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David Attenborough's The Life of Birds (and other shows)
April 24, 2009 4:43 AM   Subscribe

The entirety of David Attenborough's wonderful nature series The Life of Birds is available on the new YouTube TV Shows section, which is its Hulu-clone. The old PBS Life of Birds website is also worth a visit.
posted by Kattullus (33 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh my goodness yes.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 4:56 AM on April 24, 2009


Aaaaand, as I expected, "Hulu-clone" means "Australians can't watch it."

*Goes looking for a proxy.*
posted by Jimbob at 4:57 AM on April 24, 2009


my german IP address also disqualified me. And I was very, very excited. It's a good thing they're protecting their IP, now I'm going to have to go thief it somewhere.
posted by cmyr at 5:03 AM on April 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh damn! I didn't realize that it would be geographically-locked. I figured that if I could watch a BBC series in the US everyone could. I'll send an e-mail to the mods and ask them to add a note.
posted by Kattullus at 5:06 AM on April 24, 2009


Totally off-topic, but OMIGOD THEY'VE GOT MIYAZAKI'S "SHERLOCK HOUND"!!
posted by jbickers at 5:07 AM on April 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I figured that if I could watch a BBC series in the US everyone could.

It seems very aribtrary. This series was shown on your PBS, so people in the US have kinda paid for it. It was also shown on our ABC, so Australian's have kinda paid for it too. Very annoying.
posted by Jimbob at 5:13 AM on April 24, 2009


(I've just discovered that our toddler is completely captivated by the Planet Earth series. I need to get my hands on more Attenborough.)
posted by Jimbob at 5:14 AM on April 24, 2009


I was pretty excited to see this YouTube Shows thing, so thanks for the link. Looks kinda empty right now, though. One episode of Nova, from 2001?
posted by DU at 5:29 AM on April 24, 2009


YouTube has also added a movies section... the offerings there are kind of sparse as well.
posted by Poolio at 5:40 AM on April 24, 2009


Attenborough-related derail -- is there any nature program as good as Planet Earth? What else should I watch if Planet Earth is my favorite show evar?
posted by Perplexity at 6:24 AM on April 24, 2009


I'm in the UK and I get "This video is not available in your country." Which is funny in that "I pay my TV license fee" kind of way (about 250 usd per year). I still have to use the iPlayer downloader hack to circumvent the BBC's hostile treatment of the plebs who can't afford or have chosen nor to have the same smartphone technology as members of the BBC executive or oversight board in order to watch iPlayer content on my XBMC.

I'm just about one tiny DRM addition away from disconnecting my antennae and refusing to pay the license fee despite really enjoying most of the BBC's unfortunately declining factual content all because they can't be arsed to properly sort their licensing terms out.

Though I do have to say that Nat Geo and the History Channel have been doing much better stuff lately (When we left Earth, Evolve, Evolutions) while Horizon on the BBC has become pretty much poop sci pablum.

Attenborough's stuff has always been top notch but it would cheaper to just buy the DVDs and skip the license fee. Beware though, watch too many British documentaries and you will find the commentary on North American documentaries blander than English food.
posted by srboisvert at 6:34 AM on April 24, 2009


This series is wonderful - I rewatched it a couple years ago and was just as mesmerized as when it first came out. It's truly amazing that birds are as successful a species as they are with all the obstacles they face. That said, I love David Attenborough's voice. He could make the phonebook sound exciting :-)
posted by Calzephyr at 7:02 AM on April 24, 2009


Not available in Canada, either. Why, it's almost enough to make one try to discover what this thing they call a torrent is all about.
posted by fish tick at 7:09 AM on April 24, 2009


Tangentially, Terry Gross just interviewed Fothergill and Linfield, the directors of Planet Earth, on the occasion of the US release of the re-cut Earth movie. It's a good show, and the guys have some very kind words for Attenborough -- he's not just a beautiful voice, he writes his own stuff and has a strong hand in creating his programs.
posted by grobstein at 7:27 AM on April 24, 2009


"Dieses Video ist in deinem Land nicht verf├╝gbar."

I can't watch BBC, I can't watch Hulu, I can't watch a ton of other stuff, and now I'm missing out on this brilliant documentary. I realize the world doesn't really like Germany, for obvious reasons, but come on...we just want to see those amazing lyrebirds!!!
posted by The Toad at 7:36 AM on April 24, 2009


Here you go, The Toad.
posted by fish tick at 7:38 AM on April 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure if it's the entire series, but The Life of Birds is also available on streaming netflix, if you're a subscriber. (It's in my queue, but as of yet unwatched.)

also: Nothing is as awesome as hearing David Attenborough say "Burglar," as in "Wasps are the burglars of the insect kingdom."
posted by shmegegge at 8:27 AM on April 24, 2009


If you liked Planet Earth, try Blue Planet, about the oceans. Really spectacular footage. Not sure about its internet availability.
posted by gingerbeer at 8:29 AM on April 24, 2009


I knew it was OK for me to give away my VHS set of "The Life of Birds"! Finally vindicated. Awesome!
posted by fiercecupcake at 8:31 AM on April 24, 2009


Somebody working for the BBC's Natural History Unit once explained to me that if the presenter does not appear on camera then you can happily overdub it with whatever local language narration you want and it will appear as if it might have been locally made. David Attenborough was the only person whose appearance on film would actually increase the international licensing value of the documentary.
posted by rongorongo at 8:32 AM on April 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah I'll buy that, at least because it's a good rock & roll story. But FWIW, in Holland broadcasters will generally speaking happily show presenter documentaries with Dutch subtitles over the pieces-to-camera yet with the narration dubbed.

I don't think they would dub Attenborough here though, you're right, it would lessen the show somehow.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:44 AM on April 24, 2009


also: Nothing is as awesome as hearing David Attenborough say "Burglar," as in "Wasps are the burglars of the insect kingdom."

I don't know about that. Hearing Attenborough say "Wild ass" with such dignified enthusiasm in one of the Planet Earth episodes just about made my entire life.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 9:07 AM on April 24, 2009


Obligatory Birds of Britain clip. Sorry.
posted by you at 9:10 AM on April 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


rongorongo: I think perhaps a good example of this is Satoyama: Japan's Secret Water Garden. Attenborough narrated it, but it was filmed, written and directed entirely by a Japanese crew.

It's terrific. There was a post on the blue here about it a while back when someone posted it on youtube, and I managed to find an ::ahem:: digital copy. I highly recommend it.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 9:13 AM on April 24, 2009


Thank you you! New to me.
posted by fish tick at 9:25 AM on April 24, 2009


My four-year-old daughter watched the first DVD and afterwords told me, "That man knows everything about birds."

All of my kids really enjoyed it.
posted by mecran01 at 10:14 AM on April 24, 2009


Terry Jones Medieval Lives! Oh man, YouTube, consider yourself redeemed.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:48 AM on April 24, 2009


Looks like it's time to get that 80 Gb of Attenborough that magically appeared at my door loaded into my computer.

This kind of geographical locking is completely blowing away any residual childhood affection for hula hoops. Bah!
posted by maudlin at 11:07 AM on April 24, 2009


To save you the trouble, here is the greatest scene from the entire series.
posted by euphorb at 1:35 PM on April 24, 2009


Ah, this takes me back. When working on the web site, I watched the entire series in one night, video capturing as I went with a cheapie capture board and my VHS player.
posted by maxwelton at 1:41 PM on April 24, 2009


Perplexity, there are a few other "Life of" series out there that we've enjoyed: Life of Mammals and Life in the Freezer.
posted by DakotaPaul at 3:57 PM on April 24, 2009


I've just discovered that our toddler is completely captivated by the Planet Earth series.

I just got to the bit with the ducklings jumping out of the tree. We've been watching it again and again and again...
posted by rodgerd at 5:35 PM on April 24, 2009


I haven't watched Blue Planet, but I've heard it's pretty much Planet Earth underwater. I think it's made by the same folks.

Attenborough's later "Life" series are pretty similar to Planet Earth.
posted by archagon at 11:45 PM on April 24, 2009


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