Ten years after the debut of the original show, the BBC is doing a six-episode second season of Planet Earth. They've been shooting it for the last three years using ultra-HD cameras and David Attenborough will return as host.
"I am very excited to once again be working with the Natural History Unit on its latest landmark series and am especially looking forward to getting out on location in the next month or so," said Attenborough.
Charlotte Moore, controller of BBC TV channels and the iPlayer, said that the new series has taken three years to shoot taking advantage of significant advances in filming technology since Planet Earth aired a decade ago.
The first season of Planet Earth is on Netflix in the US, but the Blu-ray is only $40 and the picture is so much better...worth it if you somehow haven't seen it and still have a BR player.1
I still buy Blu-ray for a few things, stuff that needs crisp 1080p w/o streaming compression artifacts. Last purchase was Princess Mononoke.↩
BBC Radio One got David Attenborough to narrate the first minute or so of Adele's video for Hello as if it were a nature documentary. Solid gold. Although I am a little cross they made Attenborough say the words "hashtag flip phone". :|
I'd really like to watch Life, the newest multi-part nature documentary from the BBC, but the version showing on Discovery in the US is narrated by Oprah Winfrey and not David Attenborough. Guess I'll wait for the Blu-ray version for the full English experience. Or maybe they'll release a German version narrated by Herzog? Pretty please? In English?
Watch as David Attenborough signals his interest in mating with a male cicada. Scientists think that cicadas have 13- or 17-year mating cycles because, being prime numbers, those periods are not divisible by those periods of potential predators. From Stephen J. Gould:
Many potential predators have 2-5-year life cycles. Such cycles are not set by the availability of cicadas (for they peak too often in years of nonemergence), but cicadas might be eagerly harvested when the cycles coincide. Consider a predator with a life-cycle of five years: if cicadas emerged every 15 years, each bloom would be hit by the predator. By cycling at a large prime number, cicadas minimize the number of coincidences (every 5 x 17, or 85 years, in this case). Thirteen- and 17-year cycles cannot be tracked by any smaller number.
If you liked Planet Earth, you should probably check out Nature's Great Events. Narrated by David Attenborough and currently airing in the UK on BBC1 and BBC HD, the series consists of six 50-minute shows, each of which features a large-scale annual event, like the spring thaw in the Arctic Circle and the sardine run along the coast of South Africa. The series was shot in HD using many of the techniques seen in Planet Earth.
If you're in the UK, you can check out the first three episodes on the BBC site. In the US, Discovery will be airing the show sometime in the spring under the title Seasons of Survival (apparently Nature's Great Events isn't dramatic enough for the American audience). No word on whether Attenborough's expert narration will also be replaced as it was in Planet Earth.
Telling the magazine that he was asked why he did not give "credit" to God, Attenborough added: "They always mean beautiful things like hummingbirds. I always reply by saying that I think of a little child in east Africa with a worm burrowing through his eyeball. The worm cannot live in any other way, except by burrowing through eyeballs. I find that hard to reconcile with the notion of a divine and benevolent creator."