I tuned in with high expectations. After all, the raves had been flowing.
The show had been called “nothing short of mind-blowing” by Newsweek. People called it “gorgeous.” The New York Post proclaimed “every frame should win an Oscar.” “Brilliant,” said the Boston Globe. It “takes cameras where few have been,” exclaimed USA Today.
Running for 11 consecutive Sunday evenings, The Discovery Channel is running a dramatically beautiful series called “Life.” It is narrated by Oprah Winfrey.
And it is beautiful!
The first episode was called “Challenge of Life,” focusing on the amazing ways which animals and species’ have found to overcome dangers and protect themselves. It explored Cheetahs hunting Ostriches and the Stalk-eyed Fly. That same night also showed Komodo dragons hunting Buffalo, a profile of the Panther Chameleon and some great photos of other reptiles and amphibians.
Last night’s episode included great shows on Mammals and Fish. The night’s tele-events included Humpback Whales (my absolute favorite), Lizards hunting Sengi and flying fish.
It was during the Humpback Whales segment that I realized what a wonderfully great opportunity this show provides. I’ve shelled out big bucks to go on whale-watching ships with mixed success. Watching “Life” brought close-ups that made me feel like I was there, and the chance to watch it over, and over…and over! Much, much better than missing the “there’s one!” yell from the skipper on the whale-watching cruise, only to turn and seek the splash after the whale makes it back under the water.
Among all of the horribly mundane and repetitive junk on television’s maze of channels, make time for “Life,” on Discovery. It reminds me not only of the kind of family fare we used to gather and watch as families on Sunday nights, but also of the future of what photography can do to inform and inspire us far beyond the places we have the time or means to go.
And further, it begs the question: could this kind of beauty, wonder and diversity have evolved as a nearly impossible statistical accident, or was it the result of the Creator’s handiwork?