Hostile Planet, premiering tonight at 9/8c, brings fresh grit and excitement to the nature documentary genre with innovative camera technologies and a willingness to showcase animals’ struggles in the most exposed environments. The series doesn’t shy away from the unpleasant realities faced by many animals in bleak, unrelenting wilderness, which drives the energetic storytelling throughout the six-part series.
Amboseli, Kenya - Aerial of herd of elephants swimming through flooded grassland. (National Geographic)
New camera technologies allow stories to be told from creative and engaging perspectives. The camera incorporates the animal’s point of view into the series flawlessly, placing audiences in the middle of what they are watching. An immersive experience like this, which accredits the animal’s perspective of the world, brings new power to the wildlife film genre. But getting closer to the action and seeing events unfold as an animal would are not all that Hostile Planet does new; the series places a lot of focus on surviving in a rapidly changing world.
Jaguar hunting a crocodile on the river banks in the Pantanal, Brazil. (National Geographic/Adrian Seymour)
Mateo Willis, producer and director of the Mountains episode, sets Hostile Planet apart from other wildlife films, saying it is not “like a moving coffee table book which is nice and calm and you can put it away at the end and forget about and it’s not troubling. That is not a real representation of the world, particularly not today. Because our world is changing faster that it ever has before.” The plight of animals in increasingly volatile environments is visually and emotionally striking, especially given how timely and accurate the series is. The brutal, dramatic, and endless realities of the natural world are on full display in this show, and are sure to stir empathy and awareness in viewers. Looking back on how incredible each sequence of the show is, executive producer Tom Hugh Jones says, “Forget the celebrities, these are the real stars of the world.”
Red Sea, Egypt - A predatory lionfish stalks the shallows as it waits for nightfall to hunt. (National Geographic/Corinne Chevallier)
Hostile Planet, hosted by Bear Grylls, premiers Monday, August 1 at 9/8c on National Geographic.
Images: Courtesy of National Geographic
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