Covering 70% of the planet, the ocean is truly a dominating force, yet we know less about our oceans than we do about the surface of the moon. Five years in the making, with a budget of over $10 million, The Blue Planet: Seas of Life is the most comprehenExtraordinary footage and eloquent narration by David Attenborough highlight the BBC's remarkable wildlife series The Blue Planet: Seas of Life. "Ocean World" begins with astonishing views of a gigantic blue whale--the elusive Holy Grail of undersea photography--and the marvels continue to demonstrate the power, diversity, and profound ecological influence of Earth's oceans. "Frozen Seas" examines whales, walruses, penguins, and other creatures under the extreme conditions of the Arctic and Antarctic Circles. The next two episodes are even better. "Open Ocean" travels thousands of miles into the vast "liquid desert," where currents determine how the ocean's diverse life forms will assume their places in the food chain. More amazing, "The Deep" descends with a state-of-the-art submersible to the ocean's abyssal plain and beyond, filming such bizarre creatures as the fangtooth, bioluminescent jellies, transparent squid, the giant-mouthed gulper eel, and the never-before-seen hairy angler fish.
"Seasonal Seas" focuses on the explosion of life that accompanies every annual blooming of plankton, numbering in the countless billions and captured here with brilliant microphotography. In "Coral Seas," miles-long reefs of living coral are explored, from deep within (requiring brief computer animation) to the surrounding environs, where you'll see white-tipped sharks in a feeding frenzy while beautiful harlequin shrimp wrestle with a starfish. "Tidal Seas" explores the myriad life forms that thrive when lunar gravity pulls the oceans offshore. "Coasts" is easily the most brutal episode, but no less mesmerizing. The most unexpected, and horrifying, sequence is the orca, earning its "killer whale" nickname by capturing, killing, and tail-tossing a seal pup--a sequence so mysteriously primal that even the most seasoned marine biologist will be utterly amazed. One of the finest wildlife programs you're ever likely to see, The Blue Planet: Seas of Life provides the privilege of visiting a truly alien world teeming with the rarest wonders of nature. The series was recut into the feature-length Deep Blue in 2005. --Jeff Shannon