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Planet Earth series

December 1, 2007

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) 


3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 1, 2007 8:05 pm

    No cable needed for The Daily Show. The entire show (most recent to 1999) is online at for free view (well when the writers weren’t on strike).

  2. December 1, 2007 8:16 pm

    ChrisM … thanks, yeah I watch it sometimes online, but I still can’t get into watching TV on my computer. I have a rather small, very portable laptop with pretty useless speakers. I could watch it with headphones, but then I feel kind of silly sitting on the couch watching TV like that. Maybe I could plug it into my TV somehow…but i’m pretty clueless on techie things like that.

  3. December 2, 2007 7:05 am

    I am happy to hear the good review. I watched two episodes of the Weaver narration and couldn’t deal with it anymore, in spite of the fantastic images.

    Cable (primarily for live sporting events) was my graduation present to myself. Last night I even got to watch the Big Game way out here in snowlandia. With college basketball season upon us, I am set to survive the winter.

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