New to Blu: February 2-8 (TV)

Documentaries, from the hardcore to the hardcase, characterise this week’s TV-on-Blu-ray slate.

There are two from the Top Gear crew, Apocalypse and Clarkson: The Italian Job, and three History Channel series that languish in SD on Sky TV.

The pick of the latter, America: The Story of the US, chronicles the evolution of the superpower over 12 hours with a mix of interviews and dramatic re-enactments.

Critics didn’t rave about the 1080p transfer but thought it looked “pretty good” (DVD Talk) “if not overwhelming” ( and “certainly superior to HD broadcasts of the show, but it is not spectacular HD by a long shot” (

They also found Life After People: Season 2’s transfer “acceptable, if far from stellar” ( and “relatively soft overall with little noticeable fine detail or definition … a sub-standard Blu-ray edition of an otherwise engaging production” (DVD Verdict).

The latter was kinder about another History Channel series, The Universe: Season 3: “A sensory delight from beginning to end. The colour is vibrant and punchy, blacks (of which there are many in a space presentation like this!) are deep and inky and contrast is sharp, as you’d expect from a recent hi-def presentation.”

Concurred “A decent 1080i/AVC-encoded transfer that handles the series’ scattershot video sources and budgetary constraints in stride.

“Its vibrant palette comes alive in high definition, flooding the screen with blazing suns bent on their galaxies’ destruction, vivid waterworlds teeming with life, and inky expanses that extend beyond the series’ star-soaked space.”

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