Plot: What’s it about?
Some of the most powerful historical moments involve war, from struggles for freedom to a desperate stand against incredible odds. The tales of brilliant strategists, courageous warriors, and innovative weapons captivate us even now, with figures like Alexander the Great, Attila the Hun, and Genghis Khan among history’s most remembered figures. War and Civilization is an eight part series from The Learning Channel, in which the history of warfare is explored in depth. The series focuses on how war has evolved, from rather basic man to man combat to complex, long distance battles. The Romans, the Greeks, the American Revolution, The Civil War, World War II, and even The Cold War are examined. As host Walter Cronkite guides us through history’s greatest conflicts, we learn how the wars unfolded, as well as why.
I love to watch programs about ancient civilizations, especially the Romans, so The History Channel, The Discovery Channel, A&E, and The Learning Channel are frequent stops on my television schedule. I had heard about War and Civilization, but never managed to catch it on television. So I looked forward to this release, as it seemed to cover a lot of ground, from ancient times until the present. I am glad I was able to watch this series, as War and Civilization is an excellent series, loaded with insight and a style that keeps your attention. All too often we hear of dull documentaries, but this series is well packaged and is never dull, instead it informs in a way that also entertains. I enjoyed the episodes on the earlier conflicts more than the ones about more recent topics, but all are well made and informative. If you’re a history buff and have an interest in war related topics, then War and Civilization is must see, with over three thousand years of warfare covered.
Video: How does it look?
The episodes are presented in 1.66:1 non anamorphic widescreen. I do wish this was anamorphic, to refine the visuals a little more, but the episodes look fine. I did see frequent jagged edges, but detail is reasonable and the image is passable. The visuals are on par with television broadcast, so not great, but decent enough. I found colors to be well presented and contrast is accurate, so no issues in those areas. So again, I would have liked anamorphic enhancement, but the series still looks acceptable.
Audio: How does it sound?
I’d have to say this sounds just like it does when broadcast, but that isn’t bad at all. The audio is clear and error free, but don’t expect much in terms of depth or presence. This is a documentary series, so the focus is on dialogue, whether via narration or interviews. The vocals are crystal clear too, so no insights are lost due to harshness or distortion. The rest of the sound effects are fine too, but as I said, this is a rather reserved soundtrack, as per the material.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release includes no bonus materials.