NOVA: The Planets

Season 1
 (576)
9.12019TV-PG
From the rocky inner worlds to the gas giants, every planet of our solar system has a fascinating story. Their extreme features give us clues to how the solar system formed—and what hope there may be for life on other worlds.
Starring
Zachary Quinto
Genres
Documentary
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
EnglishEnglish [Audio Description]

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  1. 1. Inner Worlds
    March 2 1974
    53min
    TV-PG
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English, English [Audio Description]
    The rocky planets were born of similar material around the same time. Yet only one of them supports life. Were Earth's neighbors always so extreme and is there somewhere else in the solar system life might flourish?
  2. 2. Mars
    July 23 2019
    53min
    TV-G
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English, English [Audio Description]
    Mars was once a blue water-world with active volcanoes. But when its magnetic field and protective atmosphere faded, it became the frozen desert planet we know today. With so many necessary elements in place, did life ever form on Mars?
  3. 3. Jupiter
    July 30 2019
    52min
    TV-G
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English, English [Audio Description]
    Jupiter’s gravitational force made it a wrecking ball when it barreled through the early solar system. But it also shaped life on Earth, delivering comets laden with water—and perhaps even the fateful asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs.
  4. 4. Saturn
    August 6 2019
    53min
    TV-G
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English, English [Audio Description]
    NASA’s Cassini explores Saturn for 13 years, looping through its icy rings and its moons. The probe captures stunning ring-moon interactions, but when it finds the ingredients for life on the moon Enceladus, a bittersweet decision is made.
  5. 5. Ice Worlds
    August 13 2019
    52min
    TV-G
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English, English [Audio Description]
    In the far reaches of the solar system, Uranus and Neptune dazzle with unexpected rings, supersonic winds, and dozens of moons. And NASA’s New Horizons gets a stunning up-close view of Pluto before venturing deep into the Kuiper Belt.

More details

Directors
Martin JohnsonStephen CooterNic Stacey
Producers
Martin JohnsonStephen CooterNic StaceyZoe HeronGideon BradshawPaula S. ApsellJulia CortChris SchmidtAndrew CohenMelanie Wallace
Season year
2019
Network
PBS
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

576 global ratings

  1. 90% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 6% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 2% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

DeanReviewed in the United States on January 25, 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
Simulations So Real it's hard to tell actual camera images from artistic images
Simulations are so realistic today that it is sometimes hard for me, with 40 yrs of space experience, to tell which are real videos versus artistic license. The general public will be greatly misled. They should have added a caption at the bottom to identify which scenes are "Simulations" or "Artist Renditions" vs "Cassini Photographs" vs "Juno Photographs", etc. Even in the 1960s, Walter Cronkite had captions on Apollo missions to the moon that would say "Simulations" even though it was obvious to most viewers which were actual TV videos vs simulations.

And I would agree that there was way too much speculation about the conditions on the planets billions of years ago. It should be made clear that much of this is a few persons theory of planet evolution rather than having it come across as factual. It is unlikely that Jupiter has much influence on protecting us from impacts - very low probability. Oceans of water on Venus in early history?

Venus is most likely hot not just because of greenhouse gases, as suggested by Carl Sagan in the 1960s, but because the surface itself is hot, and volcanic gas clouds in the atmosphere prevent heat from escaping from the surface (much like a cloud layer on Earth at night prevents nights from getting too cold). CO2 absorption actually saturates the 14-16 micron, 4.3 micron and 2.7 micron absorption bands at low concentrations, and remains transparent at most other wavelengths. And its hot surface temperature cannot be due to being closer to the sun, as the volcanic clouds reflect most of the sunlight making Venus the brightest object in the sky next to the sun, and absorbing less sunlight than does the Earth. It's hot surface temperature is most likely due to a hotter interior and volcanic activity that dominates heating of its atmosphere, with its volcanic clouds greatly reducing heat escape to space.
45 people found this helpful
Gabriel ScottReviewed in the United States on August 3, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
so interesting and informational
Verified purchase
The first few episodes are a bit slower to get started, but stick with it. The people are so interested in what they do that you cannot help but to become interested yourself. I bought this AFTER watching the whole season because I know I will watch it many times in the future.
9 people found this helpful
Amanda TReviewed in the United States on February 12, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
The BEST miniseries from NOVA yet!
Verified purchase
To be perfectly honest.... I think I have watched this miniseries from NOVA about 15x. I found it when it was free to prime members... loved it so much I bought it in hopes that would show viewership intrest and hopefully encourage more shows just like it in the future. From the intro music, the graphics, the interviews from the scientists and EVERYTHING.... this show is so well done I cant beg enough and hope enough that more will be made just like it sometime soon. I have donated, subscribed to the PBS channel on prime and purchased the series. If I had a bunch of money, I would certainly donate more if I could to promote the same director, cast and crew to make more of this show.

I hope someone from PBS sees this... and to anyone that loves science and learning about space- you MUST check this out! I personally feel that it was better than How the Universe Works, etc.
2 people found this helpful
Luis CoustasseReviewed in the United States on April 10, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Want to know the planet that crush and melt diamonds?
Verified purchase
Pretty interesting new details and info that we didn't know. If you would like to know more about the wonders of the solar system that you live and be amazed to find out where the diamonds get crush and melt, then I will recommend you this show.
One person found this helpful
Stacedat1Reviewed in the United States on February 23, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Best solar system documentaries EVER!
Verified purchase
This is a very up to date documentary of the planets In out solar system. It is narrated expertly and interestingly and I loved it so much I had to get the series. It has beautiful pictures and video of the actual planets and stories behind how they and we formed in this galaxy. It's really a great documentary series and you will love it too!
One person found this helpful
JeffReviewed in the United States on August 3, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known”
Verified purchase
A simply amazing series. From the knowledge that you will acquire, to the mesmerizing visuals that at times will leave you speechless, this should be required viewing. It’s almost hard to tell what is computer generated from what is actual video from a telescope/satellite. One of, if not the best documentaries we have on our neighbor planets, where we came from and where our future is headed.
3 people found this helpful
ChAnce24Reviewed in the United States on November 6, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Very good quality documentary
Verified purchase
5 total episodes each about 52-56 minutes. Very well put together series about the formation of our solar system. Goes into detail on how each planet formed and how they migrated to their current positions of today. 9.5 out of 10 for me. The only knock is that I was hoping for the British version with Professor Brian Cox but Zachary Quinto was very suitable.
RocketeerReviewed in the United States on January 5, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Really enjoyed this
Verified purchase
Very informative, with a lot of information on the various space probes sent out to check out the various planets.
2 people found this helpful
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