Ganges is one of the Blu-ray BBC Video releases included in the massive BBC High Definition Natural History Collection. It is of course superb, The set itself is a must for any naturalist and documentary fan as it also includes the 6-disc Planet Earth narrated by David Attenborough, the 2-disc 6 episode Wild China, and Galapagos. All programs are in 1080i which is just a notch under 1080p and only noticeable if you are a cinematographer.
Ganges is a three fifty-minute episode documentary on one Blu-ray. The first episode focuses on the many sources of the river and somewhat on the temples built there. This is a geographical and nature documentary so although there is some attention paid to the religious ties to the Ganges, it is not the focus of the episode.
Episode two looks at the plains and how the Ganges feeds India. There are of course beautiful shots of animals and natural phenomena –the joy of time-lapse photography. It also briefly looks at the positive and negative impacts of the Muslim and British invations, changes caused by modernity, and the elephant both venerated and hated. The oddest segment here is the villages where the deadly cobra is not feared at all and is part of daily life.
The third episode of Ganges, available as part of the BBC High Definition Natural History Collection, focuses on life in the river’s delta at the border of India and Bangladesh. The oddest scenes features otters trained to help men catch fish and fish that can walk on land to feed.
Some of the information and a couple of the shots are repetitive from one episode to the next. This does not hamper enjoying this excellent and very beautiful documentary. Special features are Behind the Scenes on how some of the film was captured and Deleted Scenes.