Planet in Peril



9 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday, Oct. 23-24

This Halloween season, if you want to watch something truly scary, try "Planet in Peril," a two-night, four-hour special that should be seen by anyone who enjoys breathing.

This is not to say that correspondents Anderson Cooper, Sanjay Gupta or Animal Planet's Jeff Corwin try to frighten viewers. Far from it. They report from around the world in a straightforward, even restrained, fashion. It's just that what they have to say about what's happening to the planet is very unsettling.

Solutions begin with understanding, and that's where this program excels. Beginning with illegal trade in endangered species and moving on to the triple threat of growing consumption, unchecked pollution and global warming, "Peril" outlines the biggest dangers. At the same time, it shows how little has been done to halt them. Most discouraging, it points out that, even though the consequences of deforestation, pollution and species extinction are widely understood, nearly all of the economic incentives inure to those who rape and pillage the planet and its animals.

It's an alarming story told exceedingly well, a shining example of what TV journalism can be when it's heart, mind and resources are in the right places.