The series Africa premieres on Discovery tonight with a stunning episode about the oldest part of the continent, the Kalahari. The award-winning production team behind the landmark Discovery series Life explores this fascinating realm in "Kalahari."
When we think of Africa, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Over the centuries, it has garnered various reputations—where singular words or short phrases that have become equated with a continent of that size fail to capture it in its entirety. Africa is so much more than what a few hundred words could encompass, and rich with so much that has never before been appreciated in such a concentrated way.
"Kalahari" opens with a cacophony of moments, with sharp editing that is at times too jarring, giving me a sense of whiplash. I appreciate the technique of engaging the audience immediately, and of creating a sense of an exciting adventure to come, but there were a few places where the editing crossed the line to too much, too fast; if anyone is sensitive to that sort of editing, this only occurs in the first 84 seconds. From there on out, the editing is flawless.
Viewing the episode was like watching the best ice skaters in action—the grace, the finesse, and the edge-of-your-seat thrill permeated the experience, and just as skaters can make five minutes of a complex routine look perfectly ordinary, as if they were born knowing how to glide and fly when in fact thousands of hours have been invested into their craft, the filmmakers turn 45 minutes of film into something that looks seamless and exquisite, when the seven-episode series was actually four years in the making, involving more than 2,000 hours caught on film. This was a labor of love, and that was evident in all the little details, just like homemade pancakes with that “special ingredient” are especially tasty.