If your mother loved you, chances are you’ve seen Planet Earth. Sir David Attenborough’s 2006 nature documentary series was every adventurous kid’s wet dream—a combination of all things awesome and unexplored. Cocooned in the warm and gentle embrace of Attenborough’s silky voice, audience members were transported to some of the earth’s most remote corners, hostile environments and untouched sanctuaries. Planet Earth is perhaps the greatest nature documentary to ever be created by the English–speaking world. That is, until now.
A decade later, David Attenborough has returned to bless us with a sequel, Planet Earth II. Since I was abroad in London where it premiered months ahead of time, I'm here to give you the dish. The new docuseries is six episodes long, and it embarks on a scintillating and wondrous journey through jungles, oceans and cities. Viewers of Planet Earth must have thought there was no conceivable way of getting a closer look into the private happenings of the world’s wildlife. Planet Earth II proves them wrong. The series utilizes some of the latest and greatest advances in modern technology to capture nature’s most intimate phenomena in the highest definition possible. Devices such as aerial drone technology and remote recording allow us to intrude on the mating habits of a desperate–to–impress bird of paradise or the stealthy parenting techniques of a glass frog—and at alarming proximity.
While Planet Earth spent a large portion of its run time exploring the world’s various biomes, Planet Earth II brings us more of what we really want to see: the animals that dominate them. Attenborough is elegant as ever in his narrations of the delicate exchanges of the natural world. This time, he enlivens every creature by lending them their own unique personality, like turning a ten–feet–tall caiman into a beefy gym rat defending his turf. His narrative techniques have evolved to adopt a more youthful tone, saying things like: “The bobcat may be in luck, for this particular valley is blessed.”
While the tone and focus might have altered slightly, the most fantastic elements of the show are still present. The series is gushing with colorful depictions of the earth’s most bizarre flora and fauna. The audience is able to watch flamingoes fall asleep standing up in bodies of water and later slip and slide in their attempts to free themselves from the frozen water in the morning. There is a near head–on collision between a lioness and a giraffe in which the lioness is brought down and trampled in defeat. And in arguably the most shocking scene of the series, there is an epic and terrifying chase between several marine iguana hatchlings and a mass of snakes attempting to snatch the babies before they are able to reach their parents at the shore’s edge. The footage is truly wild.
Attenborough reminds us how precariously balanced our world is and how that equilibrium is in greater peril now than it was when Planet Earth was made over a decade ago. Humans pose a direct endangerment to the stability and steadiness of the planet, and the series stresses the importance of preserving the world’s most beautiful and nonpareil habitats.
The series is set to air on BBC America on Feb. 18. With cuffing season quickly approaching, it's the perfect way to escape all humans and spend some quality time with the true baes of this world. You can catch it every Saturday.
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.