Friday, May 1, 2020

Day 42: Review "Night on Earth" (Netflix Series)

This article is part of The 100 Days Offensive. Go to Day 41 or Day 43.

Animal activity that does not involve eating my wife's plants in the garden nor destroying equipment in her shed is an easy sell on us. So we watched Night on Earth with great anticipation.

The premise of this series is using high tech cameras to show nightly activity of animals on earth that was previously unknown or unobservable.

The series is true to that promise. The images vary between good and really, really excellent. We really loved a lot of those pictures. As I own a Sony A7S especially for it's low-light capabilities, I was aware of the advancements in night-time photography. But this series takes it to whole new level. The ability to shoot landscapes in color and 4K let's forget you sometimes that the shooting took place during the night. Sometimes (e.g. in forests) they resorted to thermal imaging and even there they achieve a resolution I had not seen before.

The primary weakness of the series is it's recurring explanation that is using previously unavailable technology to shoot those scenes. Explaining this 3-4 times every episode becomes a bit dull. They could have easily inserted that by explaining some aspects of that technology to emphasize that, but they have put their bet on repetitions of nearly the same text over and over again. The female narrator is very good (I don't hold those repetitions against her as she probably did not have a say in that regard) but I have to confess that I kept expecting David Attenborough's voice to take over.

A second weakness are the story arcs told. Those are sometimes too short or end abruptly and let you expect a continuation at some later point (which does not happen).

Overall I would summarize that the technical quality is between excellent and stunning. This already makes the series sufficiently fun to watch. The storytelling does not approach the level of "Planet Earth". But if you liked that series, I can nevertheless recommend you to watch "Night on Earth". You will like it even with it's weaknesses.

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