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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

‘Seasonal Wonderlands’ review: Tracking the dramatic transformations in nature

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Since we are stuck at home and travel looks light years away, we can visit exotic landscapes to watch stunning changes courtesy BBC’s nature documentary, Seasonal Wonderlands. The three-part series follows the forests of New England swapping green for gold and red, the mysterious Okavango Delta in the centre of the Kalahari Desert turn into a water-world and the beautiful and brutal land of ice and snow, Svalbard come alive when the sun warms the top of the world.

Narrated by Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson, the stately trees of New England’s forests fight an ongoing battle with crafty caterpillars, industrious beavers, vain moose who strip a tree bare to nourish their antlers, rattlesnakes, sapsuckers and mischievous chipmunks to don its autumn colours. The show follows the transformation from March for seven months for the “Midas touch of fall to the turn the forest into gold.”

Seasonal Wonderlands

  • Season: 1
  • Episodes: 3
  • Run time: 40-45 minutes
  • Creator: Paul Bradshaw
  • Narrator: Domhnall Gleeson
  • Storyline: Tracking three landscapes that change dramatically through the year

‘Okavango’ starts in the dry season in September, six months before the flood, where catfish are gasping for their last breath even as African fish eagles and jackals gather for a banquet. From that dust bowl, to see the transformation into a lush, green is nothing short of miraculous. The wet lands bring its own challenges from hippos fighting for supremacy to the baboons doing a strange jig in the water.

Even as a wide variety of birds feed of pike and many other fish, one marvels at the Okavango River that does not go into the sea, instead forming the largest inland delta in the world.

Polar bears look so cute and cuddly that one forgets how dangerous they are. In Svalbard, as the sun warms up the Norwegian archipelago after four months of darkness, a rich wildlife is revealed that includes said cuddly polar bears, arctic foxes, sleepy walrus and reindeer.

Though these changes are so dramatic that they can be seen from space, one might as well live vicariously with the hyenas, warthogs, and plump ptarmigans.

Seasonal Wonderlands premieres on June 27 at 9 pm on Sony BBC Earth

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