‘NOVA: The Impossible Flight’ Is A “Soaring” Success

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

Nothing in life is impossible.  Nothing.  The Wright Brothers proved that true on December 17, 1903 when the brothers from Ohio launched the first powered airplane.  Charles Lindbergh proved it true again when, in May 1927, he completed the first solo nonstop transatlantic flight.  When Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in 1947, he proved it once again, and in 1969 when Neil Armstrong became the first man on the moon, he also proved that statement true.  The stories go on and on from there, from the maiden flight of the Concord and more.  The Solar Impulse became just the latest story to prove nothing is impossible when it completed the first round-the-world flight powered only by solar power in March 2016. Thanks to PBS, the story of that grand journey has finally been told in the form of NOVA: The Impossible Flight.  Originally aired on January 31, 2018 and released April 10, 2018, this two-hour human drama is just as good as any blockbuster that Hollywood’s “Big Six” could ever turn out.  As a matter of fact, one hopes that no one at the “Big Six” will ever try to tarnish the legacy of this flight with some unnecessary overly embellished re-telling.  Getting back on track, this story is one that any and every aviation enthusiast and history lover must see.  Period.  That is due obviously first and foremost to the story at the center of this episode of NOVA.  It will be discussed shortly.  In direct relation, the story’s pacing is just as pivotal to the program’s presentation.  It will be discussed later.  The cinematography rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is obviously important in itself to the program’s whole.  All things considered, NOVA: The Impossible Flight could *ahem* possibly be the best documentary to be released so far this year if not one of the year’s best.

PBS’ new powerful aviation documentary NOVA: The Impossible Flight is “possibly” the best of this year’s new documentaries at the most and definitely one of the year’s best at the very least. That is due in part to its story, which is such a gripping human drama.  The story at the center of this two-hour follows the flight of the Solar Impulse and everyone working to make the dream come true.  The global journey was anything but perfect, too.  From constant false alarms keeping the plane’s pilots – Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard (whose grandfather apparently was the inspiration for the one and only Capt. Jean Luc Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation) – awake, to differences among the ground crew at a critical juncture to weather causing setbacks and more, the flight had plenty of ups and downs.  It is those constant ups and downs that insure viewers’ maintained engagement.  That is because they create the same kind and level of human drama that one might get, again, from any major Hollywood blockbuster based on actual events and overloaded with unnecessary embellishments.  Luckily none of those unnecessary embellishments are included here.  Instead, the story told here is exactly what happened, again making it engaging in itself.  In other words, it’s a drama that could and did happen, giving audiences plenty of reason to watch.  It is just one of the elements that makes this doc so worth seeing.  Its pacing, in direct connection, does just as much to make it worth the watch.

Considering everything that happens over the course of The Impossible Flight’s story, one of the main concerns that would rise in any viewer’s mind is the story’s pacing.  That’s because of how easy it would be for the story to get bogged down in itself.  Luckily that didn’t happen here.  From the moment the plane launched from Abu Dhabi in 2015 to the moment that it touched back down in March 2016, the story’s pacing is solid throughout.  Even in the moments when the plane is on the ground, itself and its pilots resting up from the current and preparing for the next leg, there is just enough drama to keep the story moving.  At the same time it isn’t so much that the story gets bogged down in itself.  Those long hours and days that Piccard and Borschberg spend piloting Solar Impulse present their own interest keeping the story moving just as much.  That is because those moments take viewers back and forth between the plane’s cockpit and ground control, where a multi-member team of engineers and meteorologists, keeps track of weather patterns, the pilots and the plane all at the same time.  Between those moments, the moments in the plane and the hours between each leg, the story keeps itself moving solidly, never going too slow or leaving viewers behind.  Keeping that in mind, it should be clear why the movie’s pacing is so important to its presentation.  It never moves too slow or too fast at any given point, and that’s even keeping in mind all that happens throughout.  Having noted this, the story’s pacing is clearly important in its own right to the doc.  It still is not the last of the movie’s most important elements.  Its cinematography is also important to discuss.

The cinematography presented throughout this program is a purely aesthetic element, but it adds so much to the overall experience.  Audiences will be in awe as other pilots circle the Solar Impulse along the way.  The wide shots do so much to illustrate just how small the plane is in comparison to its surroundings, making for their own impact.  The aerial shots captured from cameras attached to Solar Impulse’s wings are just as powerful, as are the cockpit shots, which fully illustrate how tight the confines were for the pilots.  Those shots add even more to the story’s emotional impact.  In the same breath, those moments with Piccard sticks his arm out of the cockpit to capture “selfies” with one of those so-called “selfie-sticks” are dizzying.  Oddly enough, that dizzying nature of those shots are powerful in their own right, too.  Even moments like then Piccard’s wife reaches out to greet him at the voyage’s end and when locals around the world greet the plane at its landing offer their own power.  Between all of these moments and so many others, the cinematography presented throughout the program offers just as much to appreciate here just as much as the story itself and its pacing.  When all three elements are joined together, they make The Impossible Flight a program that not only proves nothing is impossible, but in turn, becomes possibly the year’s best new documentary feature.  It is just as good, if not better, than anything that Hollywood’s “Big Six” could ever turn out.  It is that powerfully engaging and entertaining.

PBS’ NOVA: The Impossible Flight is one of this year’s best new documentary features if not one of the year’s best.  Yes, that order was intentional.  It is that powerful of a presentation.  That is due in part to the story at the center of the program.  It is a story that is just as good as any major Hollywood blockbuster drama that has ever been crafted, based on actual events.  Thankfully Hollywood hasn’t come for this one yet, and hopefully won’t for the foreseeable future.  Getting back on track, the story’s pacing plays just as much of a part in the doc’s presentation as the story.  It does just as much to keep viewers engaged as the story itself.  That’s because it never moves too fast or slow at any one point.  The cinematography puts the finishing touch on the doc’s presentation.  That’s because it is just as enthralling as the story itself.  Each element is obviously important in its own right to the whole of NOVA: The Impossible Flight.  All things considered, they make this documentary one of the best that PBS has put out and more proof of why PBS remains today, the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television.  It is “possibly” the year’s best new documentary feature, and it is available now.  More information on this and other episode of NOVA is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NOVApbs

Twitter: http://twitter.com/novapbs

 

 

 

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‘NOVA: Killer Volcanoes’ Is A “Hotly” Entertaining And Engaging Watch

Courtesy: Public Media Distribution/PBS

Volcanoes are among Earth’s most stunning and awe-inspiring geographical features. From giving birth to new islands to their ability to disrupt and even destroy life around the world, it’s no wonder that they have been the subject of so many documentaries and major Hollywood blockbusters. Luckily, those blockbusters, which are largely fictitious, have flopped while the docs have been far more successful. This past December, PBS released what was at the time just the latest in that long flow (yes, that awful pun was intended) of volcano docs on DVD in the form of NOVA: Killer Volcanoes. Originally having aired Oct. 4, 2017, this roughly hour-long program is an interesting look at what is just one of history’s most cataclysmic eruptions. It is a story that is certain to engage and entertain audiences just as much as those flash-in-the-pan big screen flicks without worrying about being forgotten. This will be discussed shortly. Considering that the program focuses on just one volcano in particular, its title is of course, a little problematic. Even as problematic as it is, it is not enough to make the program unwatchable. It’s just something of an annoyance that was obviously overlooked. It will be discussed later. Staying on the matter of the program’s aesthetic elements, its cinematography and editing give audiences just as much reason to watch as the story itself. They will be discussed later, too. Each element noted here is important in its own way to the whole of NOVA: Killer Volcanoes. All things considered, this episode, while perhaps somewhat reminiscent of previous, similar programs from PBS, still is its own “hotly” (yes, that pun was intended, too) entertaining and engaging program.

NOVA: Killer Volcanoes is an interesting new addition to PBS’ rich history of programs centered on what is easily one of Earth’s most stunning and awe-inspiring geographical features. While not the first doc of its kind from PBS, the story at the center of this episode of NOVA is an original, giving audiences plenty of reason in itself to watch this doc. The story follows a group of researchers as they try to find the volcano (or volcanoes) responsible for a cataclysmic event that happened in the 13th Century. It was an event that impacted life around the world, even causing countless deaths because of its impact on global weather patterns. The lengths to which the researchers go — including traveling to a far-flung corner of the world — and the research and efforts undertaken in that process, coupled with the mystery at the heart of the story makes this overall story one that is just as engaging as any major Hollywood disaster flick, if not better. That is a telling statement, showing once more the value of PBS’ programming. It is programming that easily holds its own against so much mainstream material, and stands the test of time at that. Keeping this in mind, it becomes clear why the story at the center of NOVA: Killer Volcanoes is so important to its whole. While the program’s story overall forms a solid foundation for its presentation, it’s a story that doesn’t entirely match up with the program’s title.

The title of this episode of NOVA is Killer Volcanoes. However, the focus of the whole program is the search for just one killer volcano. Given, the whole search starts by trying to figure out which of the world’s many volcanoes was the one responsible for the cataclysm at the heart of the story, but once the specific location of the volcano is pinpointed ,the search turns to one volcano in particular. Not to give away too much, but the volcano in question doesn’t even exist today. The surprise in that revelation is another key piece of the story. Getting back to the issue of the title, very fact that roughly 90 percent of the story is spent focusing on the Indonesian volcano in question, the program’s title really does not fit here. In defense of the program’s creative heads, maybe the thinking was to point out that killer volcanoes could be anywhere in the world. Even with that in mind though, the program should have focused more on the other, more briefly noted, cataclysmic eruptions. That being the case, either re-naming the episode or simply titling it Killer Volcano instead of Killer Volcanoes would have been more fitting in the case of this episode of NOVA. Having discussed all of this, the title of Killer Volcanoes does take some points away from the episode, it is hardly enough to make the program unwatchable. It’s just something that really should be taken into account with future episodes of NOVA (and even with PBS’ other programs). The collective cinematography and editing exhibited throughout the program do just as much as the program’s story to keep audiences engaged and entertained.

From start to end of this episode of NOVA, audiences are treated to so many sweeping shots of the Indonesian islands and their volcanoes. The visuals of the tropical landscapes and the volcanoes that gave rose to the islands is in itself more than enough reason to watch. Viewers will be amazed by the wide aerial footage (and related editing of that footage) of the crater left by the suspect volcano. The work put in by the camera crews and editors is certain to leave viewers in awe. The timing of each stunning shot is a tribute to the effort put in by those responsible for the program’s editors. Just enough time is spent in each shot to keep viewers engaged. One could even argue that something as simple as the timing of the skeleton footage in companion to the footage of the volcanoes early on has its own impact, too. Between moments such as those noted here and so many others, the overall cinematography and editing proves itself to be just as critical to this program’s presentation as the program’s central story. When those elements — the story, cinematography and editing — combine into one, they prove NOVA: Killer Volcanoes to be its own “hotly” entertaining and engaging doc.

NOVA: Killer Volcanoes is a “hotly” entertaining and engaging and engaging program that will easily appeal to any lover of the earth sciences. That is the case even with the program bearing a title that doesn’t exactly fully fit the episode. That is thanks in no small part to a story that is just as gripping as any major Hollywood disaster flick. The collective cinematography and editing exhibited throughout the program does just as much to keep viewers engaged and entertained as the story itself. Each element is important in its own way to the whole of this program’s presentation, as has been explained here. All things considered, they are certain to keep viewers completely engaged and entertained throughout the roughly hour-long program. Keeping this in mind, this episode of NOVA is sure to appeal to every student and lover of the earth sciences. it is available now and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store. More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available online now at:

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NOVApbs

Twitter: http://twitter.com/novapbs

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

PBS Presents One Of Aviation History’s Most Important Moments In New ‘NOVA’ Episode

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

PBS and Public Media Distribution are taking audiences on an epic journey next month with the release of another new episode of NOVA.

NOVAThe Impossible Flight will be released on DVD April 10. Having originally premiered on PBS Jan. 31, 2018, this episode follows the journey of the Solar Impulse II as it made its round-the-world journey, using only the power of the sun to keep it going.  The plane’s March 2015 journey was the culmination of a 13-year project meant to show the potential for renewable energy sources.

The two-hour program will retail for MSRP of $24.99, but can be pre-ordered no at a reduced price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store.  Audiences can see the episode’s trailer now here.

More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NOVApbs

Twitter: http://twitter.com/novapbs

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘NOVA: Secrets Of The Shining Knight’ Will Certainly Shine For Its Target Audiences

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

The knight is a popular mascot for athletic teams today. From Las vegas’ new National Hockey League team to so many college athletic teams to even high school and below, knights are used nationwide (and probably worldwide) as mascots. While they may call themselves knights, the teams that used the knight as their mascot are a far cry from real-life knights. One of the key elements that sets those teams apart from their real-life counterparts is their armor. Today’s “knights” use pads and other items to protect themselves from their opponents. Real-life knights used metal to protect themselves in life-threatening battle. Just last month, PBS and PBS Distribution released a new episode of its hit science-based series NOVA examining the knight’s armor in a new program called NOVA: Secrets of the Shining Knight. The roughly hour-long program is an interesting look at the protections used by real-life knights, and will appeal to military history buffs just as much as it will to history buffs in general. That is due in part to the program’s very topic, which will be discussed shortly. The program’s very presentation adds to its presentation. The information shared throughout the program rounds out its most important elements. It will be discussed later, too. Each element noted here plays its own important part in the program’s whole. All things considered, they make NOVA: Secrets of the Shining Knight a shining new program that history buffs and military history buffs alike will appreciate.

NOVA: Secrets of the Shining Knight is an interesting new offering from PBS’ long-running hit science-based series. That is due in part to its topic. The topic — that of the armor that protected real-life knights — is very directed and focused. Considering the program’s title, one would think that the program would, in fact, center on knights in general (their armor, weaponry and even their steeds and perhaps even their lives in general), not just their armor. Even with that in mind, focusing on knights’ armor and what made it so critical to their everyday life, is a topic that is interesting in its own right. It just would have been nice to have had a discussion on their weaponry since the progam’s central focus was knights’ armor. That aside, the discussion on the knights’ armor is still engaging in its own right and makes this doc worth at least one watch. The program’s presentation plays its own important part in making it worth at least one watch.

The presentation of NOVA: Secrets of the Shining Knight makes it worth at least one watch because it doesn’t just present the facts. Rather, it shows the process of how knights’ armor was made all the while explaining that the secrets of how it was made were not written down. That is a matter that will be discussed later. In a fashion similar to that of Mythbusters, the armor is even put to the test to see what it can withstand. There is even a segment in the program that shows how the intricate designs were laid into the armor. Hint: it involved a certain type of acid and some very time intensive work. Audiences will be intrigued to watch that process just as much as the tests to see how strong a knight’s armor truly was and is. Between those tests and the process of creating the armor, this program offers audiences plenty to watch. The information that is shared throughout the course of those segments gives audiences even more to appreciate.

The information that is shared throughout the course of NOVA: Secrets of the Shining Knight strengthens even more, the foundation formed by its presentation and its topic because so much of it is such a surprise. Early on in its run, narrator Jay O. Sanders reveals that trying to recreate knights’ armor of any kind is so difficult because the people who made the armor originally did not write down how they went about making the gear. That was, as Sanders states, because they wanted to keep what they did trade secrets. As a result, it was passed down orally from the master to student. It shows that those craftsmen treated their jobs with the utmost seriousness. It’s the kind of mentality that today’s harshest business people would appreciate. Another interesting piece of information that Sanders reveals is that armor was specifically fitted to its owner, including nobility and not just knights. Not only that, but it was apparently made in the same fashion as the day’s fashion. Between these facts and so many others shared over the course of the program’s roughly hour-long run time, audiences get plenty of reason to remain engaged in the program. When this is considered along with the value of the program’s very presentation and its topic, the whole of the elements makes the program overall one that is certain to shine for history buffs and military history buffs alike.

NOVA: Secrets of the Shining Knight is a program that is certain to shine for history buffs and military history buffs alike. That, as has already been noted, is due in part to the program’s central topic — that of knights’ armor. It focuses solely on their armor and no other aspect of the knight. While this sadly does leave audiences wanting a bit more, the clear focus on the singular topic is good in its own right. The program’s almost Mythbusters style approach is certain to insure even more audiences’ engagement and entertainment. The information that is shared throughout the program puts the finishing touch to its presentation. Each element is important in its own right. All things considered, it will be no secret that this program will definitely appeal to its target audiences. it is available now and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store. More information on this and other episods of NOVA is available online now at:

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NOVApbs

Twitter: http://twitter.com/novapbs

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

PBS Asks Are There “Killer Volcanoes” Around The World Today In New ‘NOVA’ Episode

Courtesy: Public Media Distribution/PBS

With the recent news of a volcano in Bali threatening the nation, a lot of talk has come about the impact that volcanoes have not only locally and regionally, but worldwide. Next month, Public Media Distribution will release a new episode of NOVA that examines the global impact of volcanoes in the form of NOVA: Killer Volcanoes.

NOVA: Killer Volcanoes will be released Tuesday, Dec. 19 the hour-long episode follows a group of researchers as they search for a “mega-eruption” believed to have turned the world deadly cold. The discovery of a mass grave in London containing some 4,000 men, women and children is where the story starts. Initially, the researchers think the remains were of plague victims, but further research disproved that theory.

The researchers’ investigation leads to the revelation that their deaths may have in fact been related to global impacts of an unidentified volcano’s “mega-eruption” within the time frame of their deaths. Their digging (both literal and figurative) led them to find that the eruption blew ash and sulfuric acid into the air, which then spread from Greenland to the Antarctic, turning much of the planet cold and leading to death around the globe from famine and other related causes.

NOVA: Killer Volcanoes is a timely program considering the potentially impending eruption in Bali and the constant watch at one of America’s most well-known parks and at volcanoes around the world. It will retail for MSRP of $24.99, but can be pre-ordered online now at a reduced price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store. More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available online now at:

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NOVApbs

Twitter: http://twitter.com/novapbs

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

PBS Examines The Knight’s Armor In A New Military-Centric Episode Of ‘NOVA’

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution/WGBH

PBS next month will take viewers back to medieval times with a new episode of NOVA on DVD.

NOVA: Secrets of the Shining Knight will be released Tuesday, Dec. 19. The hourlong program examines the importance of knights’ armor in battle. It does this through examination of the armor’s creation, its strength, and ability to withstand attacks from various weapons.

Not only does it examine all of the noted items, but even takes audiences into a workshop as a pair of blacksmith’s try to recreate armor originally crafted in the ROyal Workshop of King Henry VIII. Once the armor is finished, it is tested to see just how strong knights’ armor really was.

NOVA: Secrets of the Shining Knight will retail for MSRP of $24.99, but can be pre-ordered online now at a reduced price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store. More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available online now at:

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NOVApbs

Twitter: http://twitter.com/novapbs

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

PBS Taking Viewers Back To Stonehenge Next Month

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution/WGBH

PBS is taking audiences back to Stonehenge this winter.

Public media Distribution will release a new episode of PBS’ hit series NOVA on Tuesday, Dec. 19 focused on the site titled NOVA: Ghosts of Stonehenge. It will come almost a year after the network released Secrets of the Dead: After Stonehenge on DVD.

This latest look into the ancient site follows archaeologists as they examine bones, remnants of meals and other material in an attempt to figure out the exact purpose of Stonehenge.It also attempts to explain, through its discussions, what led to the site’s downfall not long after it was established.

The one-hour program will retail for MSRP of $24.99, but can be pre-ordered now at a reduced price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store. More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available online now at:

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NOVApbs

Twitter: http://twitter.com/novapbs

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.