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Planet Earth


Best. Show. Ever.

I've always loved animal and wildlife shows. And this is the first time I fell in love with an entire wildlife series. I used to watch just individual episodes from time to time, and I only used to watch shows from National Geographic and Discovery. If it wasn't made by either of them, I never bothered watching.

This series introduced me to another serious maker of wildlife films─the BBC. In fact, there is one element which makes the BBC documentaries better than those from Nat Geo and Discovery: David Attenborough.

"My voice can soothe the savage beast."

As one YouTube commenter put it, hearing David Attenborough narrate is like listening to your grandfather tell a wonderful story. From his voice alone, you can tell that Sir David is a nice and wonderful person. No wonder animals love him.

1. "From Pole to Pole"

Ants. No, just kidding. Buffalo.

This first episode is designed to make the viewers interested in watching the entire season. It's sort of like this episode is a "the best of Planet Earth" episode. Which is kind of weird, because usually "the best of" should come after everything. Anyway, this episode literally takes you from pole to pole, from Arctic to Antarctic, from emperor penguins to elephants. If you loved this episode, then I guarantee you'll love the series.

2. "Mountains"

Not Middle Earth.

As the title suggests, it's mountains. Not hills, or volcanoes. It's mountains. Lots and lots of mountains. From the Andes, to the Rockies, to the Himalayas. Mountains. Well, there's some mountain animals in here as well. Good job to the filmmakers for the footage of the snow leopard.

3. "Fresh Water"

Note to self: The only way to see the Grand Canyon is by chopper.

Like Sir David Attenborough says, "All life on land is ultimately dependent upon fresh water." We see here the beautiful waterfalls with their eternal rainbows, the mighty rapids (and the animals that live in them), and the majestic Amazon river, the baddest river on the planet. Also, after seeing footage of actual otters, I can now understand why Hermione Granger's Patronus is an otter.

4. "Caves"

Above: Not Christmas trees. Those are crystals.

This is probably the only episode that features human beings. But not as central characters. They still take a backseat to the real stars of the show: the animals. Also, those blind salamanders are really creepy. In a not-cute kind of way.

One of my favorite quotes: "Peregrin falcons and bat hawks are the jet fighters of the bird world."

5. "Deserts"

A desert from space. Seriously.

This episode shatters any stereotype you may have had of deserts. Like that it actually snows in the desert (Gobi). Or that it actually fogs in the desert (Atacama). Or that it actually rains in the desert (Sonora).

6. "Ice Worlds"

Does this not look like some frozen Middle Earth to you?

There's the North Pole (Arctic) and the South Pole (Antarctic). Both have life on them, but there's more life in the Arctic, as it is still accessible by land. Whoever told you that life does not exist on the poles has obviously never seen March of the Penguins.

7. "Great Plains"

That's not fuzzy distortion. Those are snow geese. In migration.

What comes to mind when you hear the words "great plains"? Usually bison, right? But what life form actually makes up the great plains? The answer: grass. And there's some pretty great time-lapse footage of grass growing here. How about time-lapse footage from space? They got that, too. And did you know there's Arctic grass? For real.

Great plains can be found in Mongolia, as well as the Arctic tundra, the North American praries, the Tibetan plateau (the highest great plain on earth), and the African savannah. And on the great plains happen the great caribou migration, one of the most spectacular land migrations on the planet.

Trivia: Why is it called elephant grass? Because this type of grass grows so tall that it conceals elephants. And speaking of elephants, they shot that scene with the lions using infrared light. Awesome.

8. "Jungles"

What the hell is that?

Jungles are where you can find the weirdest things on the planet. Like the Siamang gibbon, with that scrotum-like thing on its throat. Or the cordyceps fungus, perhaps the most badass fungus in the entire kingdom of both fungi and insects. Even with weirdness, though, we also have beauty. And this can be seen quite clearly with the spectacular time lapse shots of both plants and fungi. Props also to the Planet Earth team, for successfully filming the pitcher plant─from the inside.

9. "Shallow Seas"

Spot the pygmy seahorse.

We start off with the humpback whale's hauntingly beautiful whale song. The time lapse shots of the corrals was as fun to watch as the time lapse shots of the ocean floor, where we have starfish scurrying about in their languid pace (sped up, of course). The other points of interest in this episode include the file clam (and its trippy bio-luminescence), and the hunting alliance between fishes and sea snakes, only recently discovered, and captured on film for the first time.

Trivia: Why are dugongs called sea cows? Because they eat nothing but sea grass. Just like real cows.

10. "Seasonal Forests"

They look like their name: baobab.

This episode starts with the tracking shot to end all tracking shots: the vertical climb along one of the highest trees on Earth, located in the same forest which most geeks know as the moon of Endor. Of course, as the title suggests, this focuses mainly on trees, from the vast forest of the taiga, to some very magnificent trees, such as General Sherman (whose weight is that of ten blue whales) and the ancient bristlecone pines (the oldest organisms on the planet, alive before the pyramids were built), and the strangely cute baobab trees.

Aside from trees, this episode captures the wildlife as well. Noteworthy are the Amur leopard (a.k.a. the rarest cat on earth), and the strange cicadas and their fascination with prime numbers.

Noteworthy also are the time lapse sequences, showing entire seasonal transformations. Brilliant.

11. "Ocean Deep"

The nautilus. Not the submarine.

As the title suggests, this episode sinks to the depths of the oceans. The Earth's waters is in fact such a huge place that it takes two episodes to cover it, and that coverage isn't even close to thorough. This episode takes us so deep underwater that we learn there are actually bacteria that do not get their power from the sun─instead, they get it from underwater thermal vents. These bacteria in turn feed little shrimps, and these shrimps in turn feed smaller fish, and these smaller fish feed bigger fish, and these bigger fish feed even bigger fish. And so on. And so forth.

Are eleven episodes enough to satisfy your wildlife cravings? If not, have no fear. There's a sort of sequel to this, and it's called Life, also by the BBC, this time focusing on the life forms instead of the habitat.

This is such a great series, and I have no complaints about it at all. Well, maybe just one complaint. Where's the Philippines, huh BBC? Where is my country?

Planet Earth. UK. 2006.

Rating: Ten stars.


Every post in this blog is very interesting and we can get a lesson out of it. In this blog you can meet new things(both non and living things) that inspire your life.

Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

amazing, isn't it? oo nga eh.

@Anonymous: Mas amazing 'pag may nakuha kang mushrooms sa weekend. Hehe.

@Traveling the Philippines: Not really sure if you're a human or a spambot, but thank you for your comment.

Anonymous said...

I remembered the book "The Little Prince" from the Baobab picture. Colossal trees, beautiful. :-)

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