It is hard to adequately express my admiration of the recently released BBC production of Planet Earth: The Complete Series. This 11 part mini-series originally aired on the Discovery Channel here in the United States and is now packaged in its entirety as a five disk set. 25 million dollars in the making, this series is an exquisite look at life on Earth in all its spectacular variety and breathtaking wonder. You might think I’m just slinging around adjectives at this point, but let me assure you that there aren’t any adjectives that on their own do justice to this seminal piece of nature documentary.
Narrated by David Attenborough, the man behind that smooth British voice we’ve all come to associate with great nature programming, the DVD compilation of this series also contains 90 minutes of additional footage and bonus coverage with explanations of just how these spectacular scenes were filmed. The time and effort put forth to bring these images to life is in its own right amazing. And the combination of strategies involving time lapse photography, space cams, super slow motion video, helicopters, submersibles, hot air balloons, remote cameras and more, is rewardingly comprehensive in its ability to paint a grand picture of what life is like in many of the most beautiful, most remote, and most magnificent regions of our planet.
The series starts with an overview of Earth From Pole to Pole. It follows with segments on Mountains, Fresh Water, Caves, Deserts, Ice Worlds, Great Plains, Jungles, Shallow Seas, Seasonal Forests, and Ocean Deep. Each individual segment is fascinating with particular attention paid to giving an explanation of how each region works as a whole while detailing some of the fascinating creatures that live there. If you have never seen a gigantic Great White Shark breach fully out of the water while it hunts Cape Fur Seals, prepare to be amazed. If you’ve never heard of, let alone seen, one of the 30 Amur leopards left living in the wilds of Far East Russia, get ready to be simultaneously astonished and saddened. If you can’t imagine the night hunt of an African Elephant by a hungry pride of lions, then be prepared to watch in awe as it unfolds on screen under the infrared lights of this talented production.
The series also explores Mexico’s Cave of Swallows, the Earth’s largest cave, home to millions of bats. It follows the migration of over 3 million Caribou, a volcano in Ethiopia that has been continuously erupting for more than 100 years and a sequence illustrating a swarm of locusts more than 1 billion strong. This documentary exhibits forest elephants in the Congo, the flight of a flock of day-old mandarin ducks as they “soar” from tree nest to forest floor, and the trails of the Bactrian Camels in Mongolian’s Gobi Desert who endure temperature swings from -40F to +122F. These and other spectacular scenes portray but a few of the cast of characters that help tell the tale of life on our Planet Earth.
Growing up I greatly enjoyed watching nature shows. My daughter is only 15 months old, but Matt Mayer of Groovy Green has children much older and had this to say about the Planet Earth series and watching it with his family.
My family and I recently had the opportunity to review the Planet Earth documentary series formerly shown on the Discovery Channel and produced by the BBC. These videos are amazing. In fact, they are so amazing that I’m contemplating the purchase of another set for donation to our local library. The photography is fantastic. The information contained is incredible and educational. The content produced great conversation between the members of my family (3 generations worth) about the animals, the world, animal life, the circle of life and other assorted themes. The videos also produced some sadness when we thought about how humans can be such a destructive force on our planet, but largely they served as a wonderful educational tool and a driver of discussions among my family.
We don’t watch a lot of TV at our house, but once we started watching these videos, we increased our TV time so we could see more of them. The series had a very powerful effect on us. In fact, when my wife or I tell our kids that they can watch a TV program, this series is all they want to watch now, even watching the same episodes over and over. When they are watching them without us in the room, I overhear them talking about what they are seeing on screen. I think this is great. They are learning about our world in a way that will never be covered during their school years, and they are doing it together, which is also wonderful.
I whole-heartedly recommend these videos to everyone, but especially if you have kids. This series has so much never before seen footage, and some of it is just awe-inspiring. These are fantastic tools for parents to use to educate their children. It’s great to learn so much about so many interesting areas in this world that we all live in.
The fifth and final disk of the series examines human encroachment and the subsequent extinction of animals all over the globe. It discusses climate change and the impact it’s having on all the species that inhabit this planet. As Matt mentioned above, this series offers a chance to open up a conversation about living together and how humans, starting with an understanding of our impact, can mitigate the problems facing all the plants and animals with which we share this planet.
Whether you watch it simply for the fantastic images masterfully caught on film or use this documentary as a way to educate and inform you and your family about life on Earth and our effect as humans on it, the Planet Earth series is a fantastic portrayal of this wonderful world of nature of which we are all a part. I can’t recommend it more highly.
Or enter our contest!
Would you like to win your very own copy of ‘Planet Earth: The Complete Series‘ on DVD? This five disk compilation of the BBC documentary retails for more than $50 on amazon.com but thanks to the wonderful folks who produced ‘Planet Earth’ we’re giving away 5 complete copies here at Groovy Green.
Just write down your story of an adventure spent out in the wild complete with at least one photograph and send it to us. Video would be great but it isn’t necessary. We’re looking for you to tell us all about an extraordinary trip or a moving experience you or your family had out in the nature. Camping, hiking, rafting, climbing, making friends with a bear – tell us your stories of natural fun. Winning entries will be reprinted at Groovy Green and we won’t be able to return photographs or videos so don’t send us the originals. Make a copy.
We’ll choose the five most interesting entries, share them with our readers and send the winners a free copy of ‘Planet Earth.’ It’s just that simple. We can’t wait to hear from you!
Email entries to: [email protected]
Or mail them to:
Planet Earth Contest
c/o Groovy Green
14 Oakland Ave.
Concord NC 28025