Review: Planet Earth II18th November 2016
It was always going to be difficult to beat the first series of Planet Earth, even if it was produced a decade ago when technology was nowhere near today’s standards. Back in 2008, Planet Earth was something truly ground-breaking. Although we had had nature programmes before, we’d had nothing like this. Once it was shown, we weren’t really going to accept much less. This meant that every year since, we have been treated to a new incredible nature documentary series. There was Planet Earth, then Blue Planet, then Human Planet. But a decade of documentaries has meant that we’ve actually seen quite a lot, and to an extent I felt like I’d seen a fair bit of what happened in the first episode of Planet Earth II in other documentaries.
Firstly, penguins have been done to death by the BBC, I felt like I had seen a lot of what they were showing already. Although I admit, going to that island that few people had ever set foot on and watching the penguins get smashed against the rocks was both amazing and heart-breaking. But still, penguins didn’t feel particularly new. Iguanas too have been a staple of BBC nature series; they did a series on the Galapagos Islands a few years back where Iguanas were a staple. But yet again, watching the baby iguanas fight off snakes, in what felt like some gladiatorial fight, was incredible television. I was particularly glad I wasn’t a cameraman during that bloodbath.
Lemurs in Madagascar also felt like something that’s been covered before; it didn’t feel particularly exciting or special. Komodo dragons too felt like something we all really knew about. Simply, that they’re the largest lizards, and they’re pretty damn dangerous. They probably would have been better suited to last years’ nature series The Hunt, which felt pretty unbeatable.
It is, as usual for the BBC, an incredible nature series. No one can present like Attenborough after all. The quality of the filming feels decades more advanced than that of the original planet earth series, but I’m still not convinced that this episode was worth the hype.
But there was also some truly incredible footage. The sloth was definitely a good one to start with, although this might just be because I’m a university student and found it too easy to relate too. This was particularly amazing because, as we all know, sloths don’t really tend to do very much. So to get footage of one swimming in such crystal clear water was really something to behold. When he could hear a female not far away but couldn’t find her and decided it would be too much effort to carry on, I think we all related just a little bit. I’ll try again tomorrow….
The crab procession down to the beach interrupted by intruding ants was also an eye opener. It was worrying how this once incredible scene was being put in jeopardy by a bunch of ants that had only come on a cargo or tourist ship a few years back. Seeing as this procession is a real tourist attraction to the island, one can’t help but wonder what other things we might be bringing there.
It is, as usual for the BBC, an incredible nature series. No one can present like Attenborough after all. The quality of the filming feels decades more advanced than that of the original planet earth series, and you can understand why it’s taken them so long to make a sequel. But I’m still not convinced that this episode was worth the hype, although I can see why they put it as the first in the series. Several extremely well known animals were bound to grab viewers and bring them back to watch later episodes. I just hope the rest of the series is a bit more ground-breaking than the start. I hope they’ve saved the best till last.