Join 3,551 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


The Definitive Look at the Diversity of Our Planet
March 7, 2011 11:15 AM   Subscribe

Five years ago this week, the BBC started broadcasting one of the most extraordinary documentaries ever to grace television: Planet Earth. The culmination of five years of field work, it employed the most cutting-edge of techniques in order to capture life in all its forms, from sweeping spaceborne vistas to shockingly intimate close-ups -- including many sights rarely glimpsed by human eyes. Visually spectacular, it showcased footage shot in 204 locations in 62 countries, thoroughly documenting every biome from the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to the lifegiving waters of the Okavango Delta, a rich narrative tapestry backed by a stirring orchestral score from the BBC Concert Orchestra. Unfortunately, the series underwent some editorial changes for rebroadcast overseas. But now fans outside the UK can rejoice -- all eleven chapters of this epic story are available on YouTube in their original form: uncut, in glorious 1080p HD, and with the original narration by renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough. Click inside for the full listing (and kiss the rest of your week goodbye).

For reference: A detailed episode guide from Wikipedia

[Note: Be sure to select "1080p" in the video window manually if you have to, since the player sometimes defaults to 720p or even standard definition. The extra crispness significantly improves the experience.]

1 | Pole to Pole — One - Two - Three - Four - Tech Diary: Eye in the Sky
The sunward tilt of Earth's orbit dictates all our lives, creating the seasons that trigger one of the greatest spectacles in the world -- the mass migration of animals. As spring arrives in the Arctic, a mother polar bear emerges from her den with two tiny cubs. At the other end of the planet, winter arrives and emperor penguins are plunged into darkness for four months.
2 | Mountains — One - Two - Three - Four - Tech Diary: Snow Leopard Quest
This episode tours the mightiest of mountain ranges and introduces a few of its extreme animal mountaineers -- the mountain lion, snow leopard and puma, all rarely filmed creatures. CGI time-lapse footage brings the mysterious geological history of mountains to life, while flying alongside bar-headed geese provides a spectacular view of the Himalayas.
3 | Freshwater — One - Two - Three - Four - Tech Diary: Diving with Piranhas
Just 3 percent of the planet's water is fresh and it is our most precious resource. Rivers and lakes have shaped the earth, carving out the world's most impressive gorges, valleys and waterfalls. Unique behavior takes place in the presence of this life force, such as dueling otters and crocodiles and diving macaques.
4 | Caves — One - Two - Three - Four - Tech Diary: Into the Abyss
Caves are one of the only habitats not directly driven by sunlight, but this doesn't mean there's no wildlife living in their confines. Descend into darkness to witness the unseen behaviors of bizarre creatures like cave angel fish that attach themselves to walls and swiftlets that build nests from saliva.
5 | Deserts — One - Two - Three - Four - Tech Diary: Wild Camel Chase
Deserts are united by their lack of rain, yet they are the most varied of our planet's ecosystems. Go where freshwater is really precious and meet animals that have learned to survive with small amounts of it, such as the wild Bactrian camel of Mongolia's Gobi Desert that eats snow instead of drinking water or Chile's guanacos that lick dew from cactus spines.
6 | Ice Worlds — One - Two - Three - Four - Tech Diary: Alive in the Freezer
Freshwater is frozen and out of reach, and coupled with numbing temperatures, this makes life hard in frozen climes from the top to the bottom of the world. CGI time-lapse and elapsed-time filming techniques show Arctic ice coming and going over the centuries, and emperor penguins settling in to breed in Antarctica.
7 | Great Plains — One - Two - Three - Four - Tech Diary: Shot in the Dark
A quarter of the earth's surface is covered with grass, and the world's plains are home to massive herds of animals. This episode traverses the grasslands of Mongolia and the flooding plains of Papua New Guinea, and finds great gatherings of creatures, such as East Africa's wildebeest and clusters of rare grazers like Mongolian gazelles.
8 | Jungles — One - Two - Three - Four - Tech Diary: Trouble in Paradise
Beautiful floating aerial shots introduce the world's most spectacular forest vistas and high-definition cameras enable unprecedented views of the species that live on the dark jungle floor. Enter a world of mood and menace, and witness intense competition on a macro and micro scale as jaguars track prey and fungi infiltrate insect hosts.
9 | Shallow Seas — One - Two - Three - Four - Tech Diary: Shark Quest
Follow a humpback whale mother and her calf on their epic journey to the most prolific feeding grounds that fringe the coasts. The shallow seas that lie above the continental shelf are the richest in the ocean. It is here that you find the coral reefs and, in colder waters, the fishing grounds. Massive shoals of fish act like magnets for predators. Spectacular storm footage, above and below the water, reveals extraordinary events in this tropical paradise.
10 | Forests — One - Two - Three - Four - Tech Diary: Forest Fliers
Forests cover vast expanses from Siberia to Tasmania and still remain largely unexplored. Infrared and low-light cameras peek into the lives of elusive woodland inhabitants, such as snub-nosed monkeys, Amur leopards and Siberian tigers.
11 | Ocean Deep — One - Two - Three - Four - Tech Diary: Ocean Wanderers
The ocean is by far the largest habitat on our planet and it remains almost entirely unexplored. This episode scans the ocean's vast surface and trolls its depths, revealing daytime hunters and night feeders, from dolphins to manta rays, and life among hot vents and underwater massifs, following the energy source between oceanic white tips, myctopids, tuna, whale sharks and petrels.
Bonus: The similarly grand documentary HOME, a globetrotting film that examines humanity's impact on the environment. It's available for free in its entirety on the project's official YouTube account.
posted by Rhaomi (69 comments total) 243 users marked this as a favorite

 
Although we got the set on DVD, it is so very, very awesome that they put it on YT. Thanks for this.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 11:17 AM on March 7, 2011


Wow, this is awesome! This is also a great reminder that we should support public television more in this country.
posted by alaijmw at 11:19 AM on March 7, 2011


But seeing that its not an offical channel, it may be gone by tomorrow
posted by wheelieman at 11:22 AM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Damn! This is fucking awesome.

My friend got it on blu-ray when it came out. We had consumed some Hawaiian Baby Woodrose seeds, and I watched in awe as the goats lept from rock to rock. I'm not a religious person, but I consider myself a pantheist and for a moment there I became a bit of a pan-deist.

Then I began to think of how expensive this venture was. Just flying a helicopter for that one segment is a LOT of money - then all around the world, the man hours and fuel and everything else.

How much did this cost to make? It's astounding, and glorious and everyone should watch it! :)

(and if you're of the sort who's into entheogens, they certainly can add a little boost of appreciation :P)
posted by symbioid at 11:24 AM on March 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


The series previews looked wonderful, and I was thoroughly hyped up to watch it when it began broadcasting here in the US (plus personal favorite Sigourney Weaver narrating!).

I barely made it through the first episode (my wife did not) and part of the next. Too much death, especially of non-adult animals.

Sure, it's a part of life, and it's appropriate to acknowledge, especially in a series on the natural world. But the lingering, drawn-out scenes of predators killing younger animals is not for me.

The baby elephant being tracked down and killed with all the delicacy of a Sam Peckinpah flick was bad enough, but it was every other sequence. And it kept going. You'd get sucked in to the gorgeous footage, start to relax, and five minutes later -- bam! here's more child murder.

As I say, I lasted till the second episode. The penguins showed up, and before the inevitable happened I said "Fuck this" and turned off the TV.

The series has been known as Planet Death in our household since. :)
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:29 AM on March 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planet_Earth_(TV_series)#Production

According to Wiki the budget was £16 million.
posted by alaijmw at 11:30 AM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh man, Planet Earth is like a huge effective advertisement for Blu-Ray and vaporizers.
posted by The Whelk at 11:31 AM on March 7, 2011 [9 favorites]


I can't do this today (need to watch those library DVDs, they're due back this week!) so I hope this channel sticks around for a while. I've seen bits and pieces of Planet Earth, and I think it was the American version with Sigourney Weaver narrating, so I'm really looking forward to putting this on the eyeballs. Thanks for the round-up, Rhaomi.
posted by carsonb at 11:31 AM on March 7, 2011


Too much death, especially of non-adult animals.

Yep, this is exactly why we've never watched it either. Yes, animals get killed every day. They also do other things.
posted by DU at 11:31 AM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seconding all the awesome comments, but I'm with wheelieman. DrAdrianSmith?
posted by avoision at 11:32 AM on March 7, 2011


all eleven chapters of this epic story are available on YouTube in their original form

..posted by someone who admits in the comments that they do not own the copyright. Watch quickly, I doubt the video links will be good for long.
posted by mikeh at 11:34 AM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gorgeous, but very, very much unofficial. From another upload by DrAdrianSmith: "I search for torrents on the internet or video files on DC hubs."

Seeing that the Beeb did a pretty good job of squelching complete runs of QI on YouTube, this collection may not last much longer.
posted by maudlin at 11:36 AM on March 7, 2011


Too much death, especially of non-adult animals.

Perhaps you might prefer Life.
Also a BBC/David Attenborough series. A little less visually stunning, perhaps, but definitely more "kind and gentle".

Coincidentally, "Creatures of the Deep" is playing right now, keeping the toddler occupied while I deal with voicemail hell
posted by madajb at 11:36 AM on March 7, 2011


And the US version gets screwed by dropping Sir David Attenborough in favor of... Sigourney Weaver.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 11:37 AM on March 7, 2011


fans outside the UK can rejoice -- all eleven chapters of this epic story are available on YouTube in their original form: uncut, in glorious 1080p HD, and with the original narration by renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough


I'm pretty sure it aired in Canada with all its Attenboroughy goodness intact, as were the DVDs. Go Commonwealth!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:38 AM on March 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


And the US version gets screwed by dropping Sir David Attenborough in favor of... Sigourney Weaver.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 11:37 AM on March 7


What!? Because Sir David Attenborough does not speak English? wtf...
posted by Vindaloo at 11:38 AM on March 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Didn't the fuck something up w/Oprah, too?
posted by symbioid at 11:40 AM on March 7, 2011


Also, previously: Fuck Planet Earth
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:47 AM on March 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oprah did Life.

I'd give it about 2 day before DrAdrianSmith is gone from YouTube. The Beeb is very protective of its content, especially in differentiating revenue streams for UK and worldwide markets, because of the licensing model. Heck, even the official BBC YouTube channel isn't available outside the UK. Instead, we get BBCWorldWide.
posted by rh at 11:48 AM on March 7, 2011


Yes, animals get killed every day. They also do other things.

I would argue that killing is pretty much a predator's raison d'etre. Oh, and breeding and taking care of young... but not showing any murder would be like doing a documentary on clowns that doesn't feature any juggling.
posted by IjonTichy at 11:51 AM on March 7, 2011


not showing any murder would be like doing a documentary on clowns that doesn't feature any juggling.

Sure, and to clarify I'm not against showing or watching animal violence/death.

But if every alternative part of that documentary showed a clowns stabbing children to death in slow motion and with a swelling soundtrack, I would probably give it a miss.
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:54 AM on March 7, 2011


Yeah, I was wondering why the official uploader would need to split content into multiple parts.
posted by smackfu at 11:56 AM on March 7, 2011


And anyway, if they did release full episodes of a series like this, it'd no doubt roll out via iPlayer. They've been talking about a worldwide commercial version of iPlayer for years now, and I'll only believe it when I see it. The last I heard of it mentioned crazy pricing and a restriction to iPad which, quite frankly, is bullshit. I think that was before the latest funding cuts for online services, so who knows what the plan is now.
posted by rh at 11:58 AM on March 7, 2011


You'd get sucked in to the gorgeous footage, start to relax, and five minutes later -- bam! here's more child murder.

Now I HAVE to get the blu-ray set.
posted by FatherDagon at 12:03 PM on March 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


but not showing any murder would be like doing a documentary on clowns that doesn't feature any juggling.

Planet Strawman
posted by DU at 12:04 PM on March 7, 2011


not showing any murder would be like doing a documentary on clowns that doesn't feature any juggling.
----
Sure, and to clarify I'm not against showing or watching animal violence/death.

But if every alternative part of that documentary showed a clowns stabbing children to death in slow motion and with a swelling soundtrack, I would probably give it a miss.


Oh please oh please special features oh please
posted by FatherDagon at 12:05 PM on March 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Now I HAVE to get the blu-ray set.

You scamp!
posted by Celsius1414 at 12:07 PM on March 7, 2011


Yep, this is exactly why we've never watched it either. Yes, animals get killed every day. They also do other things.

And how is this not a strawman? The documentary shows plenty of other things--the ratio of animal murder to Other Things is about 1/6.
posted by IjonTichy at 12:10 PM on March 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


IjonTichy: "Yes, animals get killed every day. They also do other things.

I would argue that killing is pretty much a predator's raison d'etre. Oh, and breeding and taking care of young... but not showing any murder would be like doing a documentary on clowns that doesn't feature any juggling.
"

Or killing. (sorry clowns!)
posted by symbioid at 12:29 PM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, I'm not an expert in this stuff at all, but I wonder if there needs to be a distinction made between things that happen all the time in nature and things that happen frequently in nature that humans usually don't see. The list of firsts linked above ("many sights") tells me that among serious nature photographers, hunting footage is in high demand because it's difficult to capture.

So it follows that in a huge-budget film that touts itself as featuring dozens of firsts, there's going to be a lot of grizzly footage. If you're looking for a purely educational experience, that's great. If you're looking for something pretty to have on in the background while you're having dinner with your family, not so much.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:34 PM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Planet Earth series revealed my love for BBC documentaries in general. Since then, I've discovered Horizion (there are so many good episodes!), Stephen Fry's Gutenberg Press, and tons of other examples of why the BBC should let me pay them for access.

Seriously, some of the best programing on TV. We are tragically under-served by our networks here in the States in terms of quality.
posted by quin at 1:03 PM on March 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Death is the driving force of evolution. Infant mortality is the rule, not the exception. Depending on the species, up to 95 percent or more of animals born do not survive to reproductive age. Apart from predation, they succumb to starvation, disease and accidents. This is not a waste as they get recycled into other forms of life. Without death, there can be no life and no evolution.
posted by binturong at 1:04 PM on March 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Horizon is on Science Channel from time to time. With commercial interruption, of course.

As far as Planet Earth goes, all I can say is: It's been five years already? You have got to be shittin' me.
posted by wierdo at 1:06 PM on March 7, 2011


For those of you who are leery of high body-count scenes, I present three "wow not only cool but fun" scenes you may want to track down:

1. From the "Forests" scene -- there is a species of duck that nests high in the hollow of a tree. When the ducklings hatch, that same day -- or maybe the next day, but it definitely was pretty damn soon -- everyone leaves the nest for good. And the only way to do that is to jump. ....Imagine a three-minute sequence of teeny baby ducklings doing "cannonball" dives into a pile of leaves (and getting up and waddling away unharmed).

2. I think it's in the "Jungle" one -- the sequence which depicts the mating dances of the various birds of paradise. I cannot see how some of the things those little buggers do is physically possible.

3. Not sure which one, but there is a brief aerial shot of what looks like steam rising off Lake Victoria in Africa....and then you learn that that's not steam, that's an enormous swarm of mayflies.

And then one that's just silly -- the "Forest Fliers" behind-the-scenes one shows the way they set up one particular flying-over-the-trees shot in a baobab grove; they hung a chair off the bottom of a hot air balloon, basically. However -- it was not very easy to steer. So there are a couple sequences of the poor wildlife photographer getting smacked in the face with various leaves.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:09 PM on March 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


The last I heard of it mentioned crazy pricing and a restriction to iPad which, quite frankly, is bullshit. I think that was before the latest funding cuts for online services, so who knows what the plan is now.

I saw this post a couple of days ago, suggesting that the iPlayer would be available internationally and soon for less than $10/month (and with a few more options that iPad only.)

Of course, this is about half the amount that the British themselves pay for essentially the same content, so expect a heavily-reduced service, much higher pricing, or blood on the streets.
posted by robtoo at 1:16 PM on March 7, 2011


Seeing Planet Earth on an incredible 1080p projector at a friends house years ago is what inspired my husband and I to buy a ridiculous 1080p projector. We pined for years before we had enough -- we'd still remember certain shots and scenes through all that time -- and once we finally had our own we rented Planet Earth immediately. It is really insane how amazing it is, just gorgeous and inspiring and engaging and educational. Seeing it on a huge screen is particularly striking because you get such an immediate sense of scale on the far-away shots, and any motion toward the ground is genuinely scary. It reminded me of when I first saw that IMAX about the Grand Canyon when I was a little kid, and it just blew me away how big things could be. I'm not a particularly visual person -- I've been trying to remedy this, with some progress -- but I don't think the BBC nature series could fail to amaze anyone just by sight alone, much less all its other great qualities. It's rare that I get such an immediate sensory experience of anything as that.

We've seen most of the HD BBC nature series by now, but my favorite might be Yellowstone. It's gorgeous, the snowy parts have this lovely atmosphere to them, and I learned a ton.
posted by Nattie at 1:37 PM on March 7, 2011


I personally have much less problem with the violent death from hunting or whatever than I do with situations where young animals are abandoned by their fostering adults because of the pressures of survival.

Like, there was this one thing I saw, non-Planet Earth, which involved some mother lemur or other similar creature abandoning her offspring to die of starvation, heatstroke, or predatory animals because the rest of her pack had moved out of the area too quickly for her to keep up with such a helpless child in tow. The time she spends pacing back and forth between the child who is a burden and the trail the pack forged is heartbreaking. When she finally makes her decision and leaves the child behind, I nearly threw up from the tension and turned the show off.

The worst part is, I didn't remember the name of the show and ended up watching that again. Urg.

Compared to that sort of thing, a swift death in the jaws of a crocodile doesn't bother me at all.
posted by hippybear at 1:42 PM on March 7, 2011


And the US version gets screwed by dropping Sir David Attenborough in favor of... Sigourney Weaver.

While I wish we had the Attenborough version, Sigourney Weaver has a lovely voice and does a fine job. My parents got this for my kids and they love it, death and all.
posted by Mister_A at 1:42 PM on March 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Americans can buy the Attenborough version of Planet Earth on Blu-Ray. Same for Life.
posted by dirigibleman at 1:51 PM on March 7, 2011


1. From the "Forests" scene -- there is a species of duck that nests high in the hollow of a tree. When the ducklings hatch, that same day -- or maybe the next day, but it definitely was pretty damn soon -- everyone leaves the nest for good. And the only way to do that is to jump. ....Imagine a three-minute sequence of teeny baby ducklings doing "cannonball" dives into a pile of leaves (and getting up and waddling away unharmed).

Saw this in real life once a few years ago. Only there wasn't a pile of leaves, just hard packed gravel. It was a good 25 foot drop. They still bounced, then waddled away. Fourteen or so of the little buggers. Wood ducks.
posted by yesster at 1:51 PM on March 7, 2011


The real reason the BBC films so much wildlife: anthropomorphic comedy.
posted by rh at 1:56 PM on March 7, 2011


ALAN! ALAN! ALAN! AL! ALAN!
posted by The Whelk at 2:00 PM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


FatherDagon: " (quoting Celsius1414): But if every alternative part of that documentary showed a clowns stabbing children to death in slow motion and with a swelling soundtrack, I would probably give it a miss.

Oh please oh please special features oh please
"

I believe it's called "A Clockwork Orange".
posted by symbioid at 2:37 PM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


hippybear: "
Like, there was this one thing I saw, non-Planet Earth, which involved some mother lemur or other similar creature abandoning her offspring to die of starvation, heatstroke, or predatory animals because the rest of her pack had moved out of the area too quickly for her to keep up with such a helpless child in tow. The time she spends pacing back and forth between the child who is a burden and the trail the pack forged is heartbreaking. When she finally makes her decision and leaves the child behind, I nearly threw up from the tension and turned the show off.
"

Oh that was the meerkats, wasn't it? I think I saw that. Yeah - it was heartbreaking...
posted by symbioid at 2:39 PM on March 7, 2011


Wood ducks.

I've remarked in the past that if I ever ended up with a wood duck for a pet, I'd make it a little leather vest with the slogan "Born to Bounce" on the back.

Because, damn, ducks are hardcore.
posted by quin at 2:47 PM on March 7, 2011


Saw this on our piddlyass 24" commodity tv. Perfectly good tv, no complaints. Happened to start with "Caves." Watched the guy walk up to the edge of what looked to be a largish well and fling himself in.

And fall.

And fall.

And fall.

Deeper and deeper, smaller and smaller, the scale of the scene ballooning each moment as he shrank to almost nothing.

And I said: "I NEED A BIGGER SCREEN."
posted by tspae at 2:51 PM on March 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


So it follows that in a huge-budget film that touts itself as featuring dozens of firsts, there's going to be a lot of grizzly footage.

Seriously, what was up with all the bears?
posted by monju_bosatsu at 2:52 PM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Beautiful series. It left me with a feeling of despair and an utter contempt of life. What good is it to live your life as a blind, pallid monstrosity, living in eternal darkness, dully sifting through a stinking underground stream for fish carcasses and other bits of rotted remains that happen to drift into your pest-infested cave? What's the point of moping along on perpetually snowy mountain sides, chasing emaciated goats down steep cliffs until they stumble and break their necks, then having to drag their limp corpses all the way up to your den to feed your starving kids? But noooo.... LIFE, that preening cock, must manifest itself in every rotten hellhole, and demands tribute, no matter the cost, making all of us into cogs tyrannic, moving by compulsion.

I completely understand religion now.
posted by eeeeeez at 2:59 PM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seriously, what was up with all the bears?

I had no objections to all the bears...
posted by hippybear at 3:04 PM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know I'm late to this terrific post, but I'm a Planet Earth enthusiast with a question for those who are better informed about TV documentaries / Nature shows. I love Planet Earth, and I love learning about the diversity of life etc., but I am really a geology nut at heart. What I yearn for is a Planet-Earth-esque show detailing the geological history of the planet. How plates work, prehistoric (Pangaea, etc) continental formations, the surface of the ocean (Planet Earth touches on some of this, but I want more), all that jazz. Does anyone know a show/film/series that gets at this stuff in roughly the same format as Planet Earth?
posted by Dia Nomou Nomo Apethanon at 3:21 PM on March 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Journeys From the Centre of the Earth

Not quite what you want, more related to geology's influence on culture. It was good though and I'm sure it's out there somewhere.
posted by vbfg at 3:26 PM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is actually my least favourite of all the BBC Natural History Unit docos. I feel like it's the Jerry Bruckheimer of nature documentaries. "Look at this bear! It's fucking huge! Wow, thousands of things, crashing together! Holy bananas!"

The thing (to me) that makes most David Attenborough docos so good (esp the "Life Of...", and trials of life series) is an detemination to show that all of natural life is astounding, if you view it in the right way, not just behemoths wrestling at the foot of a giant waterfall during a full solar eclipse and simultaneous lightning storm.

This was produced by the same guy who did Blue Planet, and I feel that it replicates its flaws: a focus on scale and spectacle at the expense of a more three-dimensional picture - not of an almost alien-seeming world of sturm und drang - but our world, in all its complexity, detail and wonder. Both quiet moments, and loud ones. There is little synthesis, I felt in this and Blue Planet, and, yes, an over-emphasis on conflict and predation. I'm not against those things at all, but it's hardly all that happens in the natural world.

I realise I'm in a minority in saying this, but I would take Life In Cold Blood, The Living Planet, The Life of Mammals, or Trials of Life over this any day.
posted by smoke at 4:24 PM on March 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Journeys From the Centre of the Earth

Not quite what you want, more related to geology's influence on culture. It was good though and I'm sure it's out there somewhere.


There was also Earth: The Power of the Planet.
posted by dng at 4:39 PM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the Attenborough!

Probably from a link here, I saw this, the dance of the weedy sea dragon, and was completely blown away. I got the whole DVD set of Life and eagerly forwarded to see that segment again before watching from the beginning. And yikes, Oprah's version was just awful. Instead of lyrical, she was leering. It was gross. I sent the DVDs back to Netflix unwatched, saying one day I'd get the Brit version.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:50 PM on March 7, 2011


If you want something with significantly less death, check out Winged Migration. In my book it has shots that top anything that's been released since in terms of the sheer awe I have for how they actually managed to get them (being able to pan left and right and see geese flying next to the camera on both sides, e.g.).

It also just so happens to match up very nicely with Explosions in the Sky's record The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place if you start both at the same time a la Wizard of Oz and the Dark Side of the Moon. No entheogens necessary, but I am 100% certain they would help.
posted by feloniousmonk at 4:56 PM on March 7, 2011


I just wish the freakin' Discovery Channel and its various offshoots didn't run it ALL THE DAMN TIME.
posted by briank at 4:58 PM on March 7, 2011


Now that I'm home and can GET ON Youtube, I can update my suggestion:

1. They're mandarin ducklings, not wood ducks. But still cute.

2. Someone tell me how the hell that last bird in this sequence can do what they're showing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:08 PM on March 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dia Nomou Nomo Apethanon -- you should look for the PBS show from the 80s of the same name: Planet Earth available from Amazon. It's got a bit more of a geology focus (though it's a bit outdated). It was my favorite PBS doco as a kid.
posted by chimaera at 5:18 PM on March 7, 2011


Watching animals kill each other is somehow less disturbing than watching animals copulate.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:19 PM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


My favorite bit of trivia is that the Australian trailer actually used music from Gustav Holst's THE PLANETS. It's too bad Holst didn't create an ‘Earth' movement in anticipation of the show; as it were, the Australians had to use ‘Jupiter.' (Which is probably what led the writers to be so paranoid about possible planet confusion, see note above.)
I lol'd.
posted by delmoi at 6:56 PM on March 7, 2011


What good is it to live your life as a blind, pallid monstrosity, living in eternal darkness, dully sifting through a stinking underground stream for fish carcasses and other bits of rotted remains that happen to drift into your pest-infested cave?

Agreed. And don't even get me started on what happens if you get involved in a riddle game with some little fucker who wanders into said cave....
posted by lord_wolf at 8:50 PM on March 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dia Nomou Nomo Apethanon: By chance there was a very good doco tonight on ABC (Australian) called How Earth Made Us which looked out how geology shaped human history.
posted by Serial Killer Slumber Party at 3:49 AM on March 8, 2011


Planet Earth was the reason I bought the HD-DVD addon for my xbox-360. I have made wiser investments.
posted by DigDoug at 5:49 AM on March 8, 2011


Speaking as a licence payer, you're welcome.
posted by fullerine at 6:39 AM on March 8, 2011


They should just put it up on Youtube anyway*

I'm convinced most of the reason for Britain's residual diplomatic relevance in the world is due to the Natural History Unit of the BBC.
They hate us for our freedoms refusal to make I-Player International.

*except for the inevitable Murdochian** campaign of "Lefty BBC giving away our license fee!!!"

**Bastard!
posted by fullerine at 6:50 AM on March 8, 2011


Fav'd, flagged as Da Shizzle and buffering as I type.
posted by a_green_man at 1:17 AM on March 9, 2011


They should just put it up on Youtube anyway*

I'm convinced most of the reason for Britain's residual diplomatic relevance in the world is due to the Natural History Unit of the BBC.


And I am convinced that you could axe the Foreign Office and replace it with no national boundaries barrier on iPlayer, coupled with putting the entire license fee generated archive up for anyone to view / listen to.
posted by vbfg at 7:42 AM on March 9, 2011


'Planet Earth' PA Still Trying To Get Release Forms From Every Bird In Serengeti
NGORONGORO, TANZANIA—Despite spending several years scouring Serengeti National Park's rolling plains, arid basins, and remote mountaintops, 24-year-old production assistant Rachel Orr is still trying to obtain release forms from every bird that appeared on camera in the BBC's Planet Earth. "It's exhausting work, scrambling from branch to branch hunting for signatures from each three-banded plover, but if we don't cover all our bases, we could end up facing some serious lawsuits," said Orr, attempting to flag down a ruff that was filmed bathing itself for the show's 'Jungles' episode. "It's pretty discouraging when a flock of bustards flies by and doesn't even notice me standing here with the clipboard. But at least I'm not one of the PAs still trying to track down individual fire ants." Orr told reporters she was intentionally saving the elusive magpie shrikes for last since they'd probably be extinct soon anyway.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:17 PM on March 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Competing to Live: On Planet Earth and Being in Nature
posted by homunculus at 8:04 PM on March 21, 2011


« Older In 1918 Guillaume Apollinaire published his Callig...  |  Not much is stranger than a sm... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments