Forget "Survivor" and "The Amazing Race." "Meerkat Manor" is the best reality/survivor show ever made. If you missed the beginning, here come the first 13 episodes of the Whiskers family in a two-disc set. These fierce little critters have been called the Sopranos of the Kalahari. But they're not. They're better. What's more, these episodes can be watched by the entire family.
Matriarch Flower is the boss, protecting her family from invading meerkat tribes, such as the Lazuli, making sure the home (burrow) is fit and that all are well fed. Flower, whose recent demise left fans grieving, will be the subject of a 2008 theatrical release, "Queen of the Meerkats." It can't come too soon.
The Animal Planet hit is the result of a 10 year study by Cambridge University. Students mix into the footage from time to time, taking notes. During these moments, you realize just how small meerkats are. Adults are about a foot long, pups only a few inches, but when confronting an enemy, these little guys are bigger than life.
Sean Astin's flawless narration moves each episode along from cliffhanger to cliffhanger. The clear Season One favorite is Flower's son, Shakespeare. Whether he's taking a double snake bite for the clan, mentoring a little brother, or squaring off against Big Cy of the Lazuli to protect meerkat pups, he is his mother's son.
Still, there are plenty of personalities to enjoy, including Shakespeare's loving sister, Mozart, and their independent sibling, Tosca, Flower's main squeeze, Zaphod, his nutcase brother, Yousarian, and Carlos, the Don Juan of the Kalahari. Those who have followed the Whiskers through Season Three, can flash back to baby Mitch, who started out as a spoiled mama's-boy bully. And for those who thought Flower was ruthless, we now have Punk, the new queen of the Zappas and her alpha guy, Houdini. Never dull and never contrived, they all have stories to tell.
- Kay Reynolds, The Virginian-Pilot