This is another gorgeous series of nature videos from Sir David Attenborough and the BBC. While watching this series, I mentioned that Attenborough was a knight out loud. Someone thought that was a silly thing to do for a nature documentary star. They changed their mind by the end of the series!
This series takes a fresh look at the life of reptiles. There are five episodes. The first is a general introduction to reptiles (and amphibians) that challenges many commonly-held assumptions about these animals. Some of this footage is later expanded upon in later episodes. The second episode is on amphibians- frogs and salamanders. This was a really interesting episode, particularly since I've read/seen relatively little on the lives of salamanders. Next up are dragons of the dry- lizards. I was a little disappointed that Komodo dragons weren't featured, but there are some impressive monitor lizards as well as some tiny chameleons that almost have to be seen to be believed. The next video is dedicated solely to snakes. It's a really interesting video that I quite enjoyed. The last, armored giants, is split between turtles and crocodilians. That's too bad, as I think those are two of the most interesting groups of reptiles. Still, what's there is brilliant.
Overall, the DVDs present gorgeous quality film, often done from really interesting angles or with thermal cameras (that really reveal what life "in cold blood" is about). Each episode is followed by an extra 10 minutes or so of commentary on the filming of the episode, extra details on the animals in the episode, and conservation messages. The story of Lonely George was heartbreaking. The last of his species, he sits alone in an enclosure, where he will wait another 80 years if all goes well, before dying and removing his species from the planet for good. Of course, people are to blame for that. But Attenborough, while always a strong conservationist, is careful not to turn these episodes into sermons. Rather, he does what I think a good naturalist does- he doesn't preach, doesn't screw around with the animals, he just lets them be- and they're amazing enough on their own to make most people care a lot about them. So it's a very easy rating for me- five solid stars. I will comment that this video is a little light on footage of the predatory side of reptiles (not absent though!), which is perhaps my only complaint. But that's probably for the best if this is to be shown to young children, whom I think would love the series.