Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Planet Earth II (2016)

Ten years after making the documentary series Planet Earth, the BBC released this follow-up, which achieves the considerable task of doing everything its predecessor did, only even better and in less time.

Narrated by nature doco legend David Attenborough (who also makes two brief appearances in front of the camera), the series journeys once more across the various biospheres of the world in which we live, examining the animals that live in those regions.  Plants alas once more get short shrift - well, other than grass, that is.

The six environments covered in this series are Islands, Mountains, Jungles, Deserts, Grasslands and Cities.  All are excellent, with I think the last being probably the most interesting for revealing how animals have adapted to the artificial environments we humans have created.  I would never have guessed, for instance, that New York City is home to a large and very successful population of peregrine falcons.

A key feature of the previous series was its use of modern technology to allow never-before-seen footage to be captured, and Planet Earth II continues that approach, with drone technology in particular having a significant impact on what can be shown.  Some highlights of this season include up close and personal pictures of monkeys and lemurs moving across rooftops and trees respectively, and scenes of leopards hunting after dark in Mumbai.  Maybe don't go out for a late night stroll if you're ever there, eh?

Each episode also comes with a "Diary", which describes the techniques used to capture the footage and the challenges faced by the documentary teams.  These are every bit as engaging and entertaining as the episodes themselves.

Great stuff, from top to bottom.

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