TV Review: ‘Our Planet’ With David Attenborough

Variety | 4/5/2019 | Caroline Framke
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You’d be forgiven for believing “Our Planet” is just another “Planet Earth.” Not only is it from the same creator as BBC America’s landmark series in Alistair Fothergill, but it is also narrated by the soothing tones of David Attenborough, the voice that has guided “Planet Earth” and its oceanic sister show “Blue Planet” for years. (Other narrators include Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz, tapping in to guide Spanish language viewers in Latin America and Spain, respectively.) And just like “Planet Earth,” the eight episodes of “Our Planet” focuses on specific environments — from forests to high seas to “frozen worlds” and beyond — with gorgeous, jawdropping shots of the Earth’s most beautiful, intriguing, inscrutable, surprising wildlife.

But there is one crucial, stark difference between “Planet Earth” and “Our Planet” that makes the latter a more necessary update than initially meets the eye. While “Planet Earth II” wove the increasingly undeniable evidence of climate change into its fabric, particularly with its stunning and ambitious “Cities” episode, “Our Planet” makes it unavoidable by shoving it front and center. If “Planet Earth” is a celebration of the world, “Our Planet” is a call to arms to save it before it’s too late.

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Every episode opens with a satellite shot of Earth from the moon as Attenborough reminds us that the human population has doubled in the last 50 years alone, and that the planet has been in dire straits ever since. Every episode opens and closes with pressing facts about just how devastating the damage truly is. An astonishing sequence in the premiere (the all-encompassing “One Planet”) shows enormous glaciers crashing into the sea. The “Coastal Seas” episode reveals stark before and after shots of...
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