Coming to Blu-ray this Tuesday, March 27th, is The BBC High Definition Natural History Collection. The set includes the full, six-disc Special Edition of the amazing documentary series Planet Earth. The collection includes single discs of Galapagos and Ganges, as well as the two-disc Wild China. It's 10 discs total, with a lot of nature packed in. It was previously released as an eight-disc set, but has been re-released, now that the Special Edition of Planet Earth is available.
This is not to be confused with the non-HD BBC Natural History Collection, also coming out on Tuesday. That set also includes the Planet Earth Special Edition, but not on Blu-ray. The other features are different as well.
The highlight of The BBC High Definition Natural History Collection is, of course, Planet Earth. This award-winning, highly popular, 11-part series has surely paid for many future productions, and inspired tons of follow up. If you do not yet own Planet Earth on Blu-ray, that alone is motive enough to purchase this collection.
Each episode of Planet Earth examines a specific biome, except the first one, "Pole to Pole," which mostly sets things up. Mountains, caves, plains, deserts, frozen tundra, jungles, forests, fresh water, and the oceans are explored in rich detail, really giving viewers a look at their world as never before, with a focus on the animals the dwell in each.
Planet Earth spends 50 minutes in each episode, then there is an additional 10-minute featurette subtitled "Planet Earth Diaries," which looks at the challenges in making such a series.
First broadcast in the UK during 2006, Discovery Channel carried a version in the U.S. in 2007 with Sigourney Weaver (Avatar) narrating in place of famed naturalist David Attenborough. For the DVD, of course, Attenborough is in full force, displaying much more gravitas than Weaver ever managed. It's fine to use an actor, but sometimes utilizing an expert in the field is just a much better fit. Planet Earth is one of those cases.