Empty8-11 p.m. Sunday, March 25; 8-10 p.m. Sundays, April 1-22
Discovery Channel's magnificent new miniseries "Planet Earth" is an 11-part high-definition extravaganza that celebrates our planet in a huge way. It's a kind of saga -- often showing back-to-back episodes -- that steps into Earth's crevices and finds wonder in each. A project of this scope depends on aerial shots and camera dances to make all this natural beauty take flight. "Earth" delivers and then some.
The series has been five years in the making, not to mention the traveling and sheer gutsiness of what it intends to capture. The planet's most captivating creatures -- Earth's magnificent animals -- carry the series along and make it worth the while. But just for good measure, our planet's sheer beauty is on display as well.
Sigourney Weaver narrates this wondrous series of natural adventures, and we are transported to all parts of the planet. Each episode is a knockout with its high-definition production techniques. The scope is breathtaking as well as intimate, a combination of large and small that mimics the planet itself.
"Earth" begins Sunday with three consecutive episodes. The series opener, "Pole to Pole," lets viewers watch herds of animals following the sun for hundreds of miles in search of water. "Mountains" takes us up and down the planet's most beautiful and sometimes treacherous mountain ranges and follows some of the never-before-filmed animals who inhabit them. "Deep Ocean" explores the depths of the oceans. We meet new species and witness some awesome photography that makes the journey all the more splendid.
More episodes follow April 1, 8, 15 and 22, each focusing on regions we know but have never truly stepped into the way the series allows us to, including the great plains, the shallow seas, jungles and forests that are deep and wide. Series producer (for the BBC) Alastair Fothergill and his team of artisans have envisioned Earth in a startling new way, and the small screen becomes bigger than life in capturing it.
Series producer: Alastair Fothergill
Co-producer: Penny Allen: Producers: Vanessa Berlowitz ("Mountans," "Ice Worlds"), Andy Byatt ("Deep Ocean"), Mark Brownlow ("Shallow Seas," "Freshwater"), Huw Cordey ("Caves," "Deserts," "Jungles"), Jonny Keeling ("Great Plains"), Mark Linfield ("Pole to Pole," "Forests")
Narrator: Sigourney Weaver