was in the episode’s initial airing makes the episode even more appealing. That is because the separation will encourage viewers to remain engaged and appreciate the whole even more. The episode’s packaging in its new DVD presentation puts the finishing touch to the episode. It does so through the brief but concise segment descriptions on the box’s rear artwork. The summaries allow viewers to decide which segment to watch before they even place the disc into their DVD/BD players. This in itself will give viewers a positive mindset, too. When the positive mindset ensured by the packaging is considered along with the positive mindset generated by the episode’s content and its segmentation, that whole makes this episode of NOVA one more of this year’s top new documentaries. NOVA: Beyond the Elements is available now.
More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available online now at:
NASA has made a lot of headlines in recent weeks thanks to its latest mission to Mars. The agency’s Perseverance rover and its companion “helicopter,” Ingenuity have kept the agency in the news as they search for any signs of past life on the “Red Planet.” While the machines’ main goal is to find any evidence of ancient life, that search is just part of their mission. As is pointed out in PBS’ brand new DVD, NOVA: Looking for Life on Mars, NASA officials are hoping to eventually return that evidence to Earth with yet another mission to Mars when and if it is discovered. The new DVD in question was released Tuesday, less than three months after the then latest episode of NOVA made its initial airing is another interesting episode of PBS’ long-running science-based series. The noted story of Perseverance’s mission is at the heart of the episode, and it is a good starting point for the program. It will be discussed shortly. The interviews that are featured within the bigger story add their own interest to the presentation. They will be discussed a little later. The program’s collective editing and pacing round out its most important elements. They will also be discussed later. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the presentation of NOVA: Looking for Life on Mars. All things considered, they make this latest episode of NOVA another engaging and entertaining edition of PBS’ hit science-based series.
PBS’ newly released DVD presentation of NOVA: Looking for Life on Mars will appeal widely to NOVA’s longtime science-based series and to anyone with any interest in space science and even science fiction. The episode’s appeal comes primarily through the episode’s central story. Audiences will be interested to learn that the episode’s story is about more than just finding signs of ancient life on Mars, but about looking for ways in which life on Earth can survive on Mars. The story opens with Perseverance’s landing on Mars back in February following months and years of preparation. From there, the story turns to Perseverance’s mission, which is to find any traces of ancient microbial life on Mars. It is pointed out (thankfully) that there is no expectation of finding any signs of more humanoid (*intelligent*) life. That keeps the episode’s story fully grounded. Audiences will be interested to learn as the episode progresses, that Mars did in fact once have water. What’s more it is also revealed that the main components needed for life (CHNOPS – Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Phosphorus, and Sulfur) were all eventually found in Mars’ soil by Pereverance’s equipment, too. As the program continues, it is revealed that gathering samples from Mars’ surface is only part of NASA’s latest mission to Earth’s “sister planet.” One interviewee reveals that NASA also plans to send a rocket to Mars to retrieve the samples collected by Perseverance and then return them to Earth. That is certain to be an interesting mission in itself. This and other interviews incorporated into the program will be addressed shortly. Getting back onto the topic at hand, along with finding evidence of life on Mars, NASA is also researching how to sustain human life on Mars. This leads to the discussion on ways to convert Mars’ carbon dioxide rich atmosphere into breathable oxygen. Filtration company Lydall is working with NASA on that project, and even placed a filter on Perseverance. That discussion in itself adds even more engagement and entertainment to the story. The whole story rounds out with a discussion on how the Perseverance program started and where it is going today. All things considered, the story ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment, in turn creating a solid foundation for the episode’s presentation.
The story featured in NOVA: Looking for Life on Mars makes for a positive starting point for the episode. Building on the foundation that it forms are the collective interviews that accompany the story. One of the most notable of the interviews comes in the discussion on Perseverance’s “companion,” the Ingenuity. A couple of people on the Ingenuity team come right out during this discussion and openly talk about how the very idea was laughed down. That is because the atmosphere on Mars is so thin that no one thought there would be enough air to get the Ingenuity off the planet’s surface. Of course as news outlets nationwide reported recently, those doubts were silenced when the mini-“helicopter” did in fact go airborne.
This examination already noted that one of the interviewees featured in this documentary noted early on that Perseverance and Ingenuity were looking for signs of ancient microbial life. This is important to note because the woman in question stresses that they are not looking for any signs of “alien” life. This provides for far more credibility and ensures any conspiracy theory types will be silenced early on. It is a brief statement from one of the many interviews featured throughout the hour-long program, but is so important because it means officials involved in the project did not want anyone misconstruing what was going on.
Another interesting discussion featured through the episode’s interviews is that of the one-time existence of water on Mars. The interviewees talk about the reality that at one point, a flowing river once made its way into the crater in which Perseverance landed. The group talks about smooth rocks in the channel in question prove water once flowed through and into the crater. Along with that discussion, there is also the discussion on what may or may not have happened to cause the water to evaporate, though no definitive answer is provided. Between these discussions, the others noted here and so many others provided through the episode’s interviews, the whole enhances the episode’s presentation even more. The result is that the interviews prove just as important to the episode as the story. The interviews and story are just part of what makes this new episode of NOVA so engaging and entertaining. The episode’s collective pacing and editing round out its most important elements.
The pacing and editing of this NOVA episode are important to note because the episode’s topic is so specific. It means the show’s creative heads had to make sure that it flowed fluidly and kept everything together solidly. Viewers will note that it does just that. The episode opens with the Perseverance’s landing, moves to the search for that ancient microbial life, and closes with the story of the Perseverance’s creation, launch, and landing. Throughout all three of those segments, the discussions on the related topics and the video are solid in their connections. Each segment ensures through that editing that viewers are never left feeling left behind or even that the episode drags at any point. It brings everything together, completing the episode’s presentation. When it is considered along with the interest ensured by the episode’s story and its interviews, the whole makes this episode another enjoyable offering from PBS.
PBS’s recently premiered episode of NOVA, Looking for Life on Mars is an enjoyable addition to the long-running series. The episode’s interest comes in part through its story which follows NASA’s work on its Perseverance rover project. The story is so interesting in that it is straight forward. It is the next step in NASA’s exploration of our solar system. The interviews that are presented throughout the story add their own interest. That is because of the extra insight that they give into everything that went into and is still ongoing in the project. The collective editing and pacing that went into the episode rounds out its most important elements. It ensures viewers’ maintained engagement and entertainment as it brings everything together and keeps the episode moving fluidly. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the episode. All things considered, they make NOVA: Looking for Life on Mars a presentation that will appeal to a wide range of audiences. It is available now.
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Genealogy is big business around the world today. People everywhere use companies, such as 23and Me, Ancestry, and even Myheritage every year to find their roots. For all that the tests do to enlighten consumers about their families’ connections and histories, there are still some concerns raised through their use. That balance of pro and con in what is known as direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing is at the center of another new episode of PBS’ hit science-based series NOVA. Released Tuesday on DVD, the nearly hour-long examination of DTC genetic testing proves an interesting presentation that is worth watching at least once. That is again due in part to the noted topic at the episode’s center. It will be discussed shortly. The editing that is used to help tell the story adds its own interest to the presentation. It will be discussed a little later. The DVD’s pricing is worth examining, too. It will also be discussed later. When it is considered along with the DVD’s overall content, the whole makes this episode of NOVA worth the purchase and watch.
PBS Distribution’s home release of NOVA: Secrets in Our DNA is a presentation that audiences will agree is worth the purchase and watch. That is due in large part to the episode’s story. The story in question examines the popularity of what is known as direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing. The nearly hour-long feature is an unbiased look at the positives and negatives of the now multi-million (if not billion) dollar industry. Audiences learn through the program that while DTC genetic testing can and does help people find family that they otherwise might not have known about, it can also lead to some unexpected consequences. That is evidenced through a variety of interesting stories. One of the stories that explains the unexpected consequences is a real crime story that opens the program. It tells how a woman who used DTC testing ended up playing an unexpected role in a decades-old double homicide in Washington State. The woman was not the murderer, but her DNA profile that she sent to a DTC testing company led police to the killer. The whole story will be left for audiences to discover for themselves. In another interesting case, viewers learn from another woman that the man she thought was her father was in fact not. These and other stories featured in the program lead to discussions on the privacy of the DNA kits that people use for what they believe is their personal genealogical research. As it turns out, the crime story is linked to this matter because as it turns out, much of the results from those tests goes into a database that law enforcement uses to solve cold cases. Previously it was not known by consumers that this was happening. The stories also lead to discussions on the efficacy of the tests in being able to determine whether consumers might be at risk for specific genetic concerns, such as cancer and whether companies might be in relation, selling the genetic information to drug companies for the purpose of patenting drugs. The late, great author Michael Crichton touched on this topic in his 2006 novel Next. Representatives from various genetic testing companies responded to the concerns, alleging consumers’ information is not being sold, one even stressing (justifiably) that the companies are not forcing consumers to take the tests. Overall, both sides of the discussion are presented here. The result of the non-biased presentation will hopefully encourage audiences to do their own additional research into DTC testing and make their own decisions on whether to use them in their own family history research.
The main feature presented in NOVA: Secrets in Our DNA is certain to keep viewers engaged from beginning to end what with its news story type presentation that delves into the business of DTC genetic testing. It is just one part of what makes the episode worth watching. The editing that went into the episode plays its own part in the presentation, too. That is exemplified through the way in which the interviews and visuals were incorporated throughout the program. Their placement helps to keep viewers engaged throughout. The coordination between the narration and footage is its own tribute to the editing. It all makes the program’s pacing steady and solid from start to end. That fluid pacing works with the story itself to further engage and entertain viewers. Keeping that in mind, the general presentation ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment.
Considering the unbiased story featured in NOVA: Secrets in Our DNA and its editing, the program proves unquestionably that it is worth watching at least once. These elements are just a pair of items that make the program as appealing as it is. The DVD’s pricing adds at least slightly more appeal to the program’s home presentation. The program’s average price point is $22.01. That price was reached by averaging prices listed at Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and PBS. It was not listed through Target and Books-A-Million at the time of this review’s posting. Barnes & Noble Booksellers and PBS have the most expensive listing at $24.99 each while Amazon and Best Buy each list the DVD at $17.99, the least expensive of the listings. Meanwhile, Walmart’s third party seller, DeepDiscount lists the DVD at $24.09, again, well above the average price point. Yes, only two of the major listed retailers have prices for the DVD. However, that is two more than could otherwise have listed. What’s more, the Walmart listing is, again, through a third party seller, not the retailer itself. Keeping that in mind and that Walmart typically lists PBS’ product among the least expensive retail prices, the pricing even at this point should not be viewed too harshly. All things considered, those noted inexpensive listings will not break viewers’ budgets, even with shipping and handling in mind. Keeping this in mind along with the DVD’s content and editing, the whole makes this episode of NOVA worth watching at least once.
PBS and PBS Distribution’s home presentation of NOVA: Secrets in Our DNA is an interesting work that deserves at least some attention. That is due in part to the story at the episode’s center. Presented in the style of a broadcast news piece, the story shows in unbiased fashion, the pros and cons of direct-to-consumer genetic testing. Viewers will find themselves interested in the “secrets” that testing can reveal, both good and bad. Additionally, they will be interested in the discussion on privacy concerns raised in connection to the business’ popularity. The editing that went into the program does its own share to keep viewers engaged, and together with the story, ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment even more. The program’s price in its DVD presentation rounds out its most important element. While the average price point exceeds the $20 mark, two of its listings are well below that mark, making for at least some appeal. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the program in its DVD presentation. All things considered, they make the DVD a presentation that proves worth purchasing and watching at least once. NOVA: Secrets in Our DNA is available now.
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More than a year after it suffered extensive damage to its structure, work to restore damage caused to the famed Notre Dame Cathedral by a 2019 fire is well underway. According to multiple media outlets, the scaffolding that burned in the fire has allegedly been successfully removed from the church as part of the restoration efforts, though there is still much work to do. Media outlets state that most of the work that is taking place now is focused on the cathedral’s interior structure, including statues that surround the high altar in the sanctuary’s choir section. What’s more, officials working on the restoration have been quoted as saying that more than 1,000 oak trees will be needed to replace the catheral’s spire. That is not even counting the trees damaged in the cathedral’s “attic” and roof. All of this work and more will take time. Some of that work and other efforts are discussed at length in t he story at the center of PBS’ NOVA documentary Saving Notre Dame. That story forms the foundation for the episode, which was released Feb. 16 on DVD. It will be discussed shortly. The footage that is incorporated into the story adds to the program’s appeal. It will be discussed a little later. Considering all of the noted content, the DVD’s average price point generates its own appeal. It will also be addressed later. When that affordable price point is considered along with the fully engaging content featured in the episode, the program in whole proves itself to be another of this year’s top new documentaries.
NOVA: Saving Notre Dame is a presentation that will appeal to a wide range of audiences. From those with an interest in engineering and construction, to the most devout Christians, to general fans of NOVA, the DVD ensures audiences will remain engaged and entertained, just as much as any other episode of PBS’ hit science-based series. The most notable way in which it ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment is its central story. As the episode’s title notes, the story centers on the efforts to restore the centuries-old cathedral following the 2019 fire that destroyed so much of the structure. The approximately hour-long presentation follows the efforts to restore the cathedral’s roof and preserve the structure in the ongoing efforts to restore the cathedral in whole. The transitions from one focus to the next are smooth, as is the pacing. Audiences will be interested to watch the painstaking efforts to restore the cathedral’s stained glass and the extreme measures to which workers had to go through during and even after working in the structure. What’s more, the equally intense lengths to which those involved in the restorations are going, just to make sure the replacement stone matches with the original stone is incredible to watch. It serves to show just how dedicated everyone is to restoring the cathedral to its original glory. The story’s pacing through all of its transitions and discussions is smooth in its own right. All things considered, the story featured in NOVA: Saving Notre Dame is itself reason enough for audiences to watch this episode. It is just one part of what makes the program so engaging and entertaining. The footage that is used to help tell the story adds to the episode’s appeal even more.
The footage that is used to help tell NOVA: Saving Notre Dame’s story is important to examine because of how much it adds to the story’s engagement and entertainment. The first half of the program reminds viewers of what happened at the cathedral in April 2019 not just through an interview with one of the priests who works at the facility, but also by showing news and amateur footage of the fire. Viewers will see time and again, the towering spire that stood atop the cathedral fall into the flames, itself ablaze. Also, viewers see through the professional recordings, the firefighters on the ground who worked so hard to put out the fire inside the building as the narration points out the difficulty that they faced in achieving their goal. Along with that, the program also incorporates computer generated visuals to help viewers understand the fragility of the cathedral and how easily it could have collapsed in the efforts to save it. The (seeming) drone footage taken high above the cathedral gives viewers a rarely seen view of the fire’s aftermath and the efforts taking place to restore the cathedral. It’s just one more visual that so powerful. When it and all of the other footage that is presented here combines, the overall visual aspect of the episode builds (no pun intended) on the foundation formed by the episode’s story. When all of this combined content is considered together, it makes the DVD’s average price point such that viewers will find this aspect appealing, too.
The average price point of NOVA: Saving Notre Dame is $19.62. That number was obtained by averaging listings at Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and PBS’ online store. The listings at Barnes & Noble Booksellers and PBS’ online store are the only ones that exceed that price, each listing the DVD at $24.99. Amazon, Walmart, and Target each list the DVD at $16.59, well below the listed average. Best Buy’s listing of $17.99 is not the best buy, but is still a good middle ground that is itself still below the listed average. Simply put, the majority of the listings and even the average are below the $20 mark. That means that none of the listed prices will break any viewer’s budget, even with shipping & handling taken into account. That relatively affordable overall pricing puts the finishing touch to the DVD’s presentation. Considering the amount and depth of the featured content, audiences will agree that they are getting their money’s worth here. Keeping all of this in mind, the DVD overall makes clear that it deserves a spot among this year’s top new documentaries.
PBS/PBS Distribution’s presentation of NOVA: Saving Notre Dame is another enjoyable edition of the hit long-running science-based series. Its central story makes that obvious through its content and pacing. The footage that is used to help tell that story adds its own touch to the program’s presentation. The story featured in this episode of NOVA and its content (including its footage) gives audiences plenty to appreciate. Keeping that in mind, its average price point and separate listings of mostly less than $20 (save for a pair of listings) proves to be its own positive. All things considered, the DVD in whole proves itself to be just as enjoyable as most every other episode of NOVA. NOVA: Saving Notre Dame is available now.
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Climate change is real. As much as some parties might want to continue denying that truth, the fact is that it is real. What’s more humans are having an impact on the natural process. More than two years ago, PBS tackled the topic in an episode of its hit science-based series NOVA in the form of the episode Decoding the Weather Machine. Late last month, the network, along with its distribution wing – PBS Distribution — followed up that episode when it released another episode of NOVA titled simply Can We Cool The Planet? The nearly hour-long episode of NOVA continues the discussion started in the prior episode by discussing the varied efforts to help reduce carbon dioxide levels in the Earth’s atmosphere. That central story forms the foundation of this episode and makes it quite engaging. It will be addressed shortly. The discussions that will stem from the concepts make for their own important factor here. This will be discussed a little later. The pacing of the overall discussion rounds out the program’s most important elements. It will also be discussed later. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of this episode of NOVA. All things considered they make this episode of NOVA a presentation that is sure to make discussions “heat up” on climate change.
NOVA’s latest episode focusing on the topic of climate change is a good companion piece to the series’ previously released climate change-focused episode Decoding the Weather Machine. This is proven in part through its central story. The story in question focuses on the topic of the varied efforts being taken to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in Earth’s atmosphere. Saying that those methods are varied is an understatement. Viewers will be quite interested for instance to learn about the machines that are already in use to collect carbon dioxide from the air. It is just one of the many methods that are being used and tested. Another method being proposed and tested is the use of water, laden with carbon dioxide that is then placed back in the ground, effectively putting the carbon back into the ground that has been removed. There are also scientists who are investigating and testing the possibility of recycling the carbon collected from carbon dioxide to help in the creation of everyday household items. The varied methods continue from here. There is what is known as “carbon neutral” fuel and even using carbon to help with composting and agriculture in general, as well as a process called “cloud lightening,” which is exactly what it sounds like; an attempt to use aerosols to lighten clouds, and in turn using that lightness to reflect more sunlight. Simply put, a lot of different methods are presented here, and the ultimate takeaway is that it is encouraging that so many people are working to reduce the planet’s temperature, which is increasing in distinct part because of carbon dioxide levels in the air. What’s more, it may take every method featured in this episode to finally cool the planet. Staying on that matter, the discussions on whether one proposed method, all of them, or even one not yet discovered, adds to the appeal of this episode of NOVA.
The discussions that are sure to rise from Can We Cool the Planet? will be in-depth. Going back to the varied methods proposed and tested, audiences will note the there is no bias toward one or another. Even in the discussion on the impact of mass tree planting, it is noted that the method in question had (and has) detractors. That in itself will certainly generate discussion. That is because there has been a mantra for ages that trees are so important. This critic is not denying their importance in addressing the planet’s carbon dioxide levels. The methodology here, though is interesting. The revelation of how much effort it would take to build enough carbon dioxide scrubbers in order to really make an impact on the planet’s carbon dioxide levels is eye-opening. It is sure to generate discussions about the usefulness (or lack thereof) of the devices. On yet another level, the pros of carbon neutral fuels versus their very high cost, which have been hotly debated among politicians and ecologists the world over for cars and planes, will come up among viewers here, too. Yet again, there is no bias one way or another in this topic’s discussion in the program, but supporters and opponents of the topic are sure to have their own discussions after watching this episode. This is another way in which the episode stands out. The pacing of all of the discussions overall puts the finishing touch to this presentation.
There are a lot of topics approached in NOVA: Can We Cool the Planet? Considering all of those topics, it would have been so easy for the program to get bogged down in itself. That is especially the case considering that the topics are handled in the standard run time of 53 minutes. That standard time for NOVA’s episodes does not leave a lot of time to cover each proposed and method of carbon reduction. Yet, the episode’s creative team makes the most of that time, allowing just enough discussion on each. The result is that audiences will never feel lost within the episode or left behind. That is a testament to the work put in to the episode’s creation. It paid off fully. Keeping that in mind, this aspect joins with the episode’s content and its resultant discussions, the program in whole proves to be another unforgettable and necessary episodes of NOVA. To that end, this episode becomes unquestionably one of this year’s top new documentaries.
NOVA: Can We Cool the Planet? is a wonderful companion piece to PBS’ previous climate change-based NOVA episode Decoding the Weather Machine. That is proven in large part through its central story. The story focuses on the myriad ways in which people and companies around the world are working to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere. The discussions that the presentation will definitely generate build on the foundation formed by the episode’s story. The episode’s pacing puts the final touch to the program, ensuring in its own way, viewers’ maintained engagement and entertainment. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of this episode of NOVA. All things considered, they make the episode a presentation that will make talks on climate change really “heat up.” NOVA: Can We Cool the Planet? is available now.
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