5 Favorite Shows About Nature & Culture

naature

Howdy!

I’ve always had a difficult time watching nature documentary series on Animal Planet, mostly because I never really liked when the hunters went after their prey, most of the time they were capturing young and giving it to THEIR babies! When I started watching some nature shows on Netflix over the summer, I kind of hoped I was over that but then I realized that it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can never really be over that aspect of life in the animal kingdom! Truth be told, I’ve been watching nature shows for a long time on PBS, but it’s only now that I’ve kind of deluge a fairly large amount at one time. In my defense, prior to this happening I was binge watching both Arrow and The Flash, so I felt this would be a nice break away from the superheroes, I just didn’t think I would keep watching one right after the other like I did, but it’s been sort of helpful when it comes watching episodes of Jeopardy!

I am more drawn to the series that were made by a British or Australian company, but only because there are in two these areas on Netflix than any other country! I also like when there are people narrating each episode to the viewer, like the visual version of Audible! Thanks to this, I have become a bit of a fan of Sir David Attenborough. I’m embarrassed to say that I have watched close to three different ones where’s either in it or narrating what you’re seeing on the screen!

Galapagos (2006)

This was the first show I watched in July that basically started it all and it was narrated by the lovely Tilda Swinton. I think I watched this because I remembered that Jeopardy were running a contest for fans of the show to win tickets to go there with Alex Trebek last year. I figured that meant they would have several categories about it and I should get some knowledge about the Islands of The Tortoises.

I really loved this program! I found the fact that various birds, turtles, and seals all on this very unstable, volcanic place where hardly anything grows. The first episode basically opens up with what really surprised me, was that iguanas also live close to the edge of the cliffs. They actually live on a side where there’s an active volcano so the surface doesn’t really have anything for these creatures to eat, so they have developed a taste of algae at the bottom of the ocean. So, these spike-y little devils literally crawl to the ledge where the water is being brushed up the sides of the island by the currents and either jump or slide right down and they can SWIM! Now the really cool, and sort of adorable thing I loved about them is that when they finally come back to shore, since swallowing salt water is bad for them, they sneeze out the water out of the nose! I was really dumbfounded by this adaption.

South Pacific (2009)

This was a six episode series, narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch. Now, I have to say, I watch funny moments on the Graham Norton show on YouTube a lot, and there was a clip of Benedict discussing with Graham about how he says the word “penguin” and it was funny as crap, if you want to check it out here you click here. Anyways, it was about a year or so, since I watched that clip and I finally watched the show and realized that he definitely can’t say that word right at all, even in a British accent, it still sounds bad!

“South Pacific” was about all of the islands in their different shapes and what kind of life they support around the Pacific Ocean. One of my favorite things about these types of shows is that it gives you an insight of life on these islands, not only for the animals, but humans too! You see tribes of people, living off the land and they’re so out there away from other people. We did visit the Galapagos Islands again throughout the series, but you were transported to other smaller islands, I really enjoyed learning about the different plants, when editors use the fast-moving on how fast the landscape changes! I actually fell in love with the Birds of Paradise species, and they are usually located on New Guinea and Hawaii, but they are decorated in different colors and shapes with really unique ways of attracting a mate and fighting to be with that female as well. It can get a little weird, but their dances make it all worthwhile trust me!

National Curiosities (2013)

This show was the longest out of the whole list! It had probably 12 episodes in the three seasons it was on BBC, but what I truly liked was that they are about an hour-long, but they’re comparing origin stories of two different species so you kind of need that amount of time to explain what makes these animals so complex.

When I would watch this, I always felt like I was becoming more of a naturalist, like David Attenborough. He has this caring personality and it shows whenever he has an animal next to him or sitting on his lap, you can feel that affection aerate on the screen and it makes you want to change your mind on some of the creepy species and help support them later on, although it didn’t work on spiders or snakes! One thing that he does on this is that he’ll talk about how they discovered, and the evolution of theories they had for each one, my favorite was when they thought Platypus were a hoax in the 1800’s!

Monkey Planet (2014)

Monkey Planet was my most recent to watch and I really enjoyed myself! It was hosted by Dr. George McGavin and even though this was only three episodes, I have realized that it doesn’t take much for me to giggle as these mischievous monkeys were really my downfall when it came to watching this late at night!

I’ve always loved monkeys, but while I was watching this I realized that I don’t give them enough credit when it comes to their intelligence. I mean, they are our distant relatives. At first, I was purely watching it because I wanted to learn more about the different types, but instead of having an episode devoted to a certain type, they were squished together but after a while I was okay with it. The colors of their fur and cute facial expressions were too much and once I found out how they all get their food by banging rocks up against tough shells or grabbing a stick of some sort and poking it through small holes in a branch about killed me in the best way possible!

Baby Animals In The Wild (2015)

I really have a problem with baby animals, thankfully no babies were harmed in creating this series, thank god! This was hosted by Luisa Prosser, and consisted of 10 episodes ranging of animals located in deserts, forest, jungles, and mountains. There were times in the program where they would share snapshots of babies in captivity so you got to see them after they were just born or a few weeks old, and told about their characteristics in the wild.

I think the two places that made me wonder why these animals would still want to live in these areas where the arctic mountains and desert. However, once I saw how they were able to live, I had a change of heart pretty quickly and the one species that really grabbed me was the Ibex. The mothers give birth on top of their dry cliffs and after a few days and the babies figure out their footing, the mothers need to get around food and water so they go down these steep cliffs and their kids just follow them down, some of them being overzealous and sprint down that made me very queasy but they have these pads on their hoofs that help grip the rocks underneath to keep them stable, but good gosh! It made me really nervous, but nobody lost their balance so that made me feel better!

I have to say, it was extremely hard to pick out five shows for this post, because I have watched little over 12 of them in the several months, but they’re surprisingly fun to watch. You’re seeing these animals having a blast on top of having to continue searching for food and water, and they all have information stored up in their minds from previous generations. The fact that some of them are still able to live in their natural environment like in a dry savanna of West Africa or lush woods in the middle of France was so cool, but I’m not going to lie when I say seeing the monkeys steal fruits and vegetables off of market stands in India cracks me up! It was just so fascinating to me!

How are you when it comes to nature and cultural shows? Was there one that really made you go, “wow”? And just for good measure, what is your favorite animal(s)?

snowflake

For The Love Of Documentaries!

It seems I’ve started a trend this year. .

Last year I was obsessed with trying to put a dent into my movie list. I was fairly proud of myself for doing that because I managed to cross off quite a bit. This year it’s a different story, the only films I’ve watched that I’ve added onto my 2016 and the first half of 2017 movie post. I’ve seen Morgan, Finding Dory, Beauty and The Beast, and Split. I know, the fact that even wanted to watch shocked a lot of my family!

Since February of this year, I’ve been more into little specials on PBS. If I want something to watch about history, this has been my #1 source until I fell back in love with using YouTube to chase that need for documentaries. I don’t have Netflix so I don’t have a great array of specials like I want like most of the general population, but I think this works just as good though! I wanted to do this post to share what all I’ve seen since the beginning of the year, in case anybody wanted to change their chances and watch them as well!

In January, PBS started on The Six Wives Of Henry VIII which was a three part series, they also premiered the first season of Victoria on the same weekend, I pretty much looked forward to Sundays for a good three weeks. I think Victoria ended in early March, but don’t count me on that!

Around February, I found Secrets Of The Dead but I only found like four episodes that I was able to watch off and on for about five months. The first episode was about the origins of both Frankenstein and Vampyre which you can learn more about in my Tune Tuesday post I did about Switzerland. The others were about Vincent Van Gogh’s missing ear, Nero’s Sunken City and Leonardo de Vinci (which I didn’t necessarily enjoy!). I found The Wonder Of Britain hosted by Julia Bradbury which was on at like four in the morning so I had to record it, however there were a few times that I could have watched it live since I was usually awake around that time! The third one was the Tales From The Bedchamber who was hosted by Lucy Worsley.

By the time April came around, I was using YouTube to watch my documentaries more frequently and as I started looking back at the ones I watched, I quickly realized I probably should have written down the ones I watched because trying to figure out each one made my brain hurt!

When my nana was going through her bad health spells, I used a series to keep me occupied throughout the rough times and I started watching The House Of Windsor which tells you of the origins of the current British monarch, like why King George V decided to change their family name of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha which was started at the time of Queen Victoria when she married Prince Albert. It also takes you behind the secrets stored in the archives of Windsor Castle. For explain, the real reason behind why the Russian Imperial family wasn’t allowed to take refuge at Buckingham Palace. I thought it was pretty neat!

I do remember starting the series King and Queens of England I only got to Normans, I watched the Decadence and Elegance: The Age Of Regency  which was about when the Prince Regent George IV – he’s regarded one of the most lavishes royals! It was also hosted by Lucy Worsley. I saw an hour long special called Inside The Court of King Henry VIII and I still feel like that should have been longer than an hour! The last one I vaguely remember watching before the start of June was Prince John: The Windsor Tragic Story. Prince John was the youngest of King George V and Queen Mary, he was different from the rest of his siblings, or in general a royal prince. He was diagnosed with epilepsy and was put away from the public and the rest of his family.

I started with Elizabeth I which talks about the life of Queen Elizabeth I, including the feud between her and her half sister Queen Mary I. How she was accused for helping the Protestant uprising against the Catholics, but she and the leader both denied her involvement. It also talked about she might’ve been sexually assaulted by her half brother’s adviser Thomas Seymour when she was living with her father’s sixth wife Catherine Parr after she married Thomas and became pregnant with his child. I had never heard of these accusations before so that was a new one for me! I have yet to finish the series!

There was a special on PBS about Mary Ann Cotton called Dark Angel, who was England’s first serial killer. It was said that she killed different members of her family, including her children with arsenic to collect their life insurances. It starred Joanne Fogett as Mary Ann Cotton, and I was in shocked but in awe of this woman. It was also said in total she killed over 20 people!

Recently there have been three separate specials I’ve seen on both TV and YouTube. The first was My Mother And Other Strangers on PBS, it has had a slow beginning but it has been very interesting too! It was set in Ireland around the time of World War II. You have these American soldiers living on base in this small town called Moybeg and the narrator is the older Francis, whereas he talks about the life of his family. He is like around seven years old in the actual series. It’s a nice story and kind of hoping for a second season but I don’t think I should hold my breath as like both Victoria and Dark Angel they premiered on BBC or ITV first before making its way to the US.

I watched a special about nuns, and that is what happens when you watch both Sister Act films in one week alone. It was called Young Nuns and it gave you a sense of these modern women becoming nuns for different reasons. I still haven’t finished it, but so far so good! I found one about Princess Alice of Bradenburg, called The Queen’s Mother In Law as she is the mother of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. This was another sad one to watch, but it was nevertheless good though. The third was Richard III: The King Laid To Rest I have been very interested in King Richard III mostly of his disability and living with scoliosis around the the 15th Century. I had watched section of Mysteries At The Museum that talked about finding him in a parking lot in 2012. This was about finally putting his remains in the ground in a well-established church. I still think he should have been buried in a Catholic church since that was what he was at the time, but they didn’t. I thought it was a beautiful service and we may never see that ever again unless they finally find the Princes In The Tower or Henry I.

I’m not just into specials about Ireland and England, I also enjoy other parts of the world as well! PBS recently had a series called The Story Of China that I thoroughly enjoyed! It was hosted by Michael Wood and as I watched it while these people were talking to him in their native languages (and there are a lot!) but he never seemed to have a translator for himself, so in ways you kind of got the feeling he knew what they were saying but I can’t say for certain. They had like seven episodes in all, even through two were combined so there were two hours long. It was glorious! I’ve always been interested in China and it’s traditions so I figured I would really like it and I was right!

I’ve watched a few more in the last four weeks, but I’ve decided to not include them on this post.

Are you interested in documentaries or little specials or series of specific places around the world? What have you watched recently?

snowflake

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