‘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:

 

 

 

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‘Nature: Bears’ Largely Successful In Its Presentation Of The World’s Different Species Of Bears

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PBS’ popular wildlife series Nature has, over the years, brought audiences countless hours of educational and entertaining content about animals and ecosystems from around the world.  From the plains of Africa to the waters of the Great Barrier Reef to the highest peaks of the Andes, the series has done so much for audiences.  Now with a mutated flu running rampant around the globe and causing so much unnecessary fear, panic and closures, the program is needed more than ever.  That is because even zoos, where people might otherwise be able to be exposed to many of those animals and ecosystems, are among the many places closed as a result of that unnecessary fear and panic.  So where else to be exposed to nature and wildlife in general than in PBS’ long-running series?  In one of its most recently released episodes, Bears, the program takes a look at the different species of bears that roam the world.  The surprising revelations about the different species form a strong foundation for the program.  It will be discussed shortly.  While that engaging content does a lot to help this episode of Nature, it should be noted that there is one negative to the whole.  That one negative is once again, is the preachy message about conservation pushed into the program’s final minutes.  This is not the first time that this has happened with an episode of Nature, and is something that needs to stop.  It will be addressed a little later.  Getting back to the positive, the program’s collective pacing and transitions round out its most important elements.  They work with the episode’s content and makes it well worth watching even despite the unnecessary preaching pushed into the episode’s final moments.  Keeping that in mind, Nature: Bears proves to be another overall positive episode of Nature.

Nature: Bears, one of the latest releases from PBS’ popular wildlife series Nature, is a welcome presentation for audiences everywhere in a time when panic and fear over COVID-19 has caused so much unnecessary closure nationwide.  It serves to expose audiences to a variety of bears that they otherwise might not have been exposed to at the zoos and other wildlife facilities that are now closed.  That introduction to the different species forms the program’s foundation.  Audiences are introduced to familiar bear species, such as black bears, grizzly bears and polar bears over the roughly hour-long episode as well as perhaps less familiar species, such as the sloth bear and the spectacled bear.  Not only are viewers introduced to all of those species of bears, but they are also introduced to the things that make each bear unique.  For instance, viewers learn that the polar bear’s sense of smell is 20 times stronger than that of a bloodhound, and that it can smell its prey as deep as three feet beneath the ice.  Also of interest in the program is the revelation that the sloth bear is able to avoid the pain of solder termites’ pincers when it breaks down termite colonies because of the construction of the bear’s mouth.  In regard to the grizzly bears, viewers learn that they learn through what is essentially modeling.  The cubs learn how to hunt for fish, for instance, by watching their mother.  That is very similar throughout the animal kingdom.  On another note, audiences also learn in watching the program that bears scratch their backs on trees, not because their backs itch, but because of territorial marking.  So, as funny as it is to watch, it actually serves a key purpose in the lives of bears.  All of this is just a snapshot of everything that is discussed throughout the course of Bears.  When it is considered along with the content that was note addressed here, the whole of the program’s main feature proves to be worthwhile presentation for audiences of all ages.  Even when the discussions on bears mating and hunting come up, the content is largely edited, so viewers don’t have to worry about covering their children’s eyes or fast forwarding at any point.  To that end, it makes the program that much more accessible for viewers.  All things considered, the content featured in Nature: Bears builds a strong foundation for this program.  Of course for all of the positives presented through the DVD’s content, it is difficult to ignore its one negative element, the unnecessary preaching about conservation at the program’s end.

As Nature: Bears nears its end, narrator Olga Merediz begins reading lines that make statements about the danger that many bears are in, such as the polar bear because of global warming.  At another point prior, she reads a message about how deforestation endangered panda bears in Asia.  Yes, we know global warming is a problem.  There is no denying it.  There is also no denying that deforestation globally is a problem.  However, being that the rest of the program did so much to educate and entertain, having that element to close out was not necessary.  It ruins an otherwise enjoyable program because of its preachy nature.  Please do not misunderstand the statement being made here.  There is no doubt that global warming should be addressed.  There is no doubt that the deforestation that nearly wiped out the panda bears is still very much of concern.  However, as important as they are, there is a time and place for everything, and a program that is otherwise presented solely as an educational piece does not need to include preachy messages about environmentalism at any point.  That should be saved for another time and perhaps another episode of Nature that is dedicated entirely to the issue facing the planet. For an episode that is supposed to focus on animals, that preachiness should not be there.  This is not the first time that this has happened in an episode of Nature, and likely isn’t the last either.  Hopefully though, the people at PBS will take this into consideration for future episodes of Nature.  Now as much of a detriment as that preachiness is to this episode of Nature, it doesn’t make the program unwatchable.  The collective pacing and transitions that are used throughout the program make the primary content even more engaging.

The pacing and transitions that are used throughout the course of Nature: Bears is so important because it is these elements that keep the program flowing from start to end.  Considering the number of species of bear featured throughout the program and what makes each species unique from one another, there is clearly a lot of content presented.  Just enough time was given to each species and its abilities and adaptations from one to the next.  As each species’ focus gives way to focus on other species around the world, the transitions are seamless.  Audiences are never left behind and are never left feeling like the transitions are stark.  Everything is fluid throughout the program.  That fluidity and the steady pacing ensures that audiences will be largely, if not fully, engaged in this episode of Nature from start to end.  When this is taken into account with the power of the program’s content, that certainty of engagement and entertainment is strengthened even more.  That is even despite the one issue of the unnecessary environmentalist message pushed so hard in the program’s final moments.  Keeping that in mind, Nature: Bears proves itself another largely positive episode of what is one of PBS’ most notable series.

Nature: Bears, released on DVD Jan. 28, is another largely positive presentation from PBS’ long-running wildlife series.  It takes viewers around the world, profiling various species of bear and their unique adaptations and abilities.  Along the way, its pacing and transitions do a lot to make even more certain that viewers will remain engaged and entertained.  Even with the unnecessary environmentalist preaching at the episode’s end, those positives still make the program largely a positive presentation.  It is available now.  More information on this and other episodes of Nature is available online now at:

 

 

 

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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

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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

 

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PBS Distribution “Goes Big” With New ‘Nature’ Documentary

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/WNET

Nature is full of giant creatures, and in a new episode of its hit wildlife series Nature, PBS will introduce audiences to some of nature’s biggest beasts.

NatureNature’s Biggest Beasts is scheduled for release Tuesday on DVD and digital.  The hour-long program examines how the Komodo Dragon uses its powerful bite to maintain its place in its ecosystem.  It also examines how the giraffe has to work extra hard to control its blood pressure as a result of its height.  As if that is not enough, the program presents the Blue Whale’s ability to eat up to four tons of krill daily in order to keep a full stomach.

Mammals are not the only creatures featured in PBS’ latest episode of Nature.  Even some of the largest animals in the insect world — the finger-length giant hornets of Japan — receive their own focus during the course of the presentation.

NatureNature’s Biggest Beasts 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 online at:

 

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

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/PBSNature

 

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PBS Takes Audiences On A Journey Along The Okavango River In New ‘Nature’ Episode

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/WNET

The Okavango River is one of Africa’s most important 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.

Now in a new episode of NatureOkavangoRiver of Dreams, PBS examines the river and its part in the region’s ecosystem.  Along the course of the journey along the river, viewers watch an injured lioness left for dead by her pride as she recovers and tries to care for her cubs.  Audiences also see warthog families sharing dens, protecting one another from predators, such as lions and leopards.

NatureOkavangoRiver of Dreams is retailing 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 online at:

 

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

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/PBSNature

 

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Two New ‘Nature’ Docs On The Way This Month

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/WNET

PBS Distribution will release two new episodes of its hit wildlife series Nature on DVD this month.

NatureA Squirrel’s Guide To Success is scheduled for release Jan. 22.  The episode delves into the world of squirrels, examining just a handful of the roughly 300 species that exist today, such as the fox squirrel, Arctic ground squirrel and the red squirrel.

Audiences learn about the abilities and adaptations that have helped squirrels survive for eons in their various environments over the course of one hour. Those abilities and adaptations include, but are not limited to, being able to glide through the air, the ability to make astounding leaps and extensive memory.

NatureA Squirrel’s Guide To Success will retail for MSRP of $24.99, but can be pre-ordered now at a reduced price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store.

 

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/WNET

NatureDogs in the Land of Lions is scheduled for release Jan. 29.  Filmed over the course of two years, the program follows a family of African dogs. The family is led by the mother — named Puzzles — after her mate — Jigsaw — is killed by lions, the African dog’s biggest enemy.  The moving presentation of motherhood and family loyalty exhibits what sets wild dogs apart from other large, social carnivores.

NatureDogs in the Land of Lions will retail for $24.99, but can be pre-ordered now at a reduced price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store.

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

 

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

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/PBSNature

 

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History, Military History Buffs Alike Will Appreciate ‘SOTD: Hannibal In The Alps’

Courtesy: PBS

The journey of Carthaginian General Hannibal Barca along the French Alps en route to his conquest of Rome, which included 30,000 troops, 15,000 horses and 37 war elephants, is one of the most talked about stories in history.  While the perilous journey has been well documented and talked about over the course of thousands of years, one thing has not been known about that fateful journey is how exactly he and his forces made it across the Alps.  That is until now.  PBS delves into that story in a new episode of its hit history-based series Secrets of the Dead.  Originally aired this past April, the roughly 50-minute program follows a group of researchers as the group works to tell once and for all how Hannibal and his forces managed to cross the Alps in just 16 days en route to the noted attack.  The story of the team’s research, which lies at the center of this episode of SOTD, is its cornerstone, and gives viewers more than enough reason to watch.  While the story of the team’s research on Hannibal’s journey goes a long way toward making this doc well worth the watch, it is missing at least one key element – the answer as to why Hannibal took his chosen path.  It is a minor detail, but still would have added even more depth to the story.  It will be discussed later.  The program’s overall pacing rounds out the program’s most important elements.  It will also be discussed later. Each noted element is important in its own right to the whole of Secrets of the Dead: Hannibal in the Alps.  That will be proven through a discussion on each topic.  All things considered, the noted elements make this episode of SOTD one that will interest military history aficionados and history buffs in general.

Secrets of the Dead: Hannibal in the Alps is a fully engaging new episode of PBS’ hit history-based series.  It is a presentation that is certain to appeal just as much to military history aficionados as it is to students and lovers of history in general.  That is proven in part through the story at the center of this program.  The program’s central story focuses on researchers’ efforts to determine which route Hannibal Barca took with his troops over the French Alps in order to attack Rome.  Over the course of the program’s roughly 50 minute run time, viewers learn that the records of Hannibal’s perilous journey were indeed true.  They also learn the route in question.  What’s more, viewers learn that General Barca and his forces had not one, but at least four different routes from which to choose to get through the intimidating mountain range.  That is a little tidbit that is rarely if ever taught about Hannibal’s journey in schools.  It adds its own depth to the story, and in turn makes the story that much more interesting.  There is also ground research that proves in the long-term that route as well as an interesting revelation about why the war elephants were chosen in the first place.  Hint: It had to do with their feet and their ability to adapt to the weather.  That’s all that will be given away there.  There is even note of the losses incurred over the journey because of its danger.  That note is shared as one member of the research team follows the exact path taken by Hannibal thousands of years ago.  Yes, one of the team actually traces Hannibal’s path.  That is a key addition to the story, too.  Between that addition and everything else shared throughout the story, viewers get here, a presentation that is certain to keep military history buffs and history buffs in general completely engaged from start to end.  That being the case, it forms a solid foundation for the program.  Of course for all that the story presented here does for the program, it is lacking in one key area – the question of WHY Hannibal chose the path that he chose.

The question of why Hannibal chose the path that he chose is answered to a point at the presentation’s finale.  However, the answer isn’t necessarily an answer as it is more or less one of the team speculating than actually stating known fact.  In defense of those behind this program, maybe not enough information has ever been available as to why Hannibal chose the most difficult route possible.  Though, if said information is or has been available, then one is left scratching one’s head as to why this topic was not covered as part of the overall discussion on Hannibal’s journey.  That’s especially important to note because the program does note that the other paths that Hannibal could have taken were much easier than the one that he opted to take.  Regardless of whether or not the information was available to the researchers, the fact that the program largely ignores this key question detracts from the program’s viewing experience – not enough that it makes the program unwatchable, but it certainly would have been nice to at least have someone say that the noted question was researched, but no information was recorded in reference.  With any luck, maybe another episode of SOTD will focus more directly on that question so as to put the finishing touch to the story that was so sadly lacking here.  Moving past this, the doc’s sole con, the program’s pacing rounds out the program’s most important elements, and it does so to its own positive end.

Given, Hannibal’s journey through and over the Alps took only 16 days.  Maybe that is why he took the most difficult route.  Maybe it was the shortest route, albeit the most difficult.  Getting back on track, this program goes into quite a bit of depth as it shows the efforts to determine which route Hannibal took through the Alps.  There is even the noted tracing of Hannibal’s route.  Keeping that in mind, there is a lot of ground covered here both literally and figuratively speaking.  Even as much ground is covered here, at no point does the program ever get ahead of viewers or leave them lost.  Rather, just enough time is spent on each portion of the research with just the right emphasis on each element to keep the doc moving forward solidly.  Coming full circle, that solid pacing ensures each portion of the program gets its own share of attention.  The end result is pacing that does just as much good for the presentation’s whole as the story itself.  In reality, both elements work hand in hand.  When they are coupled, they make Secrets of the Dead: Hannibal in the Alps a presentation that, again, will appeal easily to history and military history buffs alike.

Secrets of the Dead: Hannibal in the Alps is a strong new episode of PBS’ hit history-based series.  It is a presentation that is certain to reach plenty of audiences especially now that it is available on DVD.  That is proven in part through the story of the research team’s efforts to figure out how Hannibal and his forces made their way through the French Alps en route to their attack on Rome.  The pacing of the story ensures even more, viewers’ engagement.  When those two elements are joined, they do plenty to make up for the lack of one key element – the answer to the key question of why Hannibal decided on his specific route.  Each element is important in its own right to the whole of Secrets of the Dead: Hannibal in the Alps.  All things considered, it serves as another reminder of why Secrets of the Dead is one of PBS’ best series and why history and military history buffs alike will appreciate the program.  Secrets of the Dead: Hannibal in the Alps is available now.  More information on this and other episodes of Secrets of the Dead is available online now at:

 

 

 

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SecretsPBS

 

 

 

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‘SOTD: Scanning The Pyramids’ Is A Rare Miss For PBS

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

The Great Pyramid of King Khufu is one of the most well-known and talked about landmarks around the world.  Known as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Great Pyramid has hidden so many secrets for centuries. So many methods have been used to try to decode the pyramid’s secrets, but so many mysteries still remain.  This past April, PBS presented a new program about the most recent efforts to uncover and answer some of those mysteries in a new episode of its hit history-based series Secrets of the Dead titled Scanning The Pyramids.  The story of those efforts is interesting, though honestly, does pose at least one problem.  It will be discussed shortly.  The visualizations and footage used to help tell the story do help at least to a point.  They will be discussed later.  The program’s pacing rounds out its most important elements.  That’s especially considering the other elements noted here.  Each element is important in its own right to this program.  All things considered, the noted elements make Secrets of the Dead: Scanning the Pyramids worth at least one watch.

Secrets of the Dead: Scanning The Pyramids is an interesting new addition to the rich history of PBS’ hit history-based series.  While not the series’ best offering, it is worth at least one watch.  That is due in part to the episode’s story.  The story starts out focusing on the efforts of a group of researchers to uncover and solve the mysteries of king Khufu’s Great Pyramid, but soon thereafter turns to the methods used to uncover one mystery in question – a single opening on the pyramid that had previously gone unnoticed.  Along the way, there’s a bunch of discussion on particle science and how it was used to determine that apparently there was something behind the entrance.  The thing is that there was no real answer as to what was behind the entrance.  To that end, this episode proves in the long run to just be another focus on the latest efforts to solve another mystery that remains unsolved.  What’s more, all the talk of particle physics and how they play into the efforts to figure out what may or may not be behind that entrance might go over most viewers’ heads and instead keep the attention of a very limited audience.  Along with all of this in mind, considering that the story focuses on the efforts to solve one mystery of one pyramid, the program’s title is not exactly fitting, either.  Rather, it is somewhat misleading.  Pyramids probably should have been reduced to the singular Pyramid instead of the plural in hindsight.  Keeping all of this in mind, the story at the center of Secrets of the Dead: Scanning the Pyramids proves to be worth at least one watch, but sadly proves in the end to be its own mystery even being worth one watch.  While the program’s story is somewhat problematic to its presentation, its footage and visualizations do help – to a point – to keep viewers engaged.

The footage and visualizations help keep viewers engaged as much as they do because they tend to help illustrate the importance of the methods.  For instance, watching the research of what the particle hits can do to help reveal what might be inside the pyramid shows how far research methods have come and what those methods can reveal.  On the same note, seeing the research team actually hard at work inside and outside the pyramid, working to get everything in place shows how important the project is to all involved.  There is even 3D technology of sorts used in the process.  That visualization alone is sure to leave viewers in awe while the internal and side scans of what is believed to be inside the pyramid will interest even the most novice of  Egyptian history buffs.  Keeping this in mind, the footage and visualizations do their own important part here to keep audiences watching.  They, collectively, are not the only important element that keeps viewers engaged.  The program’s pacing puts the final touch on the program.

Considering that this episode of Secrets of the Dead runs roughly 55 minutes and the amount of information shared over that course of time, the program’s pacing proves solid from start to end.  It would have been so easy for the program to get bogged down in its discussion on solar particles hitting Earth and their impact on the team’s research, but thankfully that didn’t happen here.  It would have also been easy to get bogged down in the pyramid’s many mysteries, but even that element was balanced with the program’s other elements, leading to just as much insurance of viewers’ engagement.  All things considered, each segment and every bit of information compliments the prior quite well.  The result is a program that moves fluidly from one element to another, thus keeping viewers at least partially watching, and more so if they are they program’s key audience.  When this is considered alongside the importance of this program’s visualizations and footage, the two elements do just enough to make this program worth at least one watch since the program’s story proves so problematic.  Keeping all of this in mind, Secrets of the Dead: Scanning The Pyramids proves in the end to be a program that, while not the series’ best entry, still worth at least one watch.

Secrets of the Dead: Scanning the Pyramids is an interesting addition to the rich history of PBS’ hit history-based series.  Its story shows that it is definitely aimed at a very specific target audience.  That’s rare for this series, too.  Thankfully, the program’s footage and visualizations couple with its pacing to do just enough to keep viewers engaged at least to a point that they make up for the story’s problems.  Keeping all of this in mind, while this program ultimately proves to not be the best entry from Secrets of the Dead, it is still worth at least one watch.  It is available now and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store.  More information on this and other episodes of Secrets of the Dead is available online now at:

 

 

 

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SecretsPBS

 

 

 

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

PBS Shows Even Other Animals Can Be Rebels In New Three-Part “Nature” Episode

Courtesy: PBS

Truth is, more often than not, stranger than fiction, and that is just as true when it comes to the animal kingdom as in any other aspect of life.  Audiences will see that for themselves firsthand this summer when PBS Distribution releases PBS’ new Nature documentary Natural Born Rebels on DVD.

NatureNatural Born Rebels is currently scheduled to be released on DVD June 5. The 159 minute (2 hours, 39 minutes) documentary presents to viewers some animals whose behavior seems so unbelievable, yet is very real.  That includes a crab that can’t help stealing, a chimpanzee who rules his group with an iron fist and even a rather amorous prairie dog.  As audiences will learn throughout the three-part series, these are just some of the surprising yet very real behaviors that animals display, too.

Over the course of the program, researchers reveal to viewers that these behaviors may be the key to survival in the animal kingdom.  NatureNatural Born Rebels will retails for MSRP of $24.99 and can be pre-ordered at a reduced price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store.

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

 

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