Look No Further than the BBC's Natural History Collection for the Definitive Documentary Series

Say what you will about the BBC's extensive range of programming, but -- in this writer's eyes, at least -- no one has come closer to mastering the art of the nature documentary than the house that brought us the delightful Sir David Attenborough and the amazing Planet Earth. And while that series arguably stands out as the BBC's greatest documentary achievement to date, it is only the latest in a long line of equally gorgeous, spellbinding DVD sets.

For the many of you that grew up following Sir Attenborough's escapades (and listening to his captivating voice) around the world, the newly released BBC Natural History Collection will make a welcome addition to your DVD collection. The voluminous 33-plus hour 17-DVD set includes The Life of Mammals, The Life of Birds, Blue Planet and (of course) Planet Earth. It also comes with more hours of special features, and other goodies than you can throw a stick at.

Being the biased oceanographer that I am, I was particularly enthralled by the inclusion of the Blue Planet series which, to many (even among the scientific community), easily stands out as the most thorough, amazing exploration of the planet's oceans. The episodes focusing on the deep sea and coral reefs, in particular, had some of the best photography and footage I have ever seen -- including shots of many rare specimens.

The Life of Mammals and The Life of Birds, which both features Sir Attenborough front and center -- though a bit dated now by comparison -- contain some of the most detailed footage of creatures both small and large from 42 countries around the world. Seeing the world from a bird's point of view, through the use of UV cameras, makes for some exhilarating cinematography -- as does a close-up of a kangaroo's birth.

Doing justice to these spectacular documentaries in a single review is no easy task (as you can clearly see); far be it from me to give it all away and spoil their content. Let's just say that any documentary-lover worth his or her salt should not let this prime opportunity to enjoy some of the BBC's best work go by.

See also: ::David Attenborough: Once More, With Feeling

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