The first episode of The Discovery Channel's "Frozen Planet" aired Sunday, only days after flying penguins created a buzz surrounding the show. The new budding stars could add a serious spin on reality television.
"Frozen Planet" is a co-production of BBC and The Discovery Channel. According to the Discovery Channel, the makers, which are also responsible for "Planet Earth" and "Life", have moved to the Arctic this time to produce the new show "where the scale and beauty of the scenery and sheer power of the natural elements are unlike anywhere else on the planet."
The flying penguins, which received plenty of attention on a Delta airline flight while heading first class to the movie's premiere, have reportedly turned nature into a comedic series. "In Sunday's second hour, male penguins by the hundreds of thousands anticipate the spring return of the females, for whose favor each male must compete by building a swankier nest than his rivals," The San Francisco Chronicle reported.
"In a delightful sequence, a painstaking penguin gathers stones one by one, only to have them filched, one after another, by a scheming neighbor whenever the hapless suitor's back is turned. These performers, with their Chaplin-esque gait and impeccable timing, would have been right at home in a 1920s two-reeler," the Chronicle added.
In fact, the new Discovery show appears to be a lot like other television dramas and reality shows on the air. The male penguins are eager to compete for their future mates while one massive polar bear makes a "Eurotrip" kind of venture across the Arctic looking for a mate. When the bear finally meets up with the bear that he's been looking forward, the two share a touching few weeks before they are once again separated by fate.
"That's the thing about the natural world: It gives you amazing natural drama," says Vanessa Berlowitz, "Frozen Planet" series producer. "It looks like it's scripted, but we don't fake anything. Everything that we film is a complete portrayal of reality. And the audience thinks, `Wow, they did that without trained animals!'"
A reality show that actually depicts reality may be a hard truth to swallow for some, who have acquainted themselves to other reality series like "The Bachelor." Next up, the Arctic Shore?