I've been having an amazing afternoon re-watching this series. It's probably been almost 29 years since 10-year-old me wore out our VHS machine obsessing over this TV show and to be honest, I was expecting my reaction to be more on the "meh" side after all that time has passed and after all the things I've been exposed to since then, oh how wrong I was...
It'll be easy to ascribe my love for this show as purely nostalgic, but it definitely isn't. I honestly think that not only is this the best Dinosaur documentary series ever made, it's among the top natural documentary series out there, period. From the way the show bounces the narrative between the narrator and the paleontologists (who are firmly established center stage), to the absolutely amazing soundtrack and the subtle fade-ins and outs between some of the scenes.
Then there's the animations, never over used, never attempting to risk bringing in the uncanny valley by wanting to hyper realize, which makes each one feel special. The animations may seem dated by today's expectations but they are so incredibly artistically styled and unique that they truly put to shame the outdated look of all those overused CGI effects we're so used to these days. They feel like something tangible you can actually sit down and draw if you practiced a bit (which I did as a kid). Like typical 90's paleoart coming to life. While some of the knowledge in the show is obviously dated, there's actually very little of that given how the show focuses on the history of paleontology and some of the pivotal concepts of Dinosauria in general. The show in itself makes for an excellent piece of archaeology on our understanding and evolution of paleontology.
I'm actually frustrated a bit when watching this while realizing how incredible it would have been to get an updated version of a documentary series like this, using today's knowledge and technology. Something that doesn't treat adults like kids and treats kids like adults.
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