Plot: Nature’s Great Race offers a look inside the journeys undertaken by animals, showing us what drives them to embark on these dangerous treks and what the risks and rewards involve. This was a coproduction between PBS and the BBC, so you know the production values are high and the attention to detail is great. This is a three episode collection and each episode runs about an hour, with a focus on a specific animal and their incredible path. In these episodes, you’ll see the journeys of caribou, zebra, and elephants, each quite different and unique. The episodes shed light on why these animals make the treks across rugged terrain and risk their lives in the process, with extensive tracking tech, on the ground camera crews, and insight from biologists and nature experts.
Entertainment Value: This series was titled Nature’s Epic Journeys when it was first broadcast on the BBC, so if you know it by that name, this is the same three episode series. Provided you have an interest in nature’s splendor, these episodes are a brisk, interesting watch. The animals selected allow for a much different experience in each episode, even though the basic premise is the same. I’ve seen other programs about migration patterns and animal journeys, but Nature’s Great Race is so focused on that concept, it offers a greater depth of information and insight. A team tracks the animals, extensive camera coverage keeps pace with specific animals, then we have all the best available biological expertise on tap. As this is a nature documentary, you know to expect some sad moments, as the realities of the wild aren’t always kind. But that also means we watch some incredible triumphs and the balance is well handled here. The variety of terrain and challenges faced ensures that even if you watch all three episodes in a row, you’ll never be bored or be hit with repetitive information. In the end, these are brisk and informative programs that have a lot to offer. If you appreciate nature programs or documentaries in general, I think Nature’s Great Race is well worth a look.