From the Earth to the Moon

This four-disc boxed set of Tom Hanks’ Emmy-winning miniseries From the Earth to the Moon is easily the most lavish and desirable DVD package yet. (The fact that it’s not yet available on cassette — except through Columbia House — makes it that much more special.) Housed in a compact silver slipcase, the 12-part miniseries, like the space program itself, is both wildly ambitious and a straightforward, nuts-and-bolts endeavor. Each episode tracks the space race from a different angle: the scientists and academics behind the scenes, the social upheaval of the era, and, of course, the various missions. The series can and should be watched as a whole, but each segment stands on its own. One segment stars Dave Foley as an aw-shucks astronaut just happy to be along for the ride; another, directed by Sally Field, details the pressure on astronauts’ wives. My favorites are ”Spider,” about the engineers who design the spacecraft, and ”We Interrupt This Program,” about the media. Seen together, these offbeat tales pack a cumulative punch. The fourth DVD brims with extras, including two featurettes, 12 trailers, 3-D models of the ships that you can manipulate and zoom in on, and a tour of the solar system that lets you skip from planet to planet at will. Those with a DVD-ROM can access even more. Let’s hope Ken Burns checks out this elegant package before releasing The Civil War and Baseball on DVD. A

From the Earth to the Moon
  • TV Show