Planet Earth series
I know…I’m late to the party. There was tons of chatter about this 11-part series when it premiered several months ago. We don’t have cable and had to wait until we could get the DVDs via Netflix. There are only a two things that might make me break down and get cable sometime soon though (Jon Stewart and hockey playoffs). We’ll see.
Anyway…if I were not feeling so blog-lazy (i’ve been preoccupied lately), I would look into what others have said about the program and compare those to my own, etc. and so on … bah. Instead, I’m just gonna tell you what I think about it. How’s that?
We’ve only seen the first few discs so far and I am absolutely enthralled. The footage is spectacular! The version we get from Netflix is with David Attenborough narrating. I guess there was some complaints about the Sigorney Weaver version … I definitely like Attenborough, so I’m glad Netflix sends this one.
Each episode highlights a different setting on our planet (mountains, deserts, coasts, caves, etc.) and how it serves as a habitat for life. What I like about the series is that it mixes physical processes and conditions as they showcase the animals. Most “nature shows” are about animals. I know…biology, life, etc. is great. I get it.
But, as a geologist, it’s nice to see a high-profile program like this cover the important physical processes that life is superimposed on. For example, they did a great job of explaining how the Himalayas influence the climate and weather in the region and how, in turn, that affects the behavior and interdependence of the animals within the ecosystem. As we progress in natural science, we are appreciating more and more the linkages between these categories that define our specific fields of study. Nature is the ultimate complex system with all the sub-systems and components interacting and influencing all the other parts. That perspective is implicit within this program.
I think I remember reading some blog posts wondering if they ‘dumbed it down’ too much and other posts complaining about what wasn’t included that should’ve been, and so on. So far, I am very pleased. They can’t explain it all, and they also need to keep it accessible to a general public. This is a television show after all. Sure, I could nit-pick it some and, if I were in a different mood, maybe I would have. But I remember some of the posts complaining about it had the all-too-familiar tone of someone either jaded their interest wasn’t highlighted or that it didn’t quite live up to their expectations. I’ll let them quibble about that…I like the show…simple as that.
If you are a fan of quality photography/cinematography, then this show is worth it just for that. The sweeping, overhead views of migrating caribou or hunting African dogs or elephants braving a dust storm are incredible. I also enjoy the short segments at the end showing some “behind the scenes” of the work. For those that have done field work in remote and/or rugged places, you will appreciate and recognize the sense of humor exhibited by the researchers and photographers.
When we complete the series, maybe I’ll post again about my thoughts. for now, I give it a thumbs up.
(click on the image above to go to the website)