Planet Earth II: The Best TV Show Ever?

Planet Earth II: The Best TV Show Ever?

Emily Hahn

The popular IMDb website, which rates movies and TV shows, has recently proclaimed Planet Earth II as the highest rated TV show of all time. With the rating of 9.6 (out of 10), it narrowly edged out Band of Brothers (9.5 rating), the HBO World War II drama from 2001. Although the title of “best TV show ever” is highly subjective, the combined opinions of 70 million IMDb users have concluded that Planet Earth II is the most worthy of that title.


The original Planet Earth was shown in 2006, and received high praise from critics and audiences. It is a nature documentary series produced by the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation). Ten years later, the sequel, also produced by BBC, incorporates new technologies unavailable previously, such as drones and Ultra-high-definition (4K). First presented in Britain in 2016, Planet Earth II is now being shown in the United States (BBC America, Optimum channel 101, Saturday nights at 9 pm. Old episodes are also available on Optimum on-demand.).


Despite its high praise, Planet Earth II is not for everyone. If you do not like nature documentaries, it’s probably not your cup of tea. However, if you are not opposed to seeing beautifully filmed wild animals described poetically by a man with a British accent, there’s a very quick way to see if it’s worth investing your valuable time. There’s a 2-minute preview on YouTube ( depicting one of the most spectacular, if not disturbing, scenes from the first episode. “Iguana chased by snakes” shows the fate of a newborn marine iguana attempting to run to safety while being chased by a swarm of racer snakes. Coupled with music appropriate for a horror movie, it is arguably one of the most dramatic, thrilling, and shocking scenes filmed for television.


Aside from the marine iguanas, which are only found on the Galapagos Islands, the first episode of the series entitled “Islands” showcases other unusual nature scenes from remote islands throughout the world. The most stunning may be the penguins from Zavodovski, an uninhabited volcanic island near Antarctica. The small island is home to more than a million chinstrap penguins that are attracted to the warmth supplied by the active volcano. A breeding pair of penguins must guard their newborn from predators, so they take turns going into the sea in search for food. In a desperate fight for survival, these flightless birds must battle enormous crashing waves as they are battered against the rocky cliffs. Having skirted what appears to be certain death, they must then waddle through a massive crowd of a million penguins to find their mate and offspring. The epic tale is visually stunning and inspirational.


Watching Planet Earth II is an opportunity for the couch potato to travel to remote parts of the world and witness beauty and drama. It’s a show that parents and children can enjoy together, and perhaps inspire people to try to preserve nature for future generations.