Animal Planet has created their own new genre of television show over the last few years. Nature shows have been around forever. I remember spending time with my family as a kid watching Animal Kingdom. Since then very little about that type of program has changed. With Discovery Channel the nature show certainly became more sophisticated. Everything changed with Shark Week. Now we have an entire cable network dedicated to animals, so it stands to reason the nature show, like the animals themselves, had to evolve. That’s a lot of program time to fill. Animal Planet has taken a new step toward the next generation of nature shows.
What started with Meerkat Manor has continued with the release of the first season of
I like nature shows in general and don’t even mind the somewhat dramatic elements of this new style of nature program. The problem is that while this works for a short time either as a special or even a film, an entire season of 20 minute episodes begins to stretch the idea to a rather mundane point. There’s a ton of footage used over and over again. The story points are also overly punctuated to make the most out of whatever footage is available. Perhaps when watching with week long intervals it doesn’t appear so redundant, but watching them in quick succession is very tedious after not that long of a while. Since apes are closer to humans than meerkats, they at least can often exhibit expressions and behaviors that don’t appear as forced. Still, it’s a lot of running time for what amounts to very little entertainment. I can’t imagine anyone but the most hardcore nature or particularly orangutan fans being willing to shell out for the set.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is in reality not much more than a stereo mix. That’s not really a problem when you consider the documentary style nature of the show. You can hear the dialog, and really there isn’t much else to it.
There’s an appeal for support.
All of these guys have names, and I’m sure the ideas is that you’ll end up having some favorites. There’s even a gang called The Bandit Boys who appear to get into some trouble and are made out as the thugs on the island. There are moments I’m waiting for Jeff Probst to come out and offer a reward challenge. There aren’t any immunity idols, and there isn’t any tribal council, but this sure enough looks like survivor for apes. At least the participants appear to be a bit more intelligent. Maybe we’ll see a crossover episode of Survivor and