Saturday, October 17, 2009


Don't talk to me about life...

So the latest BBC natural history series is now up and running. Is it what we might expect? Rich-gravelly-paternal David Attenborough voic-eover: check. (Shame he's no longer up to getting out with the camera crews and sitting next to the animals, but that's, well, life.) Blimey-how-did-they-get-that-shot dazzling camerawork in incredibly difficult environments: check. Various weird, cute, or terrifying animals in action: check. (Inflatable eye-stalks? Whuh?) Some of those animals dying and getting eaten: check. (Time was when Spitting Image had a running joke about wildebeest seemingly existing solely to get eaten by lions on the beeb, but these days, technology spreads the pain around, and we get young penguins dying for our edification and a leopard seal's diet. Underwater.) Ten-minute show-your-working making-of snippet tagged on the end: check.

Going by the first installment, what it doesn't have is much of a theme, beyond This Is Life; it apparently no longer needs one. (Well, yes, inflatable eye-stalks - but why, really?) Frankly, its main functions are to justify the license fee and to sell HD televisions. Still, reports suggest that later installments settle into some kind of structure. And watching the darned thing (while Uncle Dave's commentary washes over), it can be hard to complain.

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