The Blue Planet. The Living Planet. Planet Earth. Seven Worlds, One Planet. Dynasties. Life. The word ‘planet’ is to Sir David Attenborough what the word ‘f*ck’ is to Quentin Tarantino. And if the latter revels in violence and revenge, the legendary broadcaster, who turned 95 a day ago (May 8), has his stamp on the visual documentation of nature.
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Several generations have grown up watching the naturalist-historian’s TV shows about life on Earth and all that sustains it. His colossal imprint on nature TV has become part of the consciousness of viewers all around the world. Attenborough’s latest, Life in Colour—a three-part Netflix special—celebrates the natural world’s connection with and use of colour for survival and communication. The reviews are out, and are mostly positive, but we’ll tell you five reasons why you should totally stream it. Here we go:
1. It is bursting with colour: If you took all the colour and HDR in the nature shows you ever saw, for granted, well, you will be rewarded. In his latest show, Attenborough takes the colour of the natural world several notches up. Be it peacocks, who depend a lot on the rich colour scheme of their plumage, or mandrills, who use flushing hinds and noses to ward off rivals, or the stark pink on flamingos—the show elevates it all superbly, and all three episodes are sure to take you on an uplifting visual journey.
2. See colour like our animal friends do: It’s been all over the news, and why not—the scale of production assembled for this particular show is unprecedented. The first-ever TV show to employ special cameras that can capture nature in UV and polarised light will allow you to spot hidden markings on flowers that we can’t see but blue moon butterflies do.
And, by the way, did you know that Silver Leaf Monkey found in Peninsular Malaysia uses its trichromatic vision to spot the colours red and orange in order to distinguish ripe fruit or their offspring in the otherwise blinding forest foliage? You’ll see it in Life in Colour.
3. It evokes nostalgia but has a modern sensibility: No nature TV lover could have difficulty making out David Attenborough’s voice. Such is the man’s hold over our minds. You will be reminded of the broadcaster's classic style that one has come to associate with his famous documentaries, but the analysis and breakdown of the natural phenomena is much closer to recent nature shows in streaming platforms (like, say, Absurd Planet or Tiny Creatures).
4. It tells you why zebras have stripes: And a lot else, like some birds changing their coats. If you'd only read in science class about stripes and spots on animals helping in camouflage, you will enjoy watching it here much more. Isn't seeing your longest-held curiosities answered thus worth a few hours?
5. It’s a comfort-watch to be enjoyed without much guilt: It's not the most woke thing to say at a time like this but don’t you wish sometimes to just indulge in some rich information-consumption without fingers pointed at you about having played a part in climate change and global warming? Well, one of the biggest advocates of environmental conservation on the planet doesn’t really take up the climate crisis or the destruction of animal habitats in this show.
Sir Attenborough was recently made the COP26 People's Advocate but you can enjoy the three episodes with wonder and fascination about the role of colours in the greater animal world. And don't miss the adorable scuffles between our tiny critters such as the one between lizards and frogs.