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DVD Review: Oceans

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Oceans is the entire eight-part series of programs focusing on a variety of bodies of water produced by BBC and shown on television in April. The DVD release comprises three discs; each episode centers on a particular body or area of water. Disc One focuses on “Sea of Cortez,” “Southern Ocean,” and “Red Sea”; Disc Two features “Atlantic Ocean,” “Indian Ocean,” and “Indian Ocean: Coastal Waters”; and “Mediterranean Sea” and “Arctic Ocean” make up disc three.

Viewers are invited on an expedition, led by Paul Rose, with maritime archaeologist Dr. Lucy Blue, marine biologist Tooni Mahto, and environmentalist Philippe Cousteau, Jr. (Jacques Cousteau’s grandson). Fifty locations are visited, and they represent environmental extremes. Details of the expedition are intriguing, and part of the fun of Oceans is witnessing the joy of these experts as they make their discoveries or experience things for the first time.

Since two-thirds of our planet is covered in water, oceans contain “more than 99% of the living space on Earth,” and most of us will not have the opportunity to explore the depths, Oceans is able to provide us with an intimate look at a largely unknown world.

In addition to being able to see the beginning of an ocean’s formation (the Red Sea, which is technically an ocean), viewers will visit shipwrecks and meet incredible creatures. One of the more noteworthy revelations is where and how oxygen originated, and continues to be manufactured.

In evaluating the damage man has done to ocean environments, Philippe Cousteau investigates problems caused by such actions as the introduction of non-native fish to various waters. In an underwater cave, Lucy Blue finds skeletal evidence of an early civilization. She shares historical and cultural tidbits about her discoveries.

One of the great values of Oceans is its explanations of the mechanics of things with which we may be vaguely familiar. How oceans are made, how they affect the weather, sea life, and the effects of currents are among the diverse topics explored throughout Oceans’ 470 minutes.

The crew that guides us through this ocean voyage is engaging, largely because of their enthusiasm and dedication. They teach us how oceans impact our lives and their influence on our history.

Oceans is a BBC/Discovery Channel co-production. There are no extra features included on the discs.

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