Somewhere between Spike TV and the Discovery Channel lies the History Channel’s take on nature programs. Underwater Universe is the collision of sensationalist and informative television. 5 episodes profiling the deadliest attributes of the Oceans, all told with melodramatic statements, fast editing but still plenty of experts offering scientific analyses to the “hows” and “whys” of what each episode is featuring.
Each episode is a compilation of CGI recreations, interviews with experts and those that have encountered deadly animals or elements, and stock footage of those same animals and elements at work. The subjects (and episode titles) are “Killer Shockwaves,” “Predators of the Deep,” “Fatal Pressure,” “Tides and Currents of Death.”
The narrator has the sort of boom to his voice that one might anticipate from an action movie trailer. Said narrator plus the over-the-top comparisons (such as the grip of an animal compared to the force of boulder collapsing on your body) make this appear less eloquent than something that BBC or Disney produces. Thankfully, some practical demonstrations are offered by scientists, plus some speeches from other experts that manage to be more than just a series of shocking sound bites.
Fullscreen. The picture varies some considering some of the clips are less new and studio made than others, but all maintain their integrity. A decent delivery for a television show.
Dolby Digital Stereo. A good sign for this soundtrack was it fooled me into thinking it was Surround when it isn’t. I found myself listening to the rear speakers for evidence during certain moments when the music became very full bodied. The voices never get lost in any music, though it should be noted that the powerful score is ever-present and does not necessary sink into the background as much as it should at points.
Underwater Universe: An original, feature-length special that seems to be a large scale launching point for the series. Delivered with the same narration, graphics style and mixture of interviews and clips, this film covers a lot of information about the natural dangers from the sea, such as tides and tsunamis.
This is an entertaining show that provides some interesting information about the oceans. The facts are made to be as epic and immense as the sea itself, but without getting overly corny while doing so.