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Genius of Britain DVD cover

 Genius of Britain

 

  Review by Suzanne 5/26/11

I wasn't sure if I would like this DVD because I normally don't like anything that's not fiction. However, it is a very good set. Mind-blowing, even, in a way. Two disks are about scientists in Britain throughout history who have changed the world. They start with scientists in the 17th century like Newton, who saw a comet, and that sparked their imaginations (basically, the beginning of science). They proceed through today. It is narrated by Stephen Hawking a bunch of other British scientists. They combine science and math with history and art to tell the story of these guys and their theories. This is hard to do because with the earlier scientists, they don't have photos, much less videos, just a few paintings and relics. Yet, they manage to keep it very interesting with drawings and the like.

I learned lots of things I didn't know about Britain and about science (which isn't saying much, I admit, since I was a liberal arts major!). It does focus mainly on British scientists, so don't expect to learn much about Einstein or anyone like him. I was, and am, really amazed at how they are able to talk about the science and give it a really human aspect and lay out the theories for us non-science types. I think it would be a really great DVD for anyone of any age, but especially kids.

The third disk is all about Stephen Hawking and his theories. I must admit that, while I found it interesting, it was really long, and quite a bit above my head. I don't like my brain to hurt when I watch TV :) So, unless you have a really keen interest in physics, or you're very smart, I would skip that one (or just watch part of it, until it gets to be too much).

Press Release info:

Following the critically-acclaimed release of Upstairs, Downstairs: 40th Anniversary Edition, Acorn Media's upcoming DVD release calendar features several highly entertaining British series previously unavailable to U.S. audiences, including Identity, a slick identity theft series with Upstairs, Downstairs revival star Keeley Hawes and The Wire's Aidan Gillen; and the inspiration for the star-studded American remake in development at ABC. Additionally, the U.S. debuts of the third season of Murdoch Mysteries (DVD and Blu-ray) - the critically-acclaimed Sherlock Holmes meets CSI series; The Feathered Serpent Complete Series, the cult classic set in ancient Mexico featuring Patrick Troughton (Doctor Who, The Omen); Circles of Deceit, riveting spy thrillers featuring Dennis Waterman (New Tricks) and guest stars Derek Jacobi, Corin Redgrave, John Hannah, and Leo McKern; and Genius of Britain: The Scientists Who Changed the World a new documentary featuring Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins, James Dyson, and David Attenborough discussing the legacies of their heroes.

Genius of Britain: The Scientists Who Changed the World (U.S. Debut) - Bringing the history of scientific progress in Britain to vivid life, this new documentary examines the inventions and innovations of Britain's brightest minds, featuring Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins, James Dyson, and David Attenborough discussing their heroes. Includes Bonus Program: Stephen Hawking and the Theory of Everything. Broadcast on the U.K's Channel 4 in May 2010 and available to U.S. audiences for the first time with its DVD release, this five-part series offers an enthralling look at the personalities behind some of the world's greatest discoveries - from the invention of the steam engine to the discovery of DNA. (5 episodes).  

On May 31st, documentary specialist Athena has the U.S. debut of Genius of Britain: The Scientists Who Changed the World, a "brilliant" new documentary examining the inventions and innovations of Britain's brightest minds, featuring Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins, James Dyson, and David Attenborough discussing their heroes. Available to U.S. audiences for the first time with its DVD release, this five-part series offers an enthralling look at the personalities behind some of the world's greatest discoveries - from the invention of the steam engine to the discovery of DNA. Additionally, Acorn Media is releasing the newest collection of the Canadian comedy classic The Red Green Show: The Midlife Crisis Years (Seasons 2000-2002) as well as the DVD debut of the 2002 Season in an individual season set. Please see the press releases below.

New documentary examines the inventions and innovations of Britain's brightest minds; Featuring Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins, James Dyson, and David Attenborough; Includes Bonus Program: Stephen Hawking and the Theory of Everything

GENIUS OF BRITAIN: THE SCIENTISTS WHO CHANGED THE WORLD Debuts on DVD from Athena May 31, 2011

"Utterly splendid" -The Observer
"Brilliant" -The Times
"Full of fascinating detail" -The Independent
"Intelligent but accessible" -The Guardian

Silver Spring, MD - Bringing the history of scientific progress in Britain to vivid life, Genius of Britain: The Scientists Who Changed the World debuts on DVD from Athena on May 31, 2011. Presented by an array of distinguished thinkers and broadcast on the U.K's Channel 4 in May 2010 and available to U.S. audiences for the first time with its DVD release, this five-part series offers an enthralling look at the personalities behind some of the world's greatest discoveries - from the invention of the steam engine to the discovery of DNA. The DVD 3-vol. boxed set features appearances by leading contemporary figures including Stephen Hawking, David Attenborough, Richard Dawkins and James Dyson, and includes a full-length bonus program: Stephen Hawking and the Theory of Everything (90 min.), and much more (5 episodes, $59.99, www.AthenaLearning.com).

Charismatic men of action and reclusive eccentrics. Eureka moments and serendipitous strokes of luck. Discoveries born of crisis and insatiable curiosity. The history of scientific progress in Britain offers an astonishing breadth of personalities and has had an awe-inspiring effect on civilization.

Each episode in this five-part series brings an era of scientific thought to vivid life, with modern-day geniuses examining the legacies of their heroes. Stephen Hawking takes on Isaac Newton, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins discusses Alfred Russel Wallace, acclaimed naturalist David Attenborough profiles Joseph Banks, and many more. Also in the mix: industrial designer James Dyson, Nobel Prize-winning geneticist Paul Nurse, and others.

Along the way, learn intriguing facts about famous scientists and discover unheralded people whose revelations have changed the way we live today, paving the path for everything from the steam engine to current thinking about the atom and evolution.

Episodes: The First Five, A Roomful of Brilliant Minds, The Lights Come On, Out of the Darkness , and Asking Big Questions

BONUS FEATURES:

* Bonus disc, Stephen Hawking and the Theory of Everything (90 min.), about the search for an explanation of the universe (*Released as DVD Single by Acorn Media in March 2009 at $24.99.) * 12-page viewer's guide with articles on myths and science, lesser-known geniuses, the Royal Society, the steady state theory, and a gallery of evolutionary specimens

* Biographies of the presenters, plus a timeline of British scientific advances, article on Rosalind Franklin, and more at AthenaLearning.com

Street Date: May 31, 2011 SRP: $59.99

DVD 3-Vol. Boxed Set - 5 Episodes - Approx. 236 minutes - SDH Subtitles

Athena releases provide an authoritative and entertaining learning experience through high quality, informative, non-fiction programming. Athena's releases include Joseph Campbell and The Power of Myth, Cosmos-A Beginners Guide, The Genius of Design, Discovering Hamlet, Playing Shakespeare, The Story of Math, World War I in Color, and acclaimed programs from Bill Moyers and Mike Wallace. Clips are available at http://www.athenalearning.com . Athena's DVD sets are available from select retailers, catalog companies, and direct from Acorn at (888) 870-8047 or http://www.acornonline.com

"Rustic and rusty, north-of-the-border deadpan zaniness" -Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

"Merry mix of slapstick, one-liners, and wacky situations" -Toronto Star

"A hip cult classic" -The Detroit Free Press

"A bona fide made-in-Canada classic with universal comic appeal" - The Globe and Mail


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Updated 5/26/11  

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