Despite what the title may imply, Alien Worlds doesn’t spend that much time on other planets. In fact, that hook is simply there to draw eyes in and entice you to watch. Instead, Alien Worlds keeps its feet firmly grounded on Earth to look at different lifeforms and their various quirks and unique traits. This is then coupled with different think-tanks to gain an understanding of how these species could be adapted to live on other planets.
While this is interesting, as a self-professed geek when it comes to natural history, I can’t help but feel a lot of people will come away disappointed after thinking we’d spend more time on alien exo-planets than we actually do.
Those going into this expecting something akin to a David Attenborough documentary set on different alien worlds will undoubtedly come away feeling disappointed. Given the 2005 documentary Alien Planet tackled this exact same premise, the ideas in this pale compared to what that series did despite some interesting facts and figures.
Most of this docu-series spends its time exploring different landscapes around Earth and the animals that live in extreme climates. From rites of passage in tight-knit family groups of meerkats through to single-cell organisms living in the hottest places on Earth, these segments ultimately make up the bulk of run-time here.
When we do get to the different alien worlds, the graphics are fantastic and there’s a decent draw distance too. The colours are varied, vibrant and the species are excellent rendered and look really realistic. Most of the scenes here though revolve around a simple prey VS predator hook.
On top of that, each episode only really showcases one or two alien species instead of examining a whole bunch of different creatures and how they live together.
The fourth episode also exists in a sort of bubble outside the other three, falling back on the tired trope of robots and AI. It’s a shame too because while these planets look incredible, there’s actually more flora and fauna variation in fantasy movies like Avatar and The Dark Crystal.
The result then is a scientifically rooted documentary that spends most of its time on Earth, examining and exploring our planet with the odd gaze up to the stars once in a while. For some, this will be perfect and there’s a lot of interesting facts about creatures on Earth that you may not know.
For those with more knowledge on natural history and have watched various documentaries on the topic over the years, Alien Worlds really doesn’t do anything all that special. That’s a real shame too given the potential this has to be a breakaway hit on Netflix.
People will undoubtedly check this out thanks to the teasing trailer and various thumbnails, but in reality this series pales compared to the 2005 effort on Discovery Channel. Alien Worlds is not a bad documentary but it’s not a particularly good one either, instead existing somewhere within that large void of mediocrity.