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» » The Living Planet Sweet Fresh Water (1984– )

Short summary

David Attenborough reveals the extraordinary variety of animal life that live both in or close to or otherwise depend on freshwater focusing principally on the Amazon river and other global freshwater expanses.

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  • comment
    • Author: Hrguig
    David Attenborough is nothing short of a national treasure. He may apparently dislike the term, but it is hard to not say that about such a great presenter who has contributed significantly to some of the best programmes (of the documentary genre and overall) the BBC has ever aired/produced.

    Picking favourites among a consistently very good to masterpiece body of work is very difficult, in a career of so many gems and not a bad effort among them (of the ones personally seen, which is a vast majority). It's very picking favourites of an ice cream flavour, an operatic role, a colour or a particular inspiration of yours in your life, because there are so many. To me though, 'The Living Planet' is not just one of Attenborough's best and most ground-breaking it's also one of the best documentaries of its kind ever viewed by me. It has everything that makes so much of his work so wonderful, hence some of the reiteration of my recent reviews for some of his work (being on a nature documentary binge in my spare time), and deserves everything great that has been said about it.

    As has been said for all the episodes of the series, as it is with much of Attenborough's work, 'The Living Planet' is remarkably consistent in its exceptionally high standard, something that can be seen in "Sweet Fresh Water".

    First and foremost, "Sweet Freshwater" looks amazing. It is gorgeously filmed, done in a completely fluid and natural, sometimes intimate, way and never looking static. In fact much of it is remarkably cinematic with some of the shots being unique for a documentary series, making one forget that it is a series. The editing is always succinct and smooth and the scenery of all the different varied locations is pure magic.

    The music score fits very well, never overly grandiose while never being inappropriate.

    Again, like so many Attenborough nature/wildlife documentaries and its episodes, "Sweet Fresh Water" fascinates, teaches, moves, entertains and transfixes. In terms of the facts there was a very good mix of the known ones and the unknown, some facts being familiar to us while also dealing with very complex and very much relevant issues with tact. The geological and biological approaches to the material educated me more than any information told during a Science class at secondary school, and Attenborough seemed very at ease with it.

    Narration by Attenborough helps significantly. He clearly knows his stuff and knows what to say and how to say it. He delivers it with his usual richness, soft-spoken enthusiasm and sincerity, never talking down to the viewer and keeping them riveted and wanting to know more.

    Like the rest of 'The Living Planet', "Sweet Fresh Water" is not just notable for looking amazing and being informative. It also displays a wide range of emotions and found myself really caring for everything that was shown to us on screen. There is genuine tension and suspense, there is some fun and a lot of emotionally powerful moments done with a lot of tear-jerking pathos. Found myself really caring for what we're told.

    Like much of Attenborough/BBC's other work, "Sweet Fresh Water" doesn't feel like an episodic stringing of scenes, but instead like the best nature documentaries each feels like their own story and journey, with real, complex emotions and conflicts.

    All in all, another perfect example of why 'The Living Planet' is so awe-inspiring and not just a must see, but a requirement, for Attenborough fans. 10/10 Bethany Cox
  • Episode credited cast:
    David Attenborough David Attenborough - Himself
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