TV review – Australia: First Four Billion Years

This show actually aired a year ago on PBS, but I just found it on Amazon Prime recently.  It’s a NOVA miniseries, and it covers four billion years of Australia’s history in four episodes.  We just finished the fourth episode tonight and the consensus in our house was that it’s fantastic.  We will definitely be re-watching this one.

The series begins with the formation of the planet and continents, and ends with early human history.  This show has something for everyone to love – both the adults and the four-year-old were completely captivated.  This show has dinosaurs, geology, marine biology, you name it.  Seriously good science-y stuff.

The four episodes are titled “Awakening,” “Life Explodes, “Monsters,” and “Strange Creatures.”  I learned a lot watching each one.  My husband and I frequently found ourselves uttering things like “cool” and “I didn’t know that!” throughout each episode.

The show has great cinematography and really good CG that blend fairly seamlessly.  There are frequent transitions between showing a fossil and a live animation of what the creature or plant likely looked like.  They also do some neat shots where they show a now-dry lakebed or sea, and then a view of what it looked like when under water.

The only irritating thing was this recurring aside where they ‘drove’ through history, complete with cutting to host Richard Smith driving along a dirt road, and nausea-inducing spinning shots of the car to simulate moving through time to the next era.  Could definitely have done without that part.

If you or your kids are fans of geology, history, paleontology, biology, zoology, archaeology, all things Australia-related, or even something more obscure like paleoentomology, this show has something for you.  We really like nature and science shows in our house, and this one was the best we’ve seen since Planet Earth.  And Richard Smith’s voice is almost as captivating as David Attenborough’s.

If you have Amazon Prime it’s free on there, or you can watch on the PBS website here.  It’s also available on iTunes and DVD.

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Filed under Geek parenting resources, Movie & TV Reviews

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