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Following in the footsteps of Planet Earth and Life, this epic eight-part blockbuster is a breathtaking celebration of the amazing, complex, profound and sometimes challenging relationship between humankind and nature. Humans are the ultimate animals - the most successful species on the planet. From the frozen Arctic to steamy rainforests, from tiny islands in vast oceans to parched deserts, people have found remarkable ways to adapt and survive. We've done this by harnessing our immense courage and ingenuity; learning to live with and utilize the other creatures with which we share these wild places. Human Planet weaves together eighty inspiring stories, many never told before, set to a globally-influenced soundtrack by award-winning composer Nitin Sawhney. Each episode focuses on a particular habitat and reveals how its people have created astonishing solutions in the face of extreme adversity. Finally we visit the urban jungle, where most of us now live, and discover why the connection between humanity and nature here is the most vital of all.
The BBC's follow-up to their landmark Planet Earth is another astounding document of natural selection, focusing on the constantly shifting--and often remarkably harsh--relationship between human beings and their surroundings. Narrated by John Hurt, this eight-episode series explores the amazing lengths people must go to in order to survive in various unwelcoming habitats around the world, such as deserts, mountains, grasslands, and oceanic environments, all of which feature unique moments of terror and beauty. The final episode, focusing on modern city life, suffers a bit by familiarity, although it does allow non-New York viewers a chance to glimpse rats the size of toaster ovens. An overflowing chest of wonders, really, with such eye-popping sights as a diver who appears to have appropriated fish DNA, the most efficient way to catch giant bats, and a terrifying hunt for mussels within a rapidly submerging Artic crevasse. Other highlights include a father teaching his son how best to harvest water snakes, the symbiotic search for honey between African bird and human, and the leaders of a starving dog-sled team desperately ice-fishing for giant sharks. Memorable as the byplay between people and various critters is, however, some of the most arresting scenes focus solely on human relationships, such as an ultra-competitive tribal courtship ritual, a family carrying on the tradition of creating a living bridge, and a walk to school that involves scaling a glacier. Amid the wealth of rewind-worthy moments, perhaps most impressive of all are the brief behind-the-scenes featurettes at the end of each episode, which show the amount of persistence, vision, good humor, and sheer luck it took to bring these slices of life successfully to the screen. Take a bow, folks. --Andrew Wright