Our Planet
Our Planet (Netflix) - Series Cover Artwork.jpg
Opening sequence for Our Planet
GenreNature documentary
Narrated by
ComposerSteven Price
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes8
Production
Executive producers
Running time48–53 minutes
Production companies
Release
Original networkNetflix
Picture formatUHDTV 2160p
Audio format
Original release5 April 2019 (2019-04-05)

Our Planet is a British nature documentary series made for Netflix. The series is narrated by David Attenborough and produced by Silverback Films, led by Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey, who also created BBC documentary series Planet Earth, Frozen Planet and The Blue Planet, in collaboration with the conservation charity World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

The series addresses issues of conservation while featuring these desperate animals in their respective home regions, and has been noted for its greater focus on humans' impact on the environment than traditional nature documentaries, centering around how climate change impacts all living creatures. It is the first nature documentary Netflix has ever made. All episodes were released on 5 April 2019. A behind-the-scenes documentary was released onto Netflix on 2 August 2019.[1] Netflix reported that 25 million households were expected to watch the series during its first month of release.[2] It was later reported that 100 million households had watched the series as of March 2021.[3]

Production

On 15 April 2015, it was announced that the team behind the BBC nature series Planet Earth would produce an eight-part nature docu-series for Netflix that would be released in 2019.[4] It was four years in the making and was filmed in 50 countries, and over 600 crew members took part in the production. The series focuses on the breadth of the diversity of habitats around the world, including the Arctic wilderness, the deep sea, the vast landscapes of Africa and the diverse jungles of South America.[5]

In November 2018, David Attenborough was announced as the narrator, with the release date of 5 April 2019 also announced.[6]

Promotion

The series premiere was held on 4 April 2019, at the Natural History Museum in London. Guests at the premiere included Prince Charles and his two sons Prince William and Prince Harry, Charlie Brooker, David Beckham and his son Brooklyn Beckham, Ellie Goulding and the series narrator David Attenborough, who attended the event to underline their support for action against climate change.[7]

In his speech, Prince Charles said he hoped “Our Planet” would educate hundreds of millions of people around the world about what action was required, while David Attenborough called on the world to "be responsible careful citizens of this planet which is our only home, and for the creatures that live in it."[8]

The first teaser trailer for "Our Planet" was released on 8 November 2018.[9][10] Three months later, on 4 February 2019, the second teaser trailer was released.[11] On 19 March 2019, the official trailer for the documentary was released.[12]

Episodes

[This] series will explore the Earth's most important habitats, and celebrate the life they still support. We will reveal what must be preserved if we are to ensure a future where humans and nature can thrive.

— David Attenborough, "One Planet"
No.TitleProduced byOriginal release date [13]
1"One Planet"Adam Chapman5 April 2019 (2019-04-05)
Off the coast of Peru, millions of cormorants and boobies carpet bomb a bait ball of anchovies. A vast school of mackerels are hunting krill, who are then themselves hunted by dolphins and shearwaters. Flocks of lesser flamingos arrive at a salt pan after a deluge to nest, but as the water dries, the flamingo chicks have to embark on a journey to find water. At the Serengeti, a pack of hunting dogs pursue a blue wildebeest calf. An orchid attracts a male orchid bee in search of a mate and attaches its pollinium onto the bee's back, providing the bee with fragrances to attract a mate. Different species of manakins have different types of courtship display. A herd of caribou retreat into a forest to take shelter from the harsh winter weather, but are hunted by a pack of wolves. Attenborough then warns of the rapid melting of sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctica, showing the impact it has on polar bears. In Greenland, a glacier collapses, creating a large tidal wave.
2"Frozen Worlds"Sophie Lanfear5 April 2019 (2019-04-05)
Gentoo penguins climb to the top of a rocky outcrop to lay their eggs. Beneath the melting sea ice, trillions of Antarctic krill graze upon algae. The penguins and several humpback whales gather in large groups to feed on the abundant krill. A pod of orcas arrive and hunt the penguins. On the island of South Georgia, wandering albatrosses raise their chicks. Leopard seals stay the winter in the warmer waters of South Georgia to hunt king penguins out to find food for their chicks. Two male southern elephant seals fight over dominance. Far north in Svalbard, the impact climate change has on polar bear's hunting habits is shown, as ringed seals use dens less often, removing the bears' advantage of ambush. During summertime in Canadian Arctic, narwhals wait for a crack in the ice to hide from predators in a shallow bay. Over a hundred thousand walruses have hauled out on a beach in the Russian Far East due to much of the sea ice having melted. Some of the walruses manage to scale the high cliffs, but many fall to their deaths.
3"Jungles"Huw Cordey5 April 2019 (2019-04-05)
In the Congolian rainforests, a troop of western lowland gorillas and African forest elephants travel to Mbeli Bai, a wet clearing in the middle of the jungle to feed. Different species of birds-of-paradise show off their colourful displays to attract mates. On the forest floors of Borneo, a velvet worm squirts a glue-like slime to capture a cockroach. The symbiotic relationship between various species of pitcher plants with mountain treeshrews, ants and Hardwicke's woolly bats is explored. A rare Philippine eagle raises a chick in the declining Philippines rainforest. Some black spider monkeys visit a salt lick down on the forest floor. Leafcutter ants ensure that their gardens are disease-free with the help of bacteria, however, one of the ants succumbs to a fungal infection that takes over its whole body. The episode ends in the rainforest of Sumatra, where mother Sumatran orangutans teach their young important life skills of survival.
4"Coastal Seas"Hugh Pearson5 April 2019 (2019-04-05)
Several giant trevallies and mobula rays work together to feast on a shoal of anchovies. At the Everglades National Park, common bottlenose dolphins herd mullet in a ring of mud. Grey reef sharks have a cleaning symbiosis with cleaner wrasses and at nighttime, they and whitetip reef sharks work together to hunt within a coral reef. Corals have a mutualistic relationship with algae, which help provide them with food, but because of rising sea temperatures, coral begin to lose algae, endangering the world's coral reefs. Sea otters and California sheephead help control the population of sea urchins in the Californian kelp forests. Steller sea lions and humpback whales congregate to feast on breeding shoals of Pacific herring. Due to overfishing and unsustainable fishing methods, Pacific herrings have been declining. The increasing temperatures have allowed compass jellyfish to skyrocket in numbers. Millions of seabirds roost off the coast of Chile. Although sharks were once extirpated from the Raja Ampat Islands, the surrounding seas were protected and it was turned into a shark nursery, restoring balance to the ecosystem.
5"From Deserts to Grasslands"Adam Chapman5 April 2019 (2019-04-05)
The dry Atacama Desert provides refuge for Socotra cormorants. Over the Dhofar Mountains in Oman, a male and female Arabian leopard mate. At the Rub' al Khali sand dunes, only desert specialists like the Arabian oryx are capable of survival. A herd of desert elephants are led by their matriarch to an oasis. A coalition of five male cheetahs take down a wildebeest. During the summer, male American bison fight over mating rights. Butterflies are abundant in farmlands in Hungary and the caterpillars of the Alcon blue rely on ants to carry them to their nests, where they will be fed by nurse ants. Once abundant throughout the Eurasian Steppe, saiga antelope are now critically endangered, but conservation efforts have been protecting them for years. Conservation efforts and captive breeding have also helped save another grassland animal, the Przewalski's horse. In the grasslands of India, a Bengal tiger stalks deer from the tall grass. Despite poaching and the growing population in India, the tiger population has been on the rise.
6"High Seas"Hugh Pearson5 April 2019 (2019-04-05)
A large pod of dolphins manage to escape from a pack of false killer whales with their superior speed. The Gulf of California provides a safe haven for female blue whales and their calves. Off the coast of Costa Rica, yellowfin tuna shadow a pod of spinner dolphins as they hunt lanternfish. Despite their tiny size, phytoplankton play an invaluable role in the ocean's food web and cloud formation. Deep into the twilight zone, several unique creatures like the giant oarfish and deep-sea anglerfish have unique adaptations to survive in a world of darkness. Deep water coral like Lophelia are home to smaller organisms like bristle worms, however, a lot of deep sea reefs have been destroyed by deep sea fishing nets. In the Southern Ocean, giant petrels, black-browed albatrosses and Wilson's storm petrels find a dead sea lion and are all scared off by the arrival of a wandering albatross. Hundreds of Pacific bluefin tuna pursue a bait ball of anchovies. Because of a combination of overfishing and plastic pollution, several fish species are now in peril. Squid numbers have been increasing, affecting the diets of some species. The episode concludes with a super-group of humpback whales aggregating off the coast of South Africa.
7"Fresh Water"Mandi Stark5 April 2019 (2019-04-05)
After the Lake Eyre dries up, several young Australian pelicans have to fly back to the coast. In the Andes, torrent ducks feed on scarce insect larvae. Salmon migrate from the ocean into the inland rivers to breed and Alaskan brown bears await their arrival. The Caño Cristales in Colombia has flourishing populations of the colourful Macarenia plant. The warm Floridan rivers provide a winter refuge for West Indian manatees. Millions of mayflies emerge from the Tisza to mate before their deaths in three hours. In the Pantanal floodplains, a jaguar takes down a caiman. Male callipterus cichlids collect shells to attract females. The Siamese fighting fish is well adapted to living in oxygen-poor water. During a drought in Tanzania, several hippos are crammed in a muddy pool. African buffalos struggle to find water but African bush elephants are able to dig for water in the sand with their trunks. The Platte River, once a hotspot for sandhill cranes has now been dammed, although conservationists have been working to manage the river's flow to restore the cranes.
8"Forests"Jeff Wilson5 April 2019 (2019-04-05)
Deep in the forests of Siberia, some wild boar who are searching for pine cones in the forest floor are stalked by a Siberian tiger. Multiple bald eagles gather for a salmon run. Male rough-skinned newts tussle over mating with a female. As the summer ends, a forest fire occurs, but even after the destruction, flowers and tree seedlings sprout out from the soil. In the Western Ghats of India, lion-tailed macaques and great hornbills help with seed dispersal. The Miombo woodland in Central Africa not only serves as a hunting ground for hunting dogs and food for a large number of elephants, but a large swarm of mopane worms hatch in the woodland and quickly strip the trees bare. On the island of Madagascar, a pair of fossas mate and leaf bugs searching for tree sap help a gray mouse lemur find sugar. The planet's forests are known for their resilience, including Chernobyl. Despite the amounts of radiation after the Chernobyl disaster, foilage began to germinate after a decade and today, it still sustains a small population of animals.

A 1 hour long bonus episode "Our Planet - Behind The Scenes" about the project is accessible under Additional Videos on Netflix.[14]

Reception

Keith Scholey discussing Our Planet at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.
Keith Scholey discussing Our Planet at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 93% based on 27 reviews, and an average rating of 8.33/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "A cornucopia of visual wonder and environmental advocacy, Our Planet's breathtaking cinematography explores more of this beautiful, blue marble while presenting an urgent call to action to its inhabitants"[15] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 88 out of 100, based on 7 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[16]

Lucy Mangan of The Guardian gave out 4 out of 5 stars to Our Planet, saying "it places clearer emphasis on the fragility and interconnectedness of all the species and eco-systems on display, and on the huge impact, humanity has had on them in so short a time.[17] Bryan Resnick of Vox praised the series as "can’t really describe the scale of what’s missing" stating "It reminds us we’re living in an age of staggering wildlife loss due to human development, over-fishing, deforestation, and climate change. This series doesn’t let us forget that. Humans have caused staggering amounts of wildlife loss. Our Planet doesn’t hide from it."[18] Ben Travers of Indie Wire gave out an overall B+ for the series, and claims that the series ruthlessly contrasts the world's natural wonders with the environmental crisis killing them off, he wrote "Their deaths are a warning for the darkness underlying all of Our Planet, a nature docuseries no longer content with passive commentary. It also offers all the stunning imagery you’ve come to expect from these documentarians, but its attitude may surprise you. Individual entries feel a little less memorable because of it. The light, comic touches that made for lovely little moments in Planet Earth are overshadowed if not spoiled entirely, by the traumatic lessons put front and centre."[19]

Will Gompertz of BBC also handed out a 4 out of 5 stars for the series, stating it "gives us some of the most dazzling images you are ever likely to view on TV. When necessary, they are embellished with Attenborough's commentary, which is never obtrusive and always written with brevity and wit...It has been created by masters of their craft with an exceptional narrator, I do wonder, though, if the experienced executive producers at BBC would have sharpened up the first episode a little."[20] Stuart McGurk of British GQ said "It’s hard not to see this as a direct rebuke of the BBC’s nature documentaries: take one well-worn spectacular of the natural world, shoot it even more spectacularly than the BBC ever did and structure your whole opening episode around the idea that, without taking things like global warming seriously – without putting it front and centre about any show you’re making about the natural world, because how could you not – then pretty soon they’ll be nothing left to film so beautifully."[21] Kevin Yeoman of Screen Rant concluded the series as "stunningly ambitious", he wrote "Where Our Planet excels [Planet Earth and Blue Planet], though, is in its presentation. It’s not trying to convince anyone of anything — the time for doing that is long past. It’s simply stating this information as fact, in as straightforward a manner as possible. Not that it’s particularly difficult considering the evidence the series has on hand."[22]

However, Ed Power of The Telegraph criticized the documentary series as "visually dazzling but very familiar." and gave it a 3 out of 5 stars, writing "It is clichéd in its portrayal of life on earth as a slow-motion ballet of tooth and claw....In short, the innovations that made Attenborough’s previous series so sensational are conspicuously absent. It’s a haunting vision. More of this and Our Planet might have been a meaningful addition to the canon of natural history series. Instead, it prioritizes cinematic grandeur to an almost oppressive degree."[23] Writing in The Independent, Lucy Jones stated that the most important aspect of the series, which set it apart from other nature documentaries of its type, was the depictions of the harsh realities of global warming, mass species extinction and environmental degradation which were woven into the narration that accompanied the breathtaking scenes and imagery, but she also argues it did not go far enough and should have been more radical given current ecological crises. In particular, she says the program should have called out those responsible for this ecocide. When Attenborough's narration tells the audience "We have destroyed half the forests on earth", she retorts "But, who is we? As well as the fossil fuel industry, where is the fishing industry? Agriculture? The plastics industry? The vested interests that keep the planet burning? Yes, we are all complicit – those of us in affluent societies with high-consumption lifestyles more so than anyone – but there are greater powers at work. Describing the scale of the challenge is necessary but I wanted the series to go further, to peer under the hood."[24]

Soundtrack

Our Planet
Soundtrack album by
Released5 April 2019 (Digital)
GenreSoundtrack, Classical music
Length2:26:00
LabelDecca Records, Universal Music
ProducerNetflix

The soundtrack was released with a compilation of the incidental music specially commissioned for Our Planet. The theme song "In This Together", which is a collaboration with English singer and songwriter Ellie Goulding, is also included.

No.TitleEpisode TitleLength
1."This Is Our Planet""One Planet"3:43
2."The Numbers Build""High Seas"5:04
3."They Work as a Team""Frozen Worlds"3:41
4."The Importance of This River""Freshwater"2:40
5."An Ingenious Technique""Coastal Seas"2:49
6."The Ocean Returns the Favour""Deserts and Grasslands"2:20
7."Baby Blue""High Seas"4:51
8."Regeneration""Forests"1:51
9."An Unknown Signal""One Planet"5:08
10."Too Big to Argue With""Jungles"5:35
11."Frozen Worlds""Frozen Worlds"3:26
12."Mayflies""Freshwater"3:08
13."Great Rolling Waves""Coastal Seas"6:36
14."Crucial to Their Survival""Jungles"7:25
15."Every Year There Are Others""Forests"2:48
16."Where Life Gathers""One Planet"3:20
17."The Perfect Gift""Frozen Worlds"2:53
18."The Oceans Belong to Us All""High Seas"6:19
19."Deserts and Grasslands""Deserts and Grasslands"2:56
20."The Mighty Mekong""Freshwater"2:01
21."Corals""Coastal Seas"2:17
22."Leaf Cutters""Jungles"1:18
23."Chernobyl""Forests"7:03
24."Into the Woodlands""One Planet"4:35
25."Signature Moves""One Planet"2:35
26."Every Other Breath You Take""High Seas"4:21
27."Arctic Refugees""Frozen Worlds"6:38
28."A Sudden Turn""High Seas"2:11
29."A Nest of Bubbles""Freshwater"1:56
30."He Wins Her Approval""Jungles"1:42
31."Majestic Submarine Forests""Coastal Seas"2:28
32."They Came Back""Deserts and Grasslands"2:33
33."We Must Preserve What's Left""Jungles"2:28
34."Ice Caves""Freshwater"2:26
35."Mythical Creatures Follow""Frozen Worlds"3:31
36."They Have Come to a Desert""Deserts and Grasslands"1:41
37."This Glacial Ice""One Planet"7:42
38."A Greater Resilience""Coastal Seas"4:02
39."The Next Twenty Years""One Planet"1:41
40."In This Together"With Ellie Goulding4:43
Total length:120:26

Broadcast

Starting from 20 June 2020, the series was aired on Indonesian television network TVRI as a part of Belajar dari Rumah (Study from Home) programming block, made possible by a partnership between the Ministry of Education and Culture and Netflix. The broadcast marked the first Netflix original documentary series ever aired on conventional television, alongside a collection of Netflix documentaries included in the partnership.[25][26]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Netflix has made the series available for free streaming on YouTube as an educational resource.[27][28]

See also

References

  1. ^ "'Our Planet: Behind the Scenes' Documentary Arrives on Netflix". What's on Netflix. 2 August 2019.
  2. ^ Porter, Rick (16 April 2019). "'Umbrella Academy' Draws 45M Global Viewers, Netflix Claims". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Every Viewing Statistic Netflix Has Released So Far". What's on Netflix. 8 April 2021.
  4. ^ Beaumont-Thomas, Ben (15 April 2015). "Planet Earth team head to Netflix for epic new series Our Planet". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  5. ^ Spangler, Todd (15 April 2015). "Netflix Slates 'Our Planet' Massive Nature Documentary Series for 2019". Variety. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  6. ^ Waterson, Jim (8 November 2018). "David Attenborough to present Netflix nature series Our Planet". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  7. ^ Ling, Thomas (5 April 2019). "Royals join David Attenborough for star-studded Our Planet Netflix premiere". Radio Times. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  8. ^ "UK royals attend Netflix 'Our Planet' premiere". Reuters. 4 April 2019. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  9. ^ Kamp, Justin (8 November 2018). "Netflix Shares Teaser for New Documentary Series Our Planet". Paste Magazine. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  10. ^ Netflix (8 November 2018), Our Planet | Teaser [HD] | Netflix, retrieved 10 April 2019
  11. ^ Netflix (3 February 2019), Our Planet | Official Teaser [HD] | Netflix, retrieved 10 April 2019
  12. ^ Greene, Steve (19 March 2019). "'Our Planet' Trailer: Ambitious Netflix Nature Series Visits All Seven Continents". Indie Wire. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  13. ^ "Our Planet - Listings". The Futon Critic. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  14. ^ "Our Planet Netflix Official Site", Netflix, retrieved 7 June 2019
  15. ^ "Our Planet: Season 1", Rotten Tomatoes, retrieved 19 April 2019
  16. ^ "Our Planet Reviews", Metacritic, retrieved 19 April 2019
  17. ^ Mangan, Lucy (5 April 2019). "Our Planet review – Attenborough's first act as an eco-warrior". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  18. ^ Resnick, Brian (8 April 2019). "Netflix's Our Planet focuses on the most important nature story of our time: loss". Vox. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  19. ^ Travers, Ben (5 April 2019). "'Our Planet' Review: Netflix's Stunning Nature Doc Is Here to Tell You We're Screwed". IndieWire. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  20. ^ Gompertz, Will (6 April 2019). "Review: Our Planet, Sir David Attenborough's Netflix debut". Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  21. ^ McGurk, Stuart. "David Attenborough's new Netflix series Our Planet is a direct rebuke of the BBC". British GQ. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  22. ^ "Review: Netflix's Our Planet". ScreenRant. 3 April 2019. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  23. ^ Power, Ed (1 April 2019). "Our Planet review: David Attenborough's Netflix series is visually dazzling but very familiar". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  24. ^ Jones, Lucy (7 April 2019). "Our Planet: We are already into the sixth mass extinction – Attenborough's new Netflix series is just not urgent or radical enough". The Independent. Archived from the original on 24 May 2022. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  25. ^ Bona, Maria Fatima (18 June 2020). "Netflix Documentaries to Air on TVRI for Distance Learning". Jakarta Globe. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  26. ^ "'Our Planet', Marie Kondo among Netflix documentaries to air on TVRI". The Jakarta Post. 18 June 2020. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  27. ^ Planet, Our. "Watch Our Planet at home on YouTube". WWF. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
  28. ^ "Our Planet to be Voiced by Sir David Attenborough". World Wildlife Fund. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
External video
video icon Our Planet: David Attenborough speech at premiere on YouTube
video icon Behind-the-scenes of the walrus scene in Our Planet on YouTube