Forget Lions, PBS’ New Leopard Tale Is Just As Engaging, Entertaining as ‘The Lion King’ If Not Better

Courtesy: WNET/PBS/PBS Distribution

When Walt Disney Studios debuted its animated movie The Lion King in 1994, the movie became an instant classic for the studio and has remained a favorite in the nearly 30 years since its premiere.  As much of a hit as The Lion King remains, it is fiction.  All of this is being mentioned because this past April, PBS premiered a new episode of Nature that one could easily argue is a counter to that movie in the form of The Leopard Legacy.  Released to DVD in June, now audiences can enjoy this presentation anytime.  The story featured in this nearly hour-long episode of Nature forms its foundation and will be discussed shortly.  The story featured in this episode is just one part of what makes it worth watching.  Its cinematography adds to its appeal, too, and will be discussed a little later.  The story’s transitions and pacing round out the program’s most important elements and complete its presentation.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the program.  All things considered they make The Leopard Legacy another interesting episode of Nature and a presentation that is as good as The Lion King if not better.

The Leopard Legacy is an interesting new episode of PBS’ long-running wildlife series, Nature.  While the program centers on a pair of big cats covered in spots, it is a presentation that is anything but spotty.  Yes, that awful pun was intended.  All jokes aside, it is a powerful, memorable episode of Nature.  That is proven in part through its central story.  The story in question follows a mother leopard and her son as they grow together in Africa’s Luangwa River Valley.  The story is just as good as Disney’s timeless 1994 animated movie The Lion King if not better.  That is because this story of survival is real.  There are no unnecessary musical numbers, catch phrases, etc.  Audiences will be moved as the leopardess Olimba searches for her lost daughter, only to have to realize she is gone.  It makes the connection between Olimba and her growing cub, Makumbi that much more engaging.  The love that is shown between mother and son is engaging and entertaining to say the very least.  Noma Dumezweni’s narration is just as notable here as she tells the story of the pair’s life together.  Not to give away too much, but there is a confrontation between mother and son late in the story that is in such contrast to the love shown earlier in Makumbi’s life that it really becomes a truly shocking moment.  The details of that confrontation will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.  The aftermath of that confrontation does its own share to keep viewers engaged because of its surprising nature.  When this aspect of the overall story is considered against everything else noted here and the story of Makumbi’s own development as a hunter, the whole makes this near hour-long episode of Nature a completely engaging and entertaining story that is as good as any existing episode of the series.  The story at the center of The Leopard Legacy is just part of what makes this episode of Nature so strong.  The cinematography presented here adds its own appeal to the story.

The cinematography noted here is so important because of the aesthetic value that it adds to the story.  The footage capturing mother and son’s separate hunting is a prime example of the importance of that aspect.  Viewers will find themselves actively watching as Olimba hunts and catches a fleet-footed denizen of the valley.  The precision with which she approaches the hunt and kill is so powerful.  Audiences will be completely engaged as they watch Olimba stalk her prey methodically and then eventually chase and make the kill.  On a similar note, watching Makumbi try and try again to catch a stork is just as powerful.  The big reason that these moments are so engaging is not just the moments, but also how they are captured.  The moments are presented in regular speed.  There is no unnecessary slow motion effect used in any instance.  It would have been so easy to get schleppy and go that route – many existing Nature episodes have done so, too – but thankfully that did not happen here.  It is an aesthetic element, but it makes the story that much more immersive.

The footage of the duo hunting and killing is just part of what makes the cinematography stand out.  The general cinematography stands out just as much as that used in the noted moments.  What has to be assumed is drone footage used to show the impact of the rains on the valley does so well to show that vast impact.  Similarly, the wide ground shots of Olimba with a herd of elephants far in the distance creates a wonderful visual contrast in its own right.    Yet another wonderful shot comes as a flock of small birds takes to the sky together.  The birds are not trying to avoid danger.  They are just taking flight.  The mass of birds makes for its own interesting moment and just one more example of what makes the cinematography so important to the episode’s presentation.  It is just one more part of what makes the episode worth watching.  The collective transitions and pacing throughout the program puts the final touch to the episode.

The transitions and pacing is important because they are so smooth throughout the story.  This is exemplified early on in Olimba’s fight with a lone, nomadic leopard and discovery soon after that one of her cubs is gone.  The story moves fluidly from the noted conflict to the search for her missing cub.  Even from there to the realization that the unnamed cub is gone, the transition is solid.  As Makumbi grows, the transitions are just as solid.  Audiences see Makumbi first as a cub, and then as an adolescent, and then as an adult throughout the story.  Each stage of his life is separated expertly from one another.  At the same time, the story of mother and son’s development moves so smoothly and fluidly through each transition from stage to stage.  It all ensures collectively, that the story keeps viewers engaged and entertained throughout.  When this element, which is just as important as the story itself and the story’s cinematography, is considered with those noted elements, the whole makes clear why The Leopard Legacy is such an engaging and entertaining new episode of Nature.

Nature: The Leopard Legacy is a strong new entry to the long-running series.  Its appeal comes in large part through its story.  The story is simple yet so powerful.  That is because it is a story of family and survival.  It is real, natural drama unlike so much of what is on television today.  The cinematography that accompanies the story adds to the episode’s appeal.  That is because of the various angles that are used on the ground and in the air.  It also avoids the trope of using slow motion where it otherwise could have.  That makes for a certain amount of respect in its own right.  The story’s transitions and pacing put the final touch to the presentation.  They keep the episode moving fluidly from start to end.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of this episode of Nature.  All things considered, they make the episode one more of this year’s top new documentaries.  It is available now.

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

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‘Nature: Big Bend — The Wild Frontier of Texas’ Continues To Show Why ‘Nature’ Is One Of PBS’ Prime Series

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

Big Bend National Park is one of the most stunning locations within North America’s national parks system.  Covering more than 1,200 square miles in Texas and Mexico, the park features geological structures that date back eons.  It is also home to countless animal species on two and four legs.  The park faced great peril in 2020 due to now former President Donald Trump’s attempts to have a border wall built on the land.  Thankfully, outcry from officials in the region and Trump’s defeat in the 2020 election prevented the delicate park — which was established in 1944 – from being upset by those plans. PBS took audiences on a powerful trip through the park in February in a then new episode of its long-running, hit wildlife series, Nature titled Big Bend: The Wild Frontier of Texas.  The episode was released on DVD last month through PBS’ home distribution arm, PBS Distribution.  For those who have yet to watch this episode of Nature, it is another welcome edition to the show’s already extensive body.  A big part of what makes this episode so engaging and entertaining is its central story.  It will be discussed shortly.  While the story itself is so engaging and entertaining, the cinematography leaves just a little bit to be desired.  That is not to say that the cinematography is a failure.  There is much to like here, but at the same time, it does have a bit of a shortcoming.  It will be discussed a little later.   Considering the impact of the noted content, the DVD’s average price point proves just as important to note as the content.  It will be discussed later,   too.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of this episode of Nature.  All things considered, they make Nature: Big BendThe Wild Frontier of Texas more proof of why Nature remains one of PBS’ most respected and beloved shows.

PBS’ long-running wildlife series Nature is and has been for a long time, one of the network’s most respected and revered shows.  Big BendThe Wild Frontier of Texas is yet another example of why the series has its noted positive reputation.  That is proven in part through its story.  The nearly hour-long story takes viewers on a cinematic journey through the park, which is one part of North America’s extensive national parks system.  It follows just some of the animal life that calls the park home over the course of a year, starting and ending with a black bear’s journey into the park.  Along the way, the story presents other life, such as an acorn woodpecker (Yes that is really the bird’s name), hummingbirds, bighorn sheep, and various lizard species.  The story, narrated by famed actor Thomas Haden Church (Spiderman 3, Sideways, Wings), also takes time to note the human impact on the park and its wildlife, as well as how the land on which it sits once belonged solely to the people of Mexico.  The discussion is a bit of a digression from the central story, but is still a necessary aspect of the overall story.  That is because as is noted, the land actually crosses international borders between Texas and Mexico, meaning the land still belongs at least partially to Mexico.  Getting back on topic, it should be noted that there is some footage of the bighorn sheep (and one of the lizard species) mating.  So some parental discretion is advised even here.  Overall, the story is relatively simple, and in turn, simple to follow.  That simplicity in itself and the equally simple topic makes for plenty of engagement and entertainment.  It is just one part of what makes this episode enjoyable.  The episode’s cinematography does its own share to impress viewers, too.

The cinematography exhibited throughout Big BendThe Wild Frontier of Texas is for the most part, impressive.  The rich colors of the expansive desert landscape, with all of its towering rocky structures, its river ecosystem, and all of its other aspects are so enthralling in themselves.  Watching thunderstorms make their way across the park, lightning and all, makes for its own powerful statement through the cinematography.  At the same time, the way in which the cameras capture a Pallid Bat (which is all white) capturing its prey under the cover of darkness is its own engaging visual, too.  On a similar note, the visual of a large bird of prey coasting through the air, the rich colors of the rocks in the distance behind the bird, is yet another powerful visual.  Between these visuals and so many others, the episode’s cinematography offers much for audiences to appreciate.

At the same time that the cinematography offers so much engagement and entertainment, it also poses one problem.  The problem in question comes from what feels like an overuse of slow motion videography.  There is a high usage of high-speed frame rates in the scenes involving the region’s winged creatures.  Those scenes are not the only ones in which the high frame rate approach is used, though.  The scenes in which the bighorn sheep are competing during mating season also see a lot of high frame rate usage.  This even happens as viewers watch raindrops from the noted thunderstorms fall on lizards that crawl along the park’s dusty ground.  It is one thing to adjust the cameras’ frame rates here and there.  Using this approach as much as was done in this episode though, came across as a bit of overkill, and in turn detracted significantly from the overall viewing experience.  Even with this in mind, it is not enough to ruin the episode, even though it cannot be ignored.  Taking all of this into account with the episode’s story, that collective content makes the average price point for its DVD presentation its own positive.

The average price point of Nature: Big BendThe Wild Frontier of Texas is $20.99.  That price was reached by averaging prices at Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Books-A-Million, and PBS’ online store.  The listings at PBS, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and Books-A-Million are the most expensive, with each listing the DVD at $24.99 while all of the other retailers list the DVD well below the noted average, at $17.99.  Considering that the majority of the major retailers list this episode at less than $20, viewers will definitely call this a positive.  That is especially considering, again, the story and its accessibility, and its overall enjoyable cinematography.  All things considered, the average price point for the episode’s DVD presentation, its cinematography and story make this new offering yet more proof of what makes Nature one of PBS’ most respected and revered shows.

NatureBig BendThe Wild Frontier of Texas is a largely engaging and entertaining episode of PBS’ long-running wildlife series.  The episode’s story is simple, straight forward, and as a result accessible for any viewer.  What’s more, save for a couple of moments requiring some viewer discretion, it is a presentation that audiences of all ages will enjoy.  The cinematography that is exhibited throughout the nearly hour-long episode is impressive in its own right, too.  That is even with what feels like an over use of high speed lens work.  Keeping all of this in mind, the average price point for the episode’s DVD presentation proves to be its own positive.  Its average price point is $20.99, but most major retailers list it for far less than that price.  That means it will not break any viewer’s budget.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the episode in its new home release.  All things considered, they make the episode another welcome entry in what is one of PBS’ prime series.  Nature: Big BendThe Wild  Frontier of Texas is available now.

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

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‘Brushfire Rescue’ Is Another Nice Addition To PBS’ ‘Nature’ Series

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

Australia, like America, goes through its own fire season each year.  Some seasons are more intense than others in each nation.  Australia experienced its worst-ever brushfire season between August 2019 and January 2020, with thousands of acres scorched on the mainland and Kangaroo Island, one of the nation’s islands.  The fires and their damage made headlines around the world.  While the damage and the efforts to extinguish the blazes made headlines around the world, the efforts to rescue the fires’ four-legged  victims received far less coverage, that was until PBS’ presented a profile of those efforts last year in a new episode of its wildlife series, Nature titled Australian Brushfire Rescue.  That episode was released to DVD Jan. 12, ensuring even more that those efforts would get the attention they deserve.  The nearly hour-long episode is a presentation that will move any viewer.  That is due in large part to that central story, which will be addressed shortly.  The cinematography builds on the engagement established through the episode’s story and does its own part to keep viewers watching.  It will be discussed a little later.  Keeping the overall content in mind, its average price point proves to be its own positive.  It will also be discussed later.  When it is considered along with the episode’s overall content, the whole becomes a presentation that any animal lover will find worth watching at least occasionally. 

PBS Distribution’s recently released DVD presentation of Nature: Australian Brush Fire is a work that audiences will find both powerful and moving.  The episode is such an engaging presentation in part because of its central story.   The story in question recounts how employees and volunteers of agencies across Australia worked between late 2019 and early 2020 to save animals impacted by brushfires spawned during the nation’s worst brushfire season on record.  It is a story that was covered nowhere near as much as the efforts to extinguish the blazes.  That is until now.   Viewers will remain engaged as workers do their best to save koalas whose homes were destroyed by the fires and who were themselves injured by the flames and heat.  Audiences will openly say, “awwwwww” watching as another volunteer works to rehabilitate a pair of adorable, young wombats during the program.  On a completely opposite note, some tears might be shed as yet another worker has to euthanize a pair of kangaroos who have been too badly injured by the blazes.  Viewers are even taken into the canyon-filled region of Austrlia as workers try to help cliff-dwelling wallabies whose food sources were destroyed by the fire, by providing them with carrots and sweet potatoes. The in-depth profile will itself engage viewers.

The profile of workers’ efforts to rescue animals impacted by the Australian brush fires of 2019-2020 is itself moving and powerful.  There is no denying this truth.  It is just one part of what makes the story appealing.  The subtle note of climate change and humans’ impact on the natural process plays into that appeal, too.  The story does find moments to raise the noted elements and their role in the fires.  However, when those moments come about, they avoid being preachy.  This is important to note because there are some Nature episodes that do get preachy with that message.  It is very much a turn-off for viewers.  So for this program to still incorporate the inconvenient truth of the matter without being preachy in the process, is deserving of its own recognition.  Together with the noted profile of the workers’ efforts to save animals impacted by the historic brushfires, these two elements join to make the story featured here reason enough to watch this episode.  Making the episode even more interesting is its cinematography.

The cinematography featured in Australian Brushfire Rescue adds to the program’s interest because of the power in the footage.  Everyone has already seen the footage of the flames that spread across Eastern Australia.  Some of that footage is here, too, but it is limited.  Rather in this case, viewers see the aftermath of the fires.  Seeing the barren, charred landscape of Kangaroo Island in comparison to its former green beauty is its own powerful visual.  Adding in the knowledge that the island was once home to dozens of animal species, many now either living elsewhere or worse, makes the visual even harder hitting.  On another hand, watching a random woman rushing to help soothe a koala burned by the fires is its own powerful moment.  It is another example of that love that people have for their four-legged friends.  Audiences are also taken high above the Australian outback in even more powerful cinematography during this story.  The powerful aerial imagery comes as helicopters make their way through the rocky, canyon-filled region to get food to wallabies that populate the region.  The footage from high above the region gives an even wider view of the fires’ impact.  It is a visual that is certain to stick in viewers’ minds in its own right.  Between that visual, the others noted here and the rest of the episode’s cinematography, this aspect in itself provides for its own share of engagement.  When that engagement is considered along with the engagement ensured through the episode’s story, that whole more than makes the episode worth watching.  It also ensures that the money spent on the episode’s DVD presentation is well-spent.

Speaking of the episode’s pricing, the DVD’s average price point is $21.48. That price was obtained by averaging prices at Walmart, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and PBS.  It was not listed (ironically) through Amazon, Books-A-Million, and Target.  That those retailers do not have listings against which to compare the available prices is what drove up that price point, so while the noted average seems high as is, this factor  must be taken into consideration here.  Had those other retailers had the DVD listed, the noted price would likely have been less, as long as the other retailers’ prices were in the range of the prices listed at Best Buy and Walmart.  Speaking of those retailers’ prices, Walmart’s listing of $17.96 is the least expensive of the available prices.  Best Buy’s listing of $17.99 is right there with that of Walmart, barely topping Walmart’s price.  Barnes & Noble Booksellers and PBS each list the DVD at $24.99, far exceeding the average price point.  Even with that in mind, audiences still have two relatively inexpensive options to buy the DVD.  The money spent at those retailers will still see a portion of sales return to PBS for such positive programming.  To that end, the average price point – from available listings – and the noted less expensive listings will not necessarily break anyone’s budget.  Additionally, the story and visual content featured in the DVD proves the less expensive prices are worth paying, too.  All things considered, the DVD offers plenty of appeal.  That appeal will leave viewers agreeing the DVD is worth watching at least occasionally.  

PBS’ new Nature episode Australian Brushfire Rescue is a presentation that audiences will find an interesting addition to the hit wildlife series’ run.  That is due in part to the DVD’s main feature.  The main feature tells the lesser-told story of the historic 2019-2020 Australian brushfire season.  That story is that of the efforts to save the animals impacted by the fires.  It is a story that few, if any, major news networks covered during the outbreak and even after.  The cinematography that is presented throughout the story adds its own touch to the presentation.  It ensures viewers’ engagement in its own right because it is not just the nonstop footage of the fires that shot across those noted news feeds daily between August 2019 and January 2020.  The content featured in the DVD makes its average price point relatively appealing in its own right, all things considered,  When this element is considered with the DVD’s overall content, the whole makes this episode another welcome occasional watch for fans of PBS’ NatureNature: Australian   Brushfire Rescue is available now.

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

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To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘Primates’ Is One Of The Most Memorable Episodes Of ‘Nature’ In Recent Memory

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/WGBH

PBS Distribution’s recently released Nature episode Primates is one of the most enjoyable entries that the hit long-running wildlife series has produced in recent memory.  Produced in partnership with the BBC, the nearly three-hour episode was released on DVD Jan. 26.  The two-hour, 40 minute episode succeeds so well in part because of its overall story, which will be discussed shortly.  The story’s segmentation is just as important to its success as the story itself.  It will be discussed a little later.  The program’s cinematography puts the finishing touch to its presentation and will also be discussed later.  Each item addressed here is important in its own way to the whole of the episode.  All things considered, they make Primates the new front runner in this year’s list of best new documentaries.

Nature: Primates is among the best recent episodes of PBS’ hit, long-running wildlife-based series.  Additionally, it is among the best new documentaries released on DVD so far this year.  That is proven in part through the nearly three-hour-long episode’s central story.  The story in question centers on the various species of primates that populate the planet, what makes them unique from one another, and what they all have in common.  Audiences will be surprised to learn that hundreds of various species of primates live all across the world, from China, to Africa’s various nations, to Sumatra, to various regions of South America and so many other regions.  There are chimpanzees, macaques, lemurs, baboons, drills, and so many other species around the globe, as viewers learn through the story.  It truly is incredible to learn how many species of primates populate the planet and the very range of their habitats.  What’s more, learning about the adaptations that each species uses as well as their personalities adds even more interest to the central story.  Case in point is how certain species actually have developed the ability to use “tools” in order to do something as simple as crack open oysters and eat them.  At the same time, viewers will be just as surprised here, to learn that the species in question is actually overextending its resources (the oysters) just like humans have overextended our resources over centuries.  That is certain to create plenty of discussion in itself.  On another note, viewers will be interested to learn that another species uses its tail as an extra “hand” as it swings across the treetops of its habitat.  As if that is not enough, viewers will be just as intrigued to learn about the similarities between certain primate mating habits and those of humans.  

Learning about the various species of primates and their unique adaptations goes a long way toward making Primates a memorable episode of Nature.  Learning about their unifying factor – their social behaviors – makes for its own share of engagement and entertainment, too.  Viewers will be quite interested to learn about the family and community bonds that primates share from species to species.  Watching a group of spider monkeys excited to help a mother care for her newborn – including doing their part to get rid of a python hanging in a tree near the group – will make viewers say “awwwww” while also leaving them in awe.  That awe applies also as a family of primates in Africa fights off a leopard just to protect one of its own.  Just as interesting to watch is how another primate, forced out of it group, is actually “welcomed back in” under cold conditions so that it can stay warm along with the rest of its group.  That clear sense of care and concern, even despite the old primate’s age, is so amazing to experience.  It is yet another sign of obvious intelligence among primates.  It reminds audiences, along with the other noted examples and others not directly noted here, that humans need to check themselves at   the door so to speak.  It serves to remind humans that just because we consider ourselves “more evolved” than other living beings does not necessarily mean that we are more evolved.  There are clearly other creatures that are just as intelligent as us if not more so.  Keeping all of this in mind, the way in which primates operate collectively is just as certain to keep viewers engaged and entertained as all of the information about the hundreds of primate species that live around the world and their adaptations.  Even with this in mind, there is still another element to examine, and that element is the episode’s segmentation.

Audiences who purchase the DVD will note that the episode in whole clocks in at approximately 160 minutes.  That is equivalent to two hours, 40 minutes.  That is not a short run time, which goes without saying.  Thankfully, considering the overall length of the program, it is divided into three separate segments.  Each segment runs approximately 53 minutes in length, as its own episode within the bigger overall episode.  The separation means that audiences can watch the segments at their own pace.  They can go to the refrigerator or the bathroom between segments, or they can watch when they want and never feel overwhelmed.  This ensures that audiences will recall information from each segment easier.  It also means in the end, that audiences will be more inclined and encouraged to watch all three segments.  To that end, there is no doubt about the importance of the episode’s segmenting.  Together with the depth of the overall story, the two elements collectively go a long way toward making this episode of Nature so enjoyable.  Now as much as the episode’s content and segmentation do to make the episode appealing, they are still not all that makes the DVD a success.  The episode’s cinematography rounds out its most important elements.

As audiences learn about the hundreds of primate species that live around the world, their adaptations and the very human-like way in which they live, they are also treated to some truly stunning visuals.  The wide shots of the canopies over jungles in South America, showing primates making their way across the treetops create such a powerful impact.  There is something special about seeing the green treetops against the blue sky, primates making their way through the treetops.  The ground-level shot of another primate species breaking open oysters as waves crash nearby in Sumatra makes for its own share of engagement and entertainment.  Maybe it is because of the color balance.  Maybe it has something to do with the frame rate or maybe even the very high quality of the footage.  Regardless, the fact of the matter remains that this sequence is just as visually appealing as the story told during the sequence.  In yet another notable sequence that comes early in the episode’s lead segment, a silverback gorilla relaxes with his offspring as the narrator explains the deliberate move.  Watching him endure everything from his rambunctious offspring is just like watching any human father, with his kids using him as their own playground.  The moment must be seen to be believed, but will have viewers just as engaged and entertained as any other scene because of its simplicity.  It is a truly touching moment, what with all of the close-ups of the group just lazing about, and just one more example of the impact of the episode’s cinematography.  When it is considered along with the rest of the episode’s cinematography, the episode’s overall content, and segmentation, the whole of those elements makes this episode one of the most memorable episodes of Nature to come along in some time.

Nature: Primates is one of the most enjoyable episodes of the long-running wildlife-based series that has come along in recent memory.  That is due in part to its central story, which covers a lot of ground.  The story introduces audiences to the vast multitude of primates that live around the world and their adaptations before showing how the primates, regardless of where they live, all seem to have a sense of family and community.  All of this is sure to keep viewers watching throughout each of its three segments.  Speaking of the segmentation, that approach is a positive in that it will encourage audiences to watch the whole presentation by allowing them to watch at their own pace.  The cinematography rounds out the most important of the episode’s elements.  The visuals that are captured throughout the program make for their own enjoyment.  When it is considered along with the episode’s overall content and segmentation, the whole makes the DVD well worth watching and a presentation that more than deserves a spot among this year’s top new documentaries.  Nature: Primates is available now.

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

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To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘Nature: Santa’s Wild Home’ Is A Museum Quality Documentary

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

The holiday season has come and gone once again, but don’t tell the people at PBS and PBS Distribution.  That is because early last month – Jan. 5 to be exact — PBS Distribution released a new gift for eyes and ears in another new episode of PBS’ hit wildlife series Nature in the form of Nature: Santa’s Wild Home.  The 53-minute presentation takes viewers to Lapland, Finland, also playfully called “Santa’s Home.”  It gained that moniker because of all of its snow and reindeer, and has been associated with Santa since approximately 1927.  This episode of Nature is an interesting presentation because it is anchored more by its cinematography than anything else.  This will be discussed shortly.  While the cinematography goes a long way toward making the program appealing, the story adds a tiny touch more enjoyment.  It will be discussed a little later.  The narration of that story builds even more on its appeal and rounds out the most important of the episode’s elements.  It will also be discussed later.  Each item addressed here is important in its own way to the whole of the episode’s presentation.  All things considered, they make this episode of Nature a gift on DVD that any Nature fan will appreciate.

PBS Distribution’s recently released home presentation of Nature: Santa’s Wild Home is a gift that any Nature fan will appreciate whether on Christmas or any other time of the year.  That is proven in large part through its cinematography.  Viewers will wonder at the powerful visuals of Lapland, which is the northernmost region of Finland.  It is in fact part of the Arctic Circle.  The time lapse photography of the northern lights shining bright in the region’s night sky is so powerful, seeing the lights not only in the sky, but reflecting in the water below.  The aerial shots of the reindeer being herded make for their own appeal.  It is so interesting to see the reindeer moving together, moving along so steadily.  On yet another note, the footage of the humpback whales breaching in the waters off the region’s coast is simply awe-inspiring.  Those shots are taken at the water level, from what one has to assume were from the deck of a boat.  Being so close up to the action adds to that moment’s entertainment even more.  Watching a Great Gray Owl coast down onto the snow, as simple as it is, is impressive, too.  One has to wonder about the frames per second rate that was used to capture this moment as the owl’s wings help it glide in and catch its prey in the snow.  Even the aerial footage of the region’s fjords makes for its own appeal, too.  The whole comes across as a visual experience that is perfectly fit for a large, widescreen.  As a matter of fact, one can’t help but wonder in watching all of these images, if the initial presentation was recorded in IMAX.  It is that powerful, overall, and makes for a solid foundation for the overall presentation.

While the visual aspect of Nature: Santa’s Wild Home does a lot to make the program so engaging and entertaining, the story that accompanies the visuals adds perhaps slightly more.  To be precise, the story in question is not even really much of a story.  It is really just a profile of all of the wildlife that call Lapland home.  As noted, there are humpback whales and Great Grey Owls.  Along with them, there are also Orcas, bears, wolves, and of course plenty of reindeer.  Audiences learn through the program’s “story” about the competition for resources between the wolves and bears during the colder, snowy months of the year, as well as the dangers that even other bears face from the larger males.  Additionally, viewers get to watch a mother Great Grey Owl raising her young.  That part of the “story” offers audiences some light hearted moments as the adolescent owl grows up.  Narrator Scott Brick even makes a joke here that will garner some laughs from viewers.  The joke in question is subtle and will be left for viewers to discover for themselves.  Speaking of the narration, it works with the cinematography to put the finishing touch to the presentation.

Brick’s narration is so calm throughout the course of the episode.  Yet the color that he uses in his delivery and the very wording and pacing that is used ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment even more.  Whether Brick wrote his own script or it was written for him is unknown, but regardless it does so much for the presentation.  It takes a program that is otherwise little more just a visual treat and makes it a rich, enthralling work that is up there with some of the best museum quality documentaries.  Between Brick’s work, that of those who captured the episode’s footage, and those who edited the whole thing and assembled it all, the presentation becomes a work that is a unique gift for fans of Nature.

PBS Distribution’s home release of Nature: Santa’s Wild Home is a presentation that is as good as any museum quality documentary.  It might not necessarily be overly memorable in the long term, but is still an impressive presentation in its own right that is worth watching at least occasionally.  That is proven in part through the episode’s cinematography, which forms the episode’s foundation.  The cinematography is a visual treat for audiences and is sure to keep viewers engaged and entertained throughout.  The “story” at the episode’s heart is a profile of the animals that call Lapland home.  It doesn’t really tell a story per se, but at least builds a little on the cinematography.  The narration featured in this episode rounds out its most important elements.  The narration provides a certain nuance to the episode that when paired with the cinematography, helps to make this episode a strong and visual experience that holds its own against any museum quality documentary.  Nature: Santa’s Wild Home is available now.

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

Websitehttp://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/PBSNature

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/PBSNature

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

PBS Crafts Another Of 2021’s Top New Docs in New ‘Nature’ Episode

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

Back in 2015, National Geographic and Virgil Films followed the efforts of workers at the Wolong Panda Center in China to protect and breed pandas in the then new documentary Pandas: The Journey Home.  The 40-minute presentation followed the center’s employees as they worked to not only protect the bears, but also prepare them for a life in the wild.  The efforts were aimed at helping increase the still low population of pandas.  Fast forward six years and audiences have gotten another such program, this time from PBS in the form of the Nature episode Pandas: Born to be Wild.  Released on DVD Jan. 5, the new profile proves to be an admirable companion piece (of sorts) to the aforementioned documentary.  That is due in part to its story, which will be addressed shortly.  The cinematography featured in the 53-minute episode builds on the program’s appeal.  It will be discussed a little later.  Noting everything else, the run time and pacing collectively round out the program’s most important elements here.  They will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the episode.  All things considered, they make the episode another enjoyable edition of Nature.

Nature: PandasBorn to be Wild is yet another strong addition to the long-running series that audiences will find enjoyable.  Not only that, but it is also a presentation that every nature and animal lover in general should see at least once.  That is proven in part through its central story.  The story in question follows the efforts of workers at a panda sanctuary in China’s Qinling Mountains to breed and release pandas into the wild.  It is very similar, stylistically, to the story in National Geographic and Virgil Films’ 2015 documentary Pandas: The Journey Home.  The main difference between the two documentaries is that the earlier documentary focused on pandas at another of China’s 40-plus panda centers.  To be precise, it focuses on the efforts undertaken at the Wolong Panda Center in the Chengdu Mountains.  This story meanwhile takes place at another center in the Qinling Mountains.  Audiences will be interested to learn about the lengths to which the center’s employees go in order to prepare pandas raised at the facility for life in the wild.  From dressing up as pandas and squirting themselves with panda urine (yes, you read right – simply so they can check the health of a baby cub – to keeping 24/7 watch on the pandas through a series of cameras, to even simply minimizing contact with the bears (so as to let them act as naturally as possible), the lengths to which the center’s employees go are great, and are aimed at helping the pandas…well…be pandas.  There is a lot of cuteness throughout the nearly hour-long program as the (thankfully) unnamed cub grows and learns how to be a panda.  Audiences will laugh as the narrator points out the cub’s “struggles” to grow and become independent of its mother.  That is because its actions are so much like those of an adolescent human.  At one point, the cub (at the equivalent age of a human teen) seems like it is finally becoming independent, but then regresses, not even able to figure out how to properly do something as simple as eating bamboo shoots.  It doesn’t seem funny on the surface, but in reality is funny because, again, it is so much like so many human teens.  At other points, the actions of the cub’s mom almost exactly mirror those of a human mother, making for its own share of entertainment and engagement.  The mother panda, in one of those points, grabs at her cub as he tries to climb a tree.  The noises that she makes as she tries to stop her cub from climbing a tree let viewers know (along with the narrator) that she does not want her baby climbing but so high.  This moment will bring plenty of smiles and laughter.  That the narrator points out her babying of her own baby (much like so many human moms) will bring its own share of laughs.  Something as simple as that ensures audiences’ engagement even more.

For all of the cuteness that takes place in the panda center, there is also much observation of the few wild pandas in the mountains that is more serious.  These moments help create a clear juxtaposition for viewers, pointing out how much work the protected cub has to do before it is ready for the wild.  Staying on that note, there are some semi-blurry scenes involving pandas mating in the wild here.  To that point, these moments are not kid friendly, so some viewer discretion is advised.  Otherwise, the rest of the program will find appeal among most audiences through its story, which follows the cub’s growth and development.  Making the story even better is the fact that audiences do not have to endure any preaching about environmentalism in this episode, unlike so many past episodes.  That is the best note of all here.  There is so much more in the story for audiences to enjoy.  Audiences will be left for viewers to discover on their own.  Keeping that in mind, the story is just one aspect of this episode that audiences will enjoy.  The cinematography featured in the episode adds its own appeal.

The cinematography featured in Nature: Pandas Born to be Wild is stunning to say the very least.  The wide shots of the mountain valley will leave audiences in awe throughout the seasons, for starters.  Watching a large male panda get so close to the camera crews in the mountains at one point makes for another awe-inspiring moment.  Thankfully the large male does not attack the camera crew, but seeing it so up close in the wild is a powerful moment in is own right in terms of the cinematography.  The many moments shared between the mother panda and her cub – including the sweetest moment early on in which she cradles her newborn — make for their own engagement and entertainment.  Between these moments and others, the cinematography featured in this episode of Nature makes for so much visual entertainment.  Together with the episode’s story, the two elements collectively enrich the episode even more.  They are just a portion of what audiences will find appealing, too.  The program’s collective pacing and run time round out its most important elements.

As has already been noted, Nature: Pandas Born to be Wild clocks in at 53 minutes, which is the typical run time for most of the series’ episodes.  There is actually a lot going on in this episode’s story considering the comparison of how pandas in the wild live and how the featured panda cub lives.  The story’s end will not be revealed here since it is not the most important aspect.  What is important to note is that the transitions between the panda center and the wilds of the Qinlin Mountains is steady and stable throughout the course of the noted run time.  That stability in the transitions ensures in its own right, that the program’s pacing remains stable, too.  It is the cornerstone of the overall story of the panda cub’s growth, which again is so entertaining and engaging just because that story will find audiences laughing and “awwwing” throughout.  That aspect and the stable transitions together keep the story moving fluidly throughout the episode, putting the finishing touch to the program.  By story’s end, audiences will feel fulfilled.  To that end, this element is the final touch to the program’s presentation.  Together with the cinematography and the story itself, all three elements make the program in whole another standout episode of Nature.

Nature: Pandas Born to be Wild is a presentation that audiences will agree is another enjoyable addition to the long-running wildlife series’ body of work.  Its central story, which follows the growth and development of a young panda cub in the Qinlin Mountains of China does well to compare his development versus how wild pandas live.  What’s more, it avoids any unnecessary preachy environmentalist message.  The cinematography featured along with the story adds to the episode’s engagement and entertainment.  The story’s collective run time and pacing put the finishing touch to the episode’s presentation.  Thanks to those elements, audiences will never feel left behind or overwhelmed, which is another positive.  Each item noted here is important in its own right to the whole of this episode of Nature.  All things considered, the episode in whole proves to be another example of what makes Nature such an enjoyable program.  They make this program easily one more of 2021’s top new documentaries.

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

Websitehttps://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/PBSNature

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/PBSNature

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

PBS Proves Again, Its Importance In Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Documentaries List

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/WNET

Documentaries, it would seem, are more important in today’s world of television and movies than ever before.  What with the seeming never-ending ocean of prequels, sequels and remakes being turned out by the major movie and television studios, and the equally endless ocean of dumbed down “reality tv” competition shows and dramas being turned out by television studios, documentaries are now the last way for audiences to get anything original, let alone truly engaging and entertaining.  To that end, it goes without saying that there is just as much for a list of the best new documentaries each year as for any other category.  Keeping that in mind, Phil’s Picks has created just such a list once again this year.  As with past years, this list is composed primarily of titles from PBS, the very last bastion of truly family friendly and worthwhile programming.  They come from PBS’ most beloved and respected series, Nature, Nova, and Secrets of the Dead.  One is even a standalone presentation that will appeal equally to lovers of cats and dogs.

As with each past year’s list of top new documentaries, this year’s list features the Top 10 new documentaries and five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15 titles.  Without any further ado, here is Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Documentaries.

PHIL’S PICKS 2020 TOP 10 NEW DOCUMENTARIES

  1. Nature: Okavango: River of Dreams
  2. Secrets of the Dead: Abandoning The Titanic
  3. NOVA: Guess Who’s Driving
  4. Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool
  5. Secrets of the Dead: Bombing Auschwitz
  6. NOVA: Why Bridges  Collapse
  7. Cat and Dog Tales
  8. NOVA: Rise of the Mammals
  9. NOVA: Dead Sea Scrolls Detectives
  10. NOVA: A To Z: The First Alphabet/How Writing Changed The World
  11. ZZ Top: That Lil Ol’ Band From Texas
  12. NOVA: Secret Mind of Slime
  13. Nature: Bears
  14. NOVA: Human Nature
  15. NOVA: Decoding DaVinci

Next up from Phil’s Picks is 2020’s Top 10 New Family DVDs & BDs.  Stay tuned for that.

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and ‘Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

‘Okavango — River of Dreams’ Is The Best Episode Of PBS’ Series ‘Nature’ So Far This Year

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/WNET

The Okavango River is one of Africa’s most important and one of the world’s most important and awe-inspiring bodies of water.  Instead of flowing out into the ocean, the river flows inland through Botswana and toward the Kalahari Desert.  The river creates a virtual paradise for the animals that live in the desert’s hostile environment while also being a virtual Eden in its source and its delta.  Now thanks to PBS Distribution, audiences can take a journey along the river with the animals that migrate along its length and that call the river home in the new episode Okavango: River of Dreams.  The nearly three hour documentary, released Jan. 7, is an engaging and entertaining presentation in part due to the information that is featured throughout its three segments.  That information will be discussed shortly.  Speaking of the segments, the fact that the two-hour, forty-minute program is presented in three separate segments is another key aspect to its presentation.  It will be discussed a little later.  The cinematography featured in this episode of Nature is also worth noting, and will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is key in its own way to the whole of this program.  All things considered, they make it one of the year’s best new documentaries even despite the unnecessary preachy pro-conservation message featured in the episode’s finale.

OkavangoRiver of Dreams is an awe-inspiring presentation that is among the best new Nature episodes released so far this year and among the best new overall documentaries so far this year.  That is proven in part through the story at its center.  The story in question is that of the Okavango River, and its role as the center of a much larger ecosystem.  Audiences will remain engaged and entertained as they watch the river course its way from its source, into its delta and into the dry, arid desert land where it ends, at least until rains fall to give those lands new life.  Learning of the role that elephants play in the river’s course and even that some seemingly natural foes – hyenas and warthogs – actually find some moments in which they live peacefully at times is enlightening.  Seeing the lengths that some animals go to for survival at the far, drier end of the river is just as enlightening, as those behaviors prove to be quite similar to human behaviors, in terms of survival of the fittest.  Simply watching the interactions of the overall ecosystem of the Okavango River is in itself enlightening. From the hierarchies of the cat families (lions and leopards) to the influence of elephants on the whole of the ecosystem to the sheer vast number of species is another key portion of the program’s informational aspect.  Between all of this and so much more, the general content of this episode of Nature gives audiences so much to appreciate.

While the content featured throughout the course of Okavango River of Dreams does a lot to make this episode engaging and entertaining, it is just one of the presentation’s important elements.  The fact that the nearly three-hour program is broken up into segments ensures even more, audiences’ engagement and entertainment.  The program is broken up into three distinct segments – “Paradise,” “Limbo,” and “Inferno” – a la Dante’s epic poem.  The whole thing starts at the best point in the river’s extension, “Paradise.”  As the rive flows through the African continent, resources begin to become less, leading to more competition for resources and survival.  That moment is “Limbo.”  The river’s end near the Kalahari Desert is the “Inferno.”  It is the harshest point for all of the creatures that rely on the river for life.  The far southern end of the river is a point at which the water becomes far less available for creatures above and below the waves.  Each segment has a distinct beginning, middle and end.  Viewers are not forced to sit through the story in one whole watch.  This is important to note because in segmenting the story, it allows viewers to take the story at their own pace.  That ability to take in the story of the river and its ecosystem ensures even more, that audiences will be more focused and in turn engaged as they watch each segment.  So while this might not seem all that important on the surface, it is of great importance in the bigger picture.  What’s more, the pacing within each segment partners with that segmentation to add even more certainty that audiences will remain engaged and entertained throughout the program overall.  Keeping in mind the impact of the episode’s pacing and segmentation along with the general content, the whole of this presentation is even stronger.  They are not the program’s only key elements.  The cinematography featured throughout the episode puts the finishing touch to its whole.

The cinematography that is featured throughout the course of OkavangoRiver of Dreams is award-worthy to say the absolute least.  Whether it be the aerial shots from high above the African continent, the close ups of animals wading through the river’s waters, the creatures of the deep (so to speak) who live in the river or even the smooth, seamless shots of the river that flow just as smoothly as the river itself, every one of those shots does its own part to keep viewers engaged and entertained, too.  The program may be presented on DVD, but the footage is so rich and full of life and color, as if it was shot in high definition.  Whether watching the flamingos take to the skies in “Inferno,” the elephants make their way along the river in all three segments and big cats working to survive all along the river while also training their cubs, audiences are given the best seat in the house while feeling like there are immersed in the program thanks to the cinematography.  The blue skies set against the dry, cracked ground at the river’s end creates such a stark contrast that creates its own powerful impact for audiences.  The slow motion shots of gazelles bounding through the river’s waters is moving in its own way, too.  Simply put, the cinematography featured throughout the course of this episode of Nature is just as important to its presentation as the episode’s primary content and its segmentation.  When all three elements are considered together, the whole of those elements makes this presentation a work that is the best episode of PBS’ Nature so far this year and one of the year’s top new documentaries so far, too.  That is even despite the inclusion of the completely unnecessary preachy pro-conservationist message pushed at the finale of the program and also the equally confusing inclusion of Marilyn Manson’s cover of The Eurythmics’ ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)’ at the beginning and end of each segment.  Yes, it actually incorporates Marilyn Manson into its whole.  Again, even with this in mind, the program in whole is still worth the watch.

PBS’ presentation of Nature: OkavangoRiver of Dreams is one of the best of the series’ episodes so far this year and easily and one of the year’s top new documentaries.  That is evidenced in part through the general content that makes up the body of the episode.  It is rich in its own right, as has been pointed out here.  The fact that the nearly three-hour program is separated into three distinct segments will encourage audiences to watch the program in whole, and in turn ensure even more, audiences will remain engaged and entertained.  The cinematography featured throughout the program round out its most important elements.  The only real negatives to the whole are the fact that once again, that unnecessary preachy pro-conservationist message is there and the inclusion of Marilyn Manson’s cover of The Eurythmics’ ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).’  One can’t even begin to figure out what necessity had for the program.  That was just a poor choice as there is no connection between that song and this program in terms of content.  What’s more, audiences who watch Nature know that we need to care for planet Earth and all of its ecosystems.  We do not need to be preached at time and again.  The people behind Nature have got to get this through their heads and stop letting that preaching get into every episode.  Save the preaching for one episode of the program.  People watch this show to learn and to be entertained, not to be preached at.  Now, getting back on track, even despite the two noted negatives, this program still boasts so much to its positive that it is still well worth the watch time and again.  It is available now on DVD.  More information on this and other episodes of Naure is available online at:

 

 

 

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/PBSNature

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

PBS’ New ‘Nature’ Episode Is A ‘Big’ Success

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/WNET

Nature is full of giant creatures, and in a new episode of its hit wildlife series Nature, PBS is introducing audiences to some of nature’s biggest beasts.  Nature: Nature’s Biggest Beasts was released on DVD Jan. 14.  The hour-long episode takes viewers around the world, presenting the biggest of the big and even the biggest of the small.  That central aspect of the DVD forms the program’s foundation, and does a good job of doing so.  As interesting as all of the discoveries are throughout the episode, the program is not perfect, sadly.  The program’s final statement detracts from the episode, but thankfully not to the point that it makes the episode unwatchable.  This will be addressed a little later.  While the program’s finale does detract from its whole, it is the program’s only negative.  There is at least one more positive to note in examining the episode.  That positive is the episode’s pacing.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the episode.  All things considered, they make Nature: Nature’s Biggest Beasts its own “big” hit.

Nature: Nature’s Biggest Beasts is its own big, successful presentation.  That is due in large part (no pun intended) to its central story.  The hour-long program takes viewers around the world, offering audiences introductions to the biggest of the biggest and biggest of the small beasts.  From the giraffe, which has to position itself just right in order to be able to get a drink of water, to a certain kind of leech, which can eat other invertebrates, to a giant octopus, which can eat other sea life twice its size and more, the program’s central feature serves as a good starting point for so many biology lessons from high school onward.  The program takes audiences into the treetops and skies and even below the waves time and again, wasting little time along the way.  That matter, that of the program’s pacing, will be discussed later.  The central story will surprise many viewers as it introduces them to creatures that they otherwise might not have ever known about.  Case in point are the specific species of bats, beetles and even crabs featured within the program.  On a side note, the crab that is introduced in this program looks a lot like the one who held Maui’s hook in Disney’s Moana.  One can’t help but wonder if that real life crab served as the model for that character.  Getting back on the topic at hand, the various beasts that are introduced throughout the course of Nature’s Biggest Beasts and what makes them so intriguing more than gives audiences reason to take in this episode of NOVA.  That ensured engagement forms a solid foundation for the DVD.

For all of the strength that Nature’s Biggest Beasts gains through its central presentation, there is one problem with this episode that cannot be ignored.  That problem is presented, go figure, at the episode’s end.  As viewers are introduced to the corals that make up the Great Barrier Reef, the narrator makes a direct statement about appreciating and protecting all of nature’s beasts, whether they are the biggest of the big or the biggest of the small.  This is important to note because in hindsight, the whole episode essentially rounds out to one big preachy presentation.  The thing is that the preachy aspect was so covertly incorporated into the program.  It would have been so easy to have not had that element added to the mix, but the fact that it was put in at the very end results in that lasting impression that audiences really are sitting through one big statement story.  That realization that audiences will experience can and does leave a bad taste in some viewers’ mouths so to speak.  Keeping that in mind, this is a detriment to the episode’s presentation.  It is not so bad that it makes the episode unwatchable.  Regardless, it is an element that cannot be ignored.  Luckily for the episode’s sake (and for that of everyone involved in the episode’s creation), this negative is the program’s only con.  Its pacing works with its central presentation to make it that much more worth watching.

The pacing of Nature’s Biggest Beasts is key to note because over the course of roughly an hour, a lot of ground (and water – yes, that awful pun was intended) is covered.  From Africa to North America to Asia to the Atlantic and even to the Arctic, viewers are taken around the globe.  Considering how many regions and animals are examined, it would have been so easy for the pacing to get out of control and leave viewers behind.  Thankfully, that did not happen here.  For all of the material that is presented throughout, each beast and each region of the world gets just enough time.  The transitions from one segment to the next adds to the positive impact of the program’s pacing.  The two elements collectively do just enough to ensure viewers are able to keep up with everything, and in turn to ensure that they gain a certain appreciation for what makes each big beast so intriguing.  That time and thought that was incorporated into the program’s pacing and the transitions clearly paid off.  Considering the successful result of that material and the engagement and entertainment ensured through the presentation itself, the two elements do a lot to make it another positive offering from PBS.  That is even with the issue of the preachy message that was so covertly included in the program.  All things considered, Nature’s Biggest Beasts proves to be a possible candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new documentaries.

Nature: Nature’s Biggest Beasts is an engaging and entertaining new episode of PBS’s hit wildlife series that deserves consideration for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new documentaries.  That is due in part to the wide range of animals and areas that are covered throughout the course of the program.  The program’s pacing and its related transitions, which play into the pacing, make the program that much more worth the watch.  The one negative from which the episode suffers is the covert inclusion of the episode’s preachy message about conservation.  Yes, we as viewers know that we need to take care of the earth and its many great creatures.  The last thing we need in watching such an other wise enjoyable program is to be preached at.  The fact that the program’s script saves that preachy message until its end is really slick. It makes the episode in whole seem like one giant preachy message in whole, which detracts from its presentation.  Thankfully, the impact is not so negative that the episode is unwatchable.  It can’t be ignored either, though.  Keeping all of this in mind, Nature: Nature’s Biggest Beasts is a big success.  It just could have been even bigger if not for that unnecessary, covert preachy aspect.  Either way, it is an episode of Nature that is well worth the watch even with its one con.  The DVD is available now.  More information on this and other episodes of Nature is available online at:

 

 

 

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/PBSNature

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

PBS Delves Into The Realm Of Bears In New ‘Nature’ Episode

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/WNET

Bears are among the world’s most awe-inspiring creatures.  From the powerful grizzly bear, to the sloth bear to the polar and panda bears and beyond, bears are key to so many ecosystems around the world. Now later this month, PBS Distribution will present a new profile of the world’s various bear species in the apty titled Nature episode Bears.

NatureBears is  scheduled for release Jan. 28 on DVD and digital.  The hour-long program does more than just profile bears and the adaptations the help them survive.  It also examines the impact of humans on that ability to survive.

The trailer for the program is streaming online here.  The DVD will retail for MSRP of $24.99, but can be ordered at a reduced price of $19.99 through PBS’ online store.

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

 

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

 

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/PBSNature

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.