Seven Worlds, One Planet – Episode 1 “Antarctica” Recap & Review

 

A Changing World

Our Planet is one of the most wondrous places in the solar system. With perfect conditions for life, our blue world has become home to millions of creatures that have evolved and grown over time. Through the years, David Attenborough has been at the forefront of our celebratory look at the world around us, but as time progresses,so too does the threat of global warming and climate change. Following hot on the heels of Netflix’s nature documentary series, Seven Worlds, One Planet takes the best elements of Dynasties and Our Planet, combining them together to produce another dramatic and wondrous show exploring the natural world around us.

Narrated by David Attenborough, we begin with a look at how we’re changing the world around us. With melting ice-caps and increased pressure on natural resources, there’s never been a more important time to reveal the diversity of life on our seven continents. What better place to start to show this than the most hostile continent of all – Antarctica. Virtually nothing can live above ice and we begin with a heart-wrenching tale about seals.

It’s heartbreaking stuff but like a pendulum swinging between states, Seven Worlds quickly shifts the perspective over to lighthearted fun as St. Andrew’s Bay in Georgia sees King Penguins flocking together. Their young play, oblivious to the struggles and dangers around them, including elephant seals who battle for dominance during mating season. As slow-motion shots show off the sheer power and ferocious energy these behemoths possess, we’re also graced with equally mesmerizing shots of humpback whales in Summer, feeding on Krill with a spiral of artistic bubbles.

However, all of these wondrous species are under threat by the melting of the Antarctic ice and rising sea levels. This is causing a huge problem with the Albatross population too, which suffer winds of up to 70mph. Seeing the chicks blown off their nests and what catastrophic consequence this can have is another difficult scene to watch and highlights just how damaging these changes can be. Ending with a somewhat uplifting scene for the albatross, Seven Worlds plunges back into heart-stopping action again during a penguin chase with a leopard seal. The melting ice has caused a sludgy gauntlet of death for these creatures and armed with a pulsating musical score, the action is fast-paced and tense.

In winter, Antarctica doubles in size but also hides a great secret. Below the ice, conditions are so stable they’ve allowed creatures to evolve, including sea anemones who we see capturing and devouring a jellyfish during a neat array of sped-up shots under the ice.  We don’t get long to marvel at these deep-sea delights though, and as the tone changes again David Attenborough’s narration fills us in on the horrifying truth around human intervention in this region.

1.5 million whales were slaughtered in Antarctica, including a 33-metre-long blue whale that was over 100 years old. After seeing the commercial whaling cease, we see the beauty of these creatures first-hand and as we witness the massive feeding grounds for whales, the episode ends abruptly. We then close out with the usual on-location segment, filling us in on the arduous conditions the crew had to endure to get to Antarctica before reflecting on the future of this region.

I love nature documentaries and have unashamedly watched almost every single series Attenborough has put out since The Private Life Of Plants. Seven Worlds, One Planet may not be the best nature documentary in Attenborough’s arsenal, but it certainly packs quite the emotional punch. Taking the best elements of previous documentaries, Seven Worlds merges them together to creature a stunning visual and emotional treat. While the tonal shifts do take some getting used to and the inclusion of human intervention at the end feels a bit at odds with the solid 40 minutes of animal shenanigans, it’s a nitpick in what’s otherwise a very good episode.

Quite what next week will have in store for us as we shift over to Asia remains to be seen but for now, David Attenborough and the BBC strike gold once more with another winning formula in this stunning nature documentary series.

 

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  • Episode Rating
4.5

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