Remember when those videos were just clips of cuttlefish "cuddling" while an old guy with suede elbow patches sitting in front of shelves filled with leather-bound books blabbed on about their scientific name and when they were discovered?
Rejoice, 90's children. THOSE DAYS ARE GONE.
Because for the first time ever, nature shows are awesome. Planet Earth, Life, Frozen Planet...basically anything made by the BBC. And don't try to tell me that anything else remotely competes. Disney Nature? Come on. (And generally speaking, I love all things Disney.) Even the Planet Earth version with Sigourney Weaver narrating does not measure up. David Attenborough wipes the floor with that redheaded giant.
Here are some reasons why I believe nature shows are better than ever before:
1) They ditched the interviews.
What? But your "expert" won three Nobel prizes? That's adorable. Now we have ALEC BALDWIN. Jack Donaghy taught me about narwhals the other day. No amount of 80's haircuts or bowties (ironic or otherwise) can beat that. Celebrity voiceovers for the win. (This could get dicey if we ever let the wrong people be in charge of picking the voiceover talent. But I trust the BBC. British people are smart. They won't let me down...right?)
2) High definition.
I think this was the boost nature shows needed for them to soar into awesomeness. Brilliant colors. Details. Nature's not so amazing when it's pixelated. Or when it has one of those static lines running across it every five minutes. (Remember "tracking?")
3) Time-lapse magic.
Proof that slow and steady wins the race. I think they filmed Planet Earth over the course of about 5 years. Guys sat in little camouflage lean-to's for days at a time to catch a glimpse of a bird decorating his home for the ladies. They left cameras in the same exact place for months so that we could watch a creepy fungus grow straight through an ant's head in a matter of seconds. That kind of dedication pays off.
4) Fun animal names.
Nature videos used to only cover animals you'd at least heard of. Whales. A starfish or two. Cheetahs. But now, due to the vast array of "never before captured on film" moments BBC has managed to get (see aforementioned dedication and lean-tos), we have the opportunity to discover lots of new animals with fun names. Wooly Bear Caterpillars and Snot-Nosed Monkeys are my favorite so far. (I think that is actually supposed to be "Snub-Nosed," but Attenborough has an accent and I choose to believe he's saying "snot.")
5) They have harnessed our short attention-spans.
I think they accomplish this by moving around the globe every 10 minutes or so and not focusing too long on one animal at a time. That was probably the mistake the old videos made (among many). No one wants to watch giraffes eat leaves for 30 minutes. We want to watch a Wooly Bear Caterpillar speed-wrap a cocoon in 15 seconds. We want to watch an African elephant save her baby from the mud and then hop on over to South Asia to see a monkey crack a nut with a rock. BBC gets this about us. Apparently the UK understands us better than we understand ourselves.
What's your favorite animal you've seen on a nature show? (Don't act like you never watch them.)