Frozen Planet is a seven-part series focusing specifically on the Arctic and Antarctic regions of the Earth. Narrated by Sir David Attenborough, the series begins with an overview of the key landscape highlights and wildlife groups of the regions, and then covers them through the changing of seasons in the course of a year.
As is usually the case with these series, I left the experience with a much wider appreciation for a specific topic than when I started the journey. On paper, a seven-part look at the frozen, polar ends of our planet might seem a tad redundant. Ice, winds, maybe a couple of polar bears and the backdrop of a giant glacier... But the opening episode, "The Ends of the Earth", quickly clears that narrow thought from your mind. Perhaps the single most effective BBC Earth episode to date, it not only sets the stage for why this area really is a great unexplored wilderness, but it also dazzles with spectacular shots one after the other. Although its animal populations may not be as diverse as some other areas, they are still rich with life, and often in fantastic number. Every species must make specific adjustments, not only to survive the punishing winters, but to thrive. And it's these individual stories that begin to unold.
If you've seen Yellowstone then you'll be familiar with the bulk of Frozen Planet, as the central four episodes are dedicated to showcasing environments and animals as they transition from season to season. (Yes, even the arctic regions have distinct seasons.) This section proceeds at a more gradual pace than the rest, especially as we deal with a lot of the same animals multiple times. But it also provides something more than a fleeting "hey, look at that cool thing." Polar bears, whales and penguins receive special attention, and we get to witness both the harsh winter months where not all animals survive, and the relatively balmy and relaxed summer season, where fleeting warmth and abundance can be had for a time.