Picks and Pans Review: Blue Planet
Discovery Channel (Sun., May 5, 7 p.m. ET)
Have you ever seen Pacific dolphins play a game of pass the seaweed? Or Australian squid change color during their breeding ballet? Or a crown-of-thorns starfish extrude its guts and digest coral as a fast-food item? Okay, that last one's a little yucky, but it's part of the astonishing variety of life covered in the four-hour conclusion of Blue Planet. (The first four hours, which had their U.S. premiere in January, get a repeat showing May 5 at 3 p.m.)
The BBC-Discovery Channel co-production, narrated by venerable wildlife enthusiast David Attenborough, is most instructive as well as visually spectacular. You can mull the interconnections of the ecosystem while you root for a school of sand lance to elude a hungry dogfish. And there's humor in this marine survey, particularly when Attenborough describes a giant horse conch's pursuit of a tulip snail: "In a world of snail paces, the conch is something of a Ferrari."
Battling elephant seals and seemingly sadistic killer whales inject violence into the last hour, but otherwise this is an eye-popping experience for all ages.
Bottom Line: A must sea