The majestic images of Netflix's newest nature documentary series, "Our Planet," show audiences the complexity of earth's animals and nature, but also dive deeper into ongoing environmental issues. Released April 5, its eight episodes center around an array of environments, from jungles to deserts to coastal seas and more.
It was announced in 2015 that the crew behind BBC’s nature show “Planet Earth” would create a docuseries for Netflix. Four years later, “Our Planet” was released as a Netflix original and is the first of its kind, since nature shows typically air on BBC, the Discovery Channel or Animal Planet.
In just eight episodes, “Our Planet” takes viewers to a variety of places around the world. Audiences are exposed to shots of a Brazilian rainforest, Mexico’s Gulf of California, frozen scenes near Antarctica, a Norwegian archipelago, South American jungles and African deserts.
People have already compared “Our Planet” to other nature documentary shows like “Planet Earth.” Although both shows are narrated by David Attenborough, a famous English natural historian, and produced by Alastair Fothergill, the two documentaries have significant differences.
“Our Planet” throws common issues — such asclimate change — into the forefront and makes the message known to viewers, while “Planet Earth” does so in a more subtle way and isn’t as in-your-face about it.
“Our Planet” begins each episode with a satellite image of earth, while the narrator repeatedly tells viewers that the planet has been in a crisis because of the drastic growth of the human population. The start and end of each episode doesn’t fail to tell the audience urgent facts about how severe the damage is. Pressing images of glaciers melting and what the wasteland coral reefs have become are a constant reminder of how the planet is suffering.
Each episode ends with the narrator urging viewers to visit OurPlanet.com, where they can learn more about how to protect the animals that were shown in vulnerable states. Each episode presents a narrative that makes viewers feel like they need to visit the site and start contributing to repairing their planet that’s suffering due to the environmental crisis
Nature shows and documentaries usually offer a peaceful escape into the breathtaking images of the natural world, but the creators of “Our Planet” are brutally honest about ongoing environmental issues. Viewers are held responsible for their actions and how they’ve contributed to the rise of these problems.
Although Netflix’s documentary series focuses heavily on the human detriment to the planet, it also shows viewers the beauty of the world and how intriguing animals are in their natural habitats. These images make people realize that the nature surrounding them is worth preserving.
Some of the most beautiful shots include large groups of penguins waddling through the snow, cheetahs running freely through the desert, a bright blue kingfisher bird slowly emerging from the water, bald eagles flying high over majestic scenery and massive polar bears digging through the snow.
It’s safe to say the four years Fothergill spent shooting in 50 countries with over 600 crew members for Netflix’s series have paid off. These memorable and vivid shots left a lasting visual impression on viewers and nature lovers.
“Our Planet” isn’t a typical nature show that primarily satisfies viewers with pretty images and scenery. It has an activist tone that attempts to leave an impact on whoever watches it. The documentary makes people take a step back and realize they risk losing the natural beauty of their world if they don’t start taking action soon.
Contact Vanessa Nikolic at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.