National Geographic’s "Really Wild Animals" DVD Series
Really Wild Animals is an excellent nature series from the always reliable National Geographic catalog. I picked up one video tape in the series at a local thrift shop and was impressed enough to track down several others in the Ventura County Library collections.
Though geared for young people, the beautifully-photographed and fast-paced footage will easily appeal to adults as well.
Everyone should be entertained by Spin, a jovial animated globe/planet Earth, who introduces and narrates each episode. Voiced by versatile British actor/comic Dudley Moore, Spin provides an energetic verbal flow of puns, wise-cracks, and, of course, information in a rapid-fire stream that both informs and entertains. This is definitely not one of those talking head (talking globe?) documentaries.
More information is provided by contemporary-styled songs which back up the animal footage.
Each episode explores a different natural environment. The library collection has nine volumes, including Polar Prowl and Deep Sea Dive. I especially enjoyed Totally Tropical Rain Forest and Wonders Down Under. The DVD versions also include bonus episodes and a few extras.
Online user reviews are mostly positive, and someone noted that "the DVDs are informative without being explicit. No zebras being eaten here!" Which is fine with me, though the concept of predator and prey and environmental threats are touched upon as well.
I see these DVDs as great for inspiring an early love and respect for the variety and wonder of the natural world and its amazing creatures. After all, more explicit reality will kick in soon enough.