Monday, April 16, 2007

Planet Earth

I sent a text to regular commenter Matt asking if he'd be tuning into Discovery Channel's 11-part series, "Planet Earth." He sounded a little skeptical at first, but I hope I covinced him to check it out. I hope I can do the same for others, too.

This is must-watch television.

The series takes a look at life on our planet through various themes. Tonight, the episodes were Jungles and Freshwater; we learned that chimps are among the rare creatures who survive on the ground and in the canopy of the jungle; most animals do one or the other. In the second hour, we saw one freshwater fish that protected its young by holding them in its mouth. It appeared to have swallowed a school of fish in one gulp! But it was just protecting the young'ns.

Linds and I have watched the show from its premiere, and there has been no shortage of 'holy crap!' moments. Over at, they have a handful of highlight clips from the shows so far. Check out the second clip - "Jungles: Birds of Paradise." It's unreal what the birds are willing to do to attract a mate; I promise you, you'll never forget the turquoise smiley face.

Linds' favorite clip, undoubtedly, is further down the list: "Pole to Pole: African Animals." At the end of this clip, you see a group of baboons nervously wading through water - not for fear of a predator, but for the mere walk they don't walk upright but must if they want to keep from drowning. (And they most assuredly do.) That clip is great for sheer silliness.

If that hasn't convinced you, then I'll make it as easy as possible. Here's a clip from the British version, which is the same as the U.S. version except that our narrator is Sigourney Weaver. Here, some seals head out to go fishing, but must navigate through a crowd of great white sharks. This clip greatly slows down a great white attack; it's impossible not to appreciate the awesome power of the shark.

The whole series has been like that. Stunning photography and wonderful views were the culmination of five years of filming. And if you have HD, the series is mesmerizing.

Discovery HD Theater, incidentally, has limited commercial interruption; such that the show ends 15 mminutes early. That leaves time for behind-the-scenes clips.

In one producer interview, he says that one of his goals for the project was to show people that there are things in the world worth saving. Conservancy, then, is a part of the show; but it's never preachy and it never insists you feel guilty.

From my standpoint, I've tried to be pretty good about recycling and now I feel even more strongly about that and doing whatever else I can do. So for me, at least, the producer got his intended result.

It may not be that way for you guys, and that's cool too. Even so, I can't recommend this enough to you. Do check it out next Sunday night.

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