The episodes so far go through a wide variety of different animals, offering hope and despair simultaneously but making every single moment tense in that you literally cannot take your eyes off the screen.
In the first episode, using footage from Dynasties (2018), audience's get to see a newborn seal pup too young to swim lie on the ice in Antarctica while the mother does her best to protect it. But after three days, leaves her pup to take shelter underwater. She finally returns to find her pup still alive but... across the ice lays the corpse of another abandoned seal pup. And honestly, my heart broke.
The tension, the suspense...it was so difficult to watch
In another scene, we see a baby albatross rejected and ignored by its parent after falling from the nest. While the mother goes to get food, winds and cold weather throw the chick from the nest, leaving audiences with graphic imagery of this poor baby dying. Eventually, the bird returns but because it doesn’t see the baby, it doesn’t recognise it and therefore ignores it. Attenborough’s dialogue speaks of how albatross’ don’t identify their offspring by sight, sound or smell but only their presence in the nest. I know, I was shocked too. In the end we watch as the baby fights to get back into its nest of which he is successful. But the tension, the suspense…it was so difficult to watch and that’s what makes this show so great.
Attenborough brings to life the reality of our planet: disintegrating glaciers, the extinction of species, and the suffering of many animals that all you want to do is protect from your futile position on the sofa. There's one scene where the cameraman breaks down and cries after contemplating the future of a penguin colony he has been filming for 10 days. It was this that made me realise that we need to be more invested in our planet, in future of wildness that are dying and suffering by our ignorance. Whenever I watch something by Attenborough, I am always amazed by the footage he gives us. The effort, the determination and the time taken to get the clips we see and yet, while you're watching, you're taking it all for granted.
If you watch this show, be prepared for the smiles, the anger but most of all...the weeping.