PBS’ Nature Shines Again With Moose–Life Of A Twig Eater

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

PBS and PBS Distribution are set to release another new episode of PBS’ hit wildlife series Nature today.  NatureMooseLife of a Twig Eater will be released today on DVD.  The latest addition to the series’ list of episodes to be released to DVD so far this year, it is another wonderful presentation showing why Nature is the top wildlife program on television today and why PBS is, once again, the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television today.  This is exhibited in a number of ways in this episode, not the least of which being the episode’s central story.  The story follows a group of moose in Canada and the U.S. in order to find out what might be causing the recent sharp decline in moose populations in North America .  The journey, presented firsthand by cinematographer and narrator Hugo Kitching, takes viewers along with him in Canada and with researchers in Minnesota as they follow two distinct groups of moose in their efforts to get answers.  Kitching’s narration plays its own important part in the whole of this episode, too.  It’s rare to note a narrator’s role in such a program.  But in the case of this episode, the narration is hugely important to its presentation.  Last but hardly least of note is the episode’s stunning cinematography.  Each element plays its own important part in the whole of the episodes.  Altogether they make NatureMooseLife of a Twig Eater one of 2016’s top new documentaries.

Nature: MooseLife of a Twig Eater is one more clear candidate for any critic’s list of 2016’s top new documentaries.  It is also more proof as to why Nature is television’s leading wildlife series and why PBS remains today the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television.  This is proven in large part by the program’s central story.  The story in question sees narrator and cinematographer Hugo Kitching following a moose and her calves in the wilds of Canada while another group of researchers follows another group of moose in Minnesota .  The story is one that for the most part is easy to take in.  There is no footage of animals mating or even animals killing one another.  That sounds minor.  But the reality is audiences see a lot of that even in any number of Nature episodes.  Luckily, again, there is none of that here  At the very worst audiences see the end result of wolves attacking one of the calves that Kitching is following.  And at another point, audiences see the Minnesota researchers having to put down a moose that has been ravaged by brain worm.  Those two moments are as difficult to see as is that of the cow (female moose are in fact called cows, believe it or not) chasing her own young out of the proverbial nest upon becoming pregnant with her next calf, only in another way.  The whole point of the story is to follow the lives of the moose in question and see if they survive the cold winter season and the first year of the calves lives.  That is all because of the rapidly declining moose population in both regions, which as viewers learn is not because of human interference but because of environmental factors.  That is one of the most intriguing pieces of information that is revealed in the program’s central story.  Instead of pointing the finger at humans, it points it squarely at extraneous, environmental causes.  That information and everything else that is shared as Kitching and the others follow their respective moose makes the program’s story one that will keep any biologist, nature lover and fan of Nature engaged in this story from beginning to end.  It is just one part of what makes this episode of Nature so enthralling.  The narration on the part of Kitching is just as important to the episode as its central story.

The central story presented in Nature: MooseLife of a Twig Eater is in its own right an important part of the program.  That is due to the unbiased information delivered over the course of its roughly hour-long run time.  That information is just one part of what makes this episode of Nature so engaging.  The narration on the part of Hugo Kitching is just as important to the program as the story and its content.  Narration usually is not something that most people would factor into a presentation such as this.  But the reality of the matter is that Kitching’s narration is in fact quite important.  That is because unlike with so many other wildlife programs and even other episodes of Nature, Kitching’s narration is so accessible even for the most casual viewer.  He speaks to viewers in a casual, conversational tone that even the most casual viewer can understand and that will in turn keep viewers just as engaged.  In the same vein, there’s no sense of pretense in his voice.  It makes his narration even more engaging, proving even more why it is such an important part of the program’s presentation.  Together with the unbiased, straight forward presentation the commentary adds another layer of enjoyment to the episode and in turn even more reason that this episode stands out so much among this year’s crop of documentaries so far.  It is not the last way in which the documentary proves itself such a standout presentation either.  The program’s cinematography is just as important as its narration and its central story.

The story that lies at the center of Nature: MooseLife of a Twig Eater and the program’s narration are both key to the episode’s overall presentation.  The story is unbiased all the way around.  There is no preachiness about human impact on the moose population.  Rather it comes across from a fully observational, unobtrusive fashion that aims to keep up with the moose in Canada and in Minnesota .  It even points out directly that the moose populations are being affected by parasites more than anything else.  Narrator/cinematographer Hugo Kitching plays his own important part in the program thanks to his unassuming, easily accessible narration.  He doesn’t come across as one of those uber-academic types at any point in his narration.  Rather he speaks in a fully simple, conversational tone that even casual audiences will enjoy and appreciate.  Even with its importance it is not the last element worth noting in this episode of Nature.  The episode’s cinematography rounds out its presentation.  And to say that its cinematography stands out is being humble.  There are stunning aerial shots of the Canadian wilderness in which Kitching is following the moose that will leave viewers breathless.  Those shots include wide shots of the region’s valleys, snow-capped mountains, and rivers captured by the program’s camera crew.  Kitching’s ground shots of the region’s forests are just as powerful.  This applies both in the winter season and spring.  The contrast of the bright, white snow to the deep hue of the evergreens and blue skies overhead in winter is something to truly behold.  In the same vein, the lush greenery of the area during spring and summer is just as rich.  Kitching is to be highly commended for his ability to so beautifully capture the beauty and majesty of the area over the course of his year there as are his fellow cinematographers.  These are just some of the examples of what makes the program’s cinematography stand out.  There are also incredible go-pro shots from Kitching as he tracks the moose that provide their own interest. The third person footage captured in Minnesota as the is just as impressive.  All in all, the camera work presented over the course of this episode of Nature proves just as invaluable to its presentation as Kitching’s simplistic narration and the episode’s fully engaging story.  When all three elements are set together they show once and for all why Nature: MooseLife of a Twig Eater is yet another enjoyable installment of PBS’ hit wildlife series.  In turn it shows why PBS remains today the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television.

PBS released recently released what was at the time its best episode of Nature so far this year when it released Nature: Natural Born HustlersNature’s Best Con Artists.  That episode of Nature was released just earlier this month.  Now another outstanding episode has been released in the form of Nature: MooseLife of a Twig Eater.  This episode is a great follow-up to that episode.  Between its wholly engaging story, its easily accessible narration and its breathtaking cinematography it boasts so many positives.  Even within each noted element there are plenty of smaller positives that could be noted.  And audiences will see it all for themselves when they order this episode of PBS’ hit wildlife-based series on DVD.  It is available now and can be ordered direct via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=87689536&cp=&kw=nature+moose++life+of+a+twig+eater&origkw=Nature%3A+Moose+%C3%82%C2%96+Life+of+a+Twig+Eater+&sr=1.  Audiences can view a trailer for this episode online now via PBS’ official YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlQbZni5Mww.


Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution


More information on this and other episodes of Nature is available online now at:



Website: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PBSNature

Twitter: http://twitter.com/PBSNature



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