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ARTHUR C CLARKE'S Mysterious Universe
Clarke and his team of highly respected scientific experts travel the globe seeking the truth behind mythical creatures, ancient legends and hair-raising rituals. Is it possible for the soul to leave the body for a glimpse of Heaven - or Hell? Are crop circles hard evidence of extra-terrestrials, hoaxes...or both? Is the "face" seen on new NASA photos of Mars a natural weather phenomenon or an indication that we are not alone?
The subject matter--such phenomena as near-death experiences, zombies, crop circles, alien abductions, and hauntings--is potentially fascinating, but the truth is that this lengthy documentary offers little more than hoaxes, hearsay, and hogwash provided by kooks, cranks, and quacks. Arthur C. Clarke, author of 2001: A Space Odyssey, hosts six segments, each roughly 25 minutes long, that purport to explain the seemingly unexplainable. But nothing is documented, let alone proved; "My son is a zombie!" is about as scientific as it gets (indeed, the program itself seems determined to debunk some of the more hoary legends). All of which would be fine if the programs were at least entertaining; heck, a reenactment here and there would have been preferable to watching Brits with bad teeth (it's a Yorkskire Television production) droning on about the astonishing things they swear they witnessed decades ago. Stick with The X-Files. --Sam Graham
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There are interviews with experts detailing the facts and that is the great thing about this documentary series- they tell the truth that other more fanciful television shows don't.
For example,they prove that a famous film of a "flying saucer" crossing the mountains is in fact a Cessna aircraft by taking the highlights from each frame and putting them together.
This Cessna film is still portrayed in the TV show "In Search Of" as a flying saucer despite it being proven to be an aircraft.
Arthur C Clarke's Mysterious Universe also has interviews with people that show how they created crop circles and how this myth of crop circles has spread.
Arthur C Clarke keeps an open mind but,unlike other shows,his show deals in real information and not the tall stories of other shows like "In Search Of" and "Unsolved Mysteries".
Those shows needed product to keep going season after season. Arthur C Clarke's show,being a short term series,didn't need to and told the truth. It deserves praise for that and is well worth buying.
If you want to watch garbage, just turn to any of your reality TV shows. If you want real science, this is a rare gem to enjoy.
MYSTERIOUS WORLD (1980)
WORLD OF STRANGE POWERS (1985)
MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSE (1994)
I bought all three in DVD.
STRANGE POWERS is difficult to find, but in AUSTRALIA they have all of them in DVD, so check AU stores.
I somewhat love these 'mysteries' series, and have watched some, from 'unexplained mysteries' to 'extreme mysteries' etc, but Clarke's series are by far the best.
First of all, they don't sensationalize items they are discussing (from fairies to the Mars canals to strange animals to voodoo to prior lives etc ) in the way most more recent series do, to the point you have an hard time parting fiction and SFX from truth.
In these series they only interview eye witnesses and experts and do so concisely (every segment runs about 10 minutes ); the approach is that of skepticism, but without the annoying attitude of Dawkins' broadcasts. Dawkins sounds like a bigot of science going after the bigots of paranormal etc; instead, Clarke's conclusions are mostly skeptical, but without appearing jaded.
Typically, they present a short 'pro' and 'con' segment.
Well, this series of Clarke-introduced programs begins with questions, also, but with a different impact. The questions become hypotheses which then are tested. The questions are raised, challenged and - although never entirely dismissed - their details sometimes are debunked or discredited. That's in keeping with the scientific bent of Sir Arthur, whose work I've admired for 40 years, and whose views I generally share (although I still think the jury is out about life on Mars!).
As far as TV production goes, this is all meant to be tantalizing and entertaining. But it's all several steps higher on the IQ ladder than the pandering programs that purport to "investigate" the paranormal but truly sell superstition to the masses. My only displeasure with this disc is that it is too short (despite 156 minutes), and offers little documentation in the "special features" area. I want more - but, as these were issued in 1995 and Sir Arthur is not as active as before, we're unlikely to see any more beyond this intriguing series.