WWII from Space represents the History Channel’s (now known simply as History) latest attempt to provide a new and interesting angle on a subject that has been endlessly examined. You have to give History a little credit while at the same time understanding their dilemma: launched in 1995, they’ve been around for quite a while now, and the truth is, there’s only so many momentous events throughout the annals of time, and History has covered them all; some several times. Over the years, History has certainly provided extensive coverage of World War II from several different angles.

History’s WWII from Space uses CGI to provide a satellite view of the conflict and recreate some of the war’s most significant moments that couldn’t have been captured by a camera. Unfortunately, the information provided will be nothing new to regular viewers of History programming. Lots of animations of Earth under siege are on display. If young people looking at this don’t know that much about geography, they’ll have no idea what’s being talked about. Even if you do know you’re geography, the globe spins around so quickly that we don’t get much of a chance to look at anything.

WWII from SpaceThe show’s basic idea—a 90-minute review of the major battlefronts of WW II is a pretty good one. The problem is the cluttered execution. Statistics pop up in various kinds of faux-metering devices. Airplanes, cannons, etc., are examined in a exploded blueprint view that just feels over-the-top. Windows pop up to show heavily doctored photos, and film clips. News footage is supplanted with digital planes buzzing about.

WWII in Space offers up about half a dozen well-spoken military experts and scholars including authors David Kennedy and Richard Overy to explain things, which is good, because without their guidance viewers may be totally lost. Unfortunately, they all sound like their reading from cue cards. Clocking in at just 92 minutes, those on hand do their best to offer condensed versions of German and Japanese aggression in the 1930s, the attack on Pearl Harbor, several crucial battles and more, all from the American perspective.

While WWII from Space is definitely worth checking out if you’re a history buff or a fan of satellite imagery, there are certainly better programs out there on World War II, some of them produced by History in years past.

WWII from Space is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The 1080p image is arrived at with an AVC MPEG-4 codec at an average of 27 mbps. Visually, this show has a lot going on. The CGI is actually quite impressive for a basic cable channel. There’s a nice layer of light grain, and the use of muted colors gives things a period look; the graphics pop, which is actually a good thing when discussing the video quality. The interview subjects look appropriate, and detail is visible on their faces.

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is a solid one, with the periodic battle scenes given nice directionality and breadth. Planes occasionally sound as though they’re flying from the fronts to the rears, though it doesn’t happen as much as one might like. The rears are largely used for the score. The narration and interviews sound clear and concise throughout the track.

English, English SDH, and Spanish subtitles are included.

There are no special features.