So, as spoken of on Friday, Discovery played its “Planet Earth” special, which, as it turns out, was created over the course of 5 years by BBC. Basically, HD existed, and as soon as it did, BBC and Discovery decided to take a bunch of these shiny, new HD cameras and head out to just about everywhere to film animals and plants.
The result is visually spectacular. The first three (of eleven) hour-long episodes aired last night, “Pole to Pole”, “Mountains”, and “Ocean Deep”, and are incredible enough to make me look into buying an HD TV. The series is capably narrated by Sigourney Weaver, and despite doing an excellent job, I’m somewhat disappointed to not hear the excellent David Attenborough describe to me the hunts of snow leopards and wolves. A remarkable number of the scenes are “never before seen”. We know this because, not only do they look like nothing we, the general viewing audience, has ever seen before, but because the scriptwriter has Sigourney mentioning the rarity of each instance: unusual, rare, very rare, or never before seen. It’s a minor distraction in a superb broadcast.
For anyone looking for real meat on specific subject matter, look elsewhere. The lack of details about the habits of some of the creatures of a given habitat are not a shortcoming. Planet Earth isn’t for the most thorough examination of caribou. It’s an overview of the planet, mostly looking at the fauna. It’s a display of Earth’s diversity.
I have no clue when it’s going to re-air, but every Sunday at 8PM for the next few weeks, Discovery will air the rest of the episodes. Seriously, watch it. And if possible, watch it on HD.