Picks and Pans Review: Alien Planet

updated 05/16/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/16/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Discovery Channel
(Sat, May 14, 8 p.m. ET)

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It's a jungle there—way, way out there.

Based on Wayne Barlowe's book Expedition, this wildly speculative special uses computer animation to depict a 24th-century mission to a planet called Darwin IV. Instead of intrepid astronauts, birdlike robots Leo and Ike survey the territory and find it's populated by exceedingly strange creatures like the nasty Arrowtongue, the fleet Gyro-Sprinter and the fearsome flying Skewer.

Alien Planet would be fun if it were just an excuse for animators to let their imaginations roam. But a crew of scientists is on hand to give the program a theoretical underpinning and play along with the idea that there's a far-off place where the deadly Daggerwrist preys on the poor Trunk-Sucker. This is a show for all who say, "Hey, why not?"

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