Need some new nature documentaries.
September 29, 2013 1:28 AM   Subscribe

I love nature documentaries (good ones), but I'm all out and need some recommendations. More inside for what I like, and what I've seen.

I've seen:
Everything narrated by David Attenborough,
Untamed Americas,
Great Barrier Reef
Wilds China, India and Africa
Great Migrations

I like: the sense of an ecosystem that Attenborough typifies; a recognition that *all* life is interesting and conmensurate focus; natural environments only.

I dislike: "Spectacle docos" ("It's a tiger fighting a komodo dragon on an erupting volcano!"); docos that manipulate and shamelessly anthropomorphise (African Cats); docos that focus on f**king and fighting at the expense of everything else (I thought the recent "Africa" was particularly egregious in this respect); and incoherent structures that jump from location to location, animal to animal, season to season with no rhyme or reason.

Am I just chasing a pipe dream here or are there some gems that I've missed? I'm an Aussie, and have far better access to BBC docos than Nat Geo or other American productions, so perhaps there's something there?

Blu-rays are great but dvds are cool, too.
posted by smoke to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Winged Migration was a great movie.
posted by hydra77 at 1:39 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

"Last Chance to See." Douglas Adams (yes, that Douglas Adams) travelled all over the globe to see unusual endangered animals, and made a radio series and accompanying book in 1989. In the last year or two (eek, it was over 3 years ago now that I look it up), Stephen Fry repeated the journeys for BBC Television. Very good stuff, even though an accident during the Amazon trip nearly cost him his arm at one point.
posted by Sunburnt at 1:53 AM on September 29, 2013

Are these 82 episodes of Nature visible in Australia?
posted by Monsieur Caution at 1:56 AM on September 29, 2013

Response by poster: Are these 82 episodes of Nature visible in Australia?

Nope, groan. Generally, assume if it's streamed, I can't watch it.
posted by smoke at 1:58 AM on September 29, 2013

I liked the 'Expidition' series - Lost Land of the Volcano, Lost Land of the Jaguar, Lost Land of the Tiger etc ... in fact everything that George McGavin is in seems to be good - his doc on mold/rot/decay etc was excelent
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:33 AM on September 29, 2013

Best answer: Watery Creatures & Rocky Shores was pretty good.
posted by Solomon at 3:34 AM on September 29, 2013

Yes! Winged Migration. And also Microcosmos, by the same director. It's on Netflix, so that's a bonus.
posted by mermily at 3:38 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Ants: Nature's Secret Power

Mostly natural environments, some feats of strength in a lab.
posted by phunniemee at 4:55 AM on September 29, 2013

Are these 82 episodes of Nature visible in Australia?

Nope, groan. Generally, assume if it's streamed, I can't watch it.

If you like nature documentaries, you have to find a way to see these. Occasionally they are posted to youtube, can you see those? Here's one. Search on PBS Nature.
posted by 445supermag at 7:30 AM on September 29, 2013

Best answer: I just watched the first episode of Earthflight, which I think fits your criteria. It's available on DVD and Blu-Ray, though I'm not sure whether they sell it for Region 4.

BTW, is your problem with streaming the bandwidth, or is it location-based restrictions? If the latter, a VPN can be a reasonable solution. I used mine to watch US-based streaming content while in France and the UK.
posted by brianogilvie at 9:13 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding brianogilvie's suggestion of Earthflight, particularly if you watch Winged Migration and enjoy that.
posted by kuanes at 1:11 PM on September 30, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks all, best answers marked. Additionally, some others I discovered on my own:

Hebrides, Islands on the Edge, Wildes Russlands, Wild Caribbean and I just started watching Wild Arabia, which is beautifully shot.

Other good ones I've seen were South Pacific, and Wild Africa.

I forgot to mention, I have actually seen Lost Lands of the BlahBlah - I was a little meh about them. I thought they spent way too much time on the producers; they were a bit on the incoherent side with regards to structure (let's try to film whatever we can see!), and they really play out the few moments of decent footage they get (don't watch a nature documentary to see whitey prancing about in the woods!).
posted by smoke at 4:39 PM on September 30, 2013

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