Africa - Eye to Eye with the Unknown (2013) 2 x DVD9 + DVD5 Complete Series
Are we living in a golden age of nature documentaries? In recent years, we've been treated to quite a few visually stunning nature-themed television productions that have won great acclaim from critics and viewers alike. The BBC has been doing particularly exceptional work in this area, offering such rich endeavors as The Blue Planet, Planet Earth, Life and Frozen Planet. All of these productions have boasted jaw-dropping visuals, rich orchestral music, thought-provoking depth and the expert narration of David Attenborough. These are series that have managed to find an appealing balance between the sort of scientifically-driven purposefulness of the fuzzy, methodical nature docs of yesteryear and the slick entertainment value that is emphasized by so many modern nature shows. Can now add Africa: Eye to Eye with the Unknown to the list of exceptional BBC Nature docs.

553 cameras. 100 days on horseback. 6,526 anti-malarial tablets. Just under 50 tons of kit carried. Executive producer and Primetime Emmy-nominee Michael Gunton and his team of dedicated filmmakers utilized all of this and more to bring you Africa. Four years in the making across 27 countries, Africa is the latest landmark Discovery Channel/BBC co-production to combine groundbreaking technology and dedicated filmmaking to produce a view into this mystifying continent as you’ve never seen it before. Narrated by renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough, this extraordinary series takes you to epic, never-before-seen locations and captures the incredible new behaviors of the creatures that struggle to survive in a ever-changing continent.

2 x DVD9 + DVD5 | NTSC 16:9 | 03:00:30 + 03:01:43 | 7.34 Gb + 7.33 Gb + 2.59 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English (Dolby AC3, 6 ch)
Subtitles: English, Francais, Espanol
Genre: Documentary

As the title indicates, Africa is the focus this time around. The first five of the six episodes cover different regions of the country:

Kalahari: In Africa's ancient south west corner, two extraordinary deserts sit side by side. Water is in short supply, yet these deserts are somehow full of life because the creatures that live here have turned the rules of survival on their head. This film celebrates nature's ingenuity, no matter how tough it gets. In the Kalahari scrublands, clever meerkats are outsmarted by a wily bird, solitary and belligerent black rhinos get together to party and giant insects stalk huge flocks of birds. Rain almost never falls in the Namib - instead it must make do with vaporous, vanishing fog. The creatures in this, the world's oldest desert, have gone to the extremes, as spiders wheel to escape and a desert giraffe fights to defend his scant resources in the greatest giraffe battle ever filmed.

Savannah: East Africa is a land which is constantly changing. To survive here, creatures must be able to deal with unpredictable twists and turns - wet turning to dry, feast to famine, cold to hot - no matter how hostile it becomes. From dense forests to snow capped peaks, steamy swamps and endless Savannah, this unique and varied land is also a haven for life, supporting large animals in numbers found nowhere else on Earth. But away from the familiar, forever-traveling herds, there are a huge cast of other characters - lizards that steal flies from the faces of lions, vast dinosaur-like birds who stalk catfish through huge wetlands, and an eagle who risks everything on the arrival of ten million bats from a far off rainforest.

Congo: The very heart of Africa is covered in dense tropical rainforest. The animals that live here find the most ingenious ways to carve out their space in a claustrophobic landscape. Danger lurks in every shadow, but some animals thrive here, from honey-stealing chimps to birds with a lineage as old as the dinosaurs, thundering elephants and kick-boxing frogs. Here in the Congo, no matter how tough the competition, you must stand up and fight for yourself and your patch.

Cape: Southern Africa is a riot of life and color because of two great ocean currents that sweep around the continent's Cape. To the east, the warm Agulhas current generates clouds that roll inland to the wettest place in southern Africa. To the west is the cold Benguela current, home to more great white sharks than anywhere else. Moisture laden fog rolls inland, supporting an incredible desert garden. Where the two currents meet, the clash of warm and cold water creates one of the world's most fabulous natural spectacles: South Africa's sardine run. This is the greatest gathering of predators on the planet, including Africa's largest, the Bryde's whale.

Sahara: Northern Africa is home to the greatest desert on Earth, the Sahara. On the fringes, huge zebras battle over dwindling resources and naked mole rats avoid the heat by living a bizarre underground existence. Within the desert, where the sand dunes "sing," camels seek out water with the help of their herders and tiny swallows navigate across thousands of square miles to find a solitary oasis. This is a story of an apocalypse and how, when nature is overrun, some are forced to flee, some endure, but a few seize the opportunity to establish a new order.

The Future takes a broader look at the environmental issues that are making life more difficult for Africa's wildlife. Attenborough comes face to face with a baby rhino and asks what the future holds for this little one. He meets the local people who are standing side-by-side with the wildlife at this pivotal moment in their history. We discover what it takes to save a species, hold back a desert and even resurrect an entire wilderness, revealing what the world was like before modern man.

• Interviews: Interviews are available with Sir David Attenborough, series producer James Honeyborne, executive producer Michael Gunton and cinematographers Martyn Colbeck and Richard Matthews.

• Making Of Featurettes: A behind-the-scenes featurette is tacked onto each episode that provides a welcome look at the filming of the series.

• Deleted Scenes: Additional scenes focus on the Harenna Forest and the Salt Lakes in Djibouti and feature narration by director Matthew Wright and director Nick Easton respectively.

• Outtakes: Rarely seen moments of levity with the BBC Natural History Unit crew.

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