Maybe this is cheating. I mean, who doesn’t know about the incredible Blue Planet and Planet Earth series’ that ran on the Discovery Channel (Blue Planet ran in 2001, Planet Earth in 2007)?
Well, maybe you don’t have cable. Or maybe your kids were infants and you weren’t yet a fan of the Discovery Channel. Anything’s possible.
At any rate, I stumbled on these the other day while cruising Netflix, and son K was looking over my shoulder.
“Oh, wow ... I would see any of those again, mom! Put ‘em on the list!”
Hmm. I guess being surprised by this was enough to make me think that perhaps we need to make sure they’re included here on KidsFlix. After all, G-rated nature films that the whole family truly enjoys are not all that common; you can only watch March of the Penguins so many times!
Both series, produced by the BBC and by Alastair Fothergill, are now available on Netflix, and I presume at most decent DVD stores. The Blue Planet series was K’s favorite of the two, especially the episode entitled "The Deep," where some pretty bizarre creatures who live in the black depths of the ocean are captured on film, some for the first time. It examines different marine environments throughout the series, from frozen seas to coral reefs and coastal waters. There are so many, many amazing scenes, but one particularly memorable (and difficult) scene depicts orca whales at high tide invading a beached sea lion colony in order to dine on the young. (Yes, this serves as a warning that the vicious and harsh side of nature is well represented in these series.)
The Planet Earth series was my favorite, offering such a wide range of wildlife habitats and cinematic delights that each episode stands alone as an epic adventure. Planet Earth won both an Emmy and a Peabody Award, and David Attenborough’s narration was, for some reason, replaced on the American version by Sigourney Weaver. The series covers arctic tundra, jungles, deserts, African savannas and plains, oceans and caves, and more, and has some of the most stunning cinematography you’ll ever see.
If you haven’t seen these yet, lucky you. You’re in for a treat.
(You can get great detail on each episode by looking up each title over at Wikipedia.)