I love monkeys and apes, I'll be the first to admit. But bias aside, this is, I think, one of the BEST shows that was on TV. And the whole family can enjoy it!
Orangutans, one of our closest living relatives, are critically endangered. Deforestation and poaching are bringing their numbers dangerously close to a point of no return. When a parent dies, usually the young orangutan would follow shortly after. However, the classmates of Nyaru Mentang have been rescued and are raised by humans in hopes of releasing them into the wild. This is a long process, as the dependency period of a baby orang on it's mother is the longest in the mammalian family, aside from humans.
The show is always good for a laugh, and I find it always makes me smile, no matter my mood going into it. Most of it is pretty happy, though there are sad parts of the episodes, and some of the stories about the orangutans are heartbreaking. Take Bonita for instance - poachers shot her mother out of a tree, and she clung to her mother's hair on the way down. After mother and child hit the ground, the poachers came and literally ripped her away from her dead mother, most likely to be sold into a life of solitary confinement in a cramped cage.
Within a couple episodes you'll get to know the orangutans, and learn to appreciate and understand their complex social structure, and their quirks. Each is very distinctive and has a readily discernible personality.
Watching them, one can't help but feel like you are looking at people. They think, they plan, they ponder, they trick, they scheme, they cry, they laugh, they love (two romances start up during season 1!!). These intelligent and gentle creatures will easily capture your heart, and you'll find that each episode ends much too quickly.