Nature DVD s do not come any better than what you get in the BBC Planet Earth series. Planet Earth The Complete Series features 13 episodes on 5 DVD. Planet Earth Volume 1 has 3 episodes: From Pole to Pole, Mountains, and Fresh Water. This makes for absolutely breathtaking viewing, especially on a high def TV, and new filming techniques and technology allow for some never seen scenes and angles. If you know an eco-friendly person, this series makes for a great gift –if they do not already have it.
Episode 1 of this DVD is From Pole to Pole. It could also have been titled a year in the life of planet earth. It opens with emperor penguins incubating their young and closes with the birth of the chicks. The show follows seasons and animals from one end of the earth to the other. David Attenborough reads a very informative text but it is the shots of the change of seasons and the aerial shots of migrating animals that simply blow you away.
Mountains looks at planet earth’s highest summits. The second episode on Volume 1 of the series begins at the Danakil Depression in Ethiopia where a mountain is forming. Even the BBC’s best stop motion photography cannot capture the millions of years this will take but the camera then goes to Ethiopia’s highlands where many rare species live. Also viewed are the Andes, the Rockies, and other major chains like the Baltoro glaciers. Especially cool is the in your face shot of the avalanche. The show includes the first images of a snow leopard in the wild and the shot of the mother snow leopard’s expression after she loses her prey is priceless.
The third episode on this Planet Earth DVD is Fresh Water. Pure eye candy cinematography again makes for a great documentary segment on the source of life. Especially beautiful in this segment is the scene at Angel Falls where water falls 1,000 meters and turns into mist. Of course, this documentary follows water as it flows from rain into the oceans of the world and back up again. The scenes in Lake Malawi with the cichlids are also way cool.
Each episode ends with Planet Earth Diaries, a behind the scenes how did they do that segment. It is very interesting stuff.
BBC Planet Earth ‘s one weakness is its music. Though there are some good musical choices here and there the score is often more bombastic than John Williams music.