David Attenborough, as has been said many times, is wholly deserving of being called a national treasure, although it is a term he happens to not like apparently. He has done so many treasures and even his lesser output of a long and consistently impressive career is still good.
Absolutely adore the first 'The Blue Planet', one of my favourites of his, so was psyched to hear that there was a second 'Blue Planet' series. Luckily, 'Blue Planet II' turned out to be every bit as amazing, easily a highlight of 2017 television and one of not many programmes that year to leave me completely transfixed and wanting to see the whole lot and looking forward to it every week. This is saying a lot, seeing as apart from the odd gem 2017 has not seen me watching new television by habit, often find myself seeing re-runs or films more.
OK, so 'Blue Planet II' may not be as ground-breaking as 'The Blue Planet' and not everything is new here. This doesn't matter, because 'Blue Planet II' is just as beautiful to watch, non-stop transfixing, educational, inspirational and emotionally complex. "One Ocean" couldn't have been a more perfect beginning and sets the tone for the series incredibly.
Visually, "One Ocean" is a wonder and a feast of gorgeous images. It has gorgeous scenery and rich colours, while the animals and marine life are captured in all their glory. Standing out even more is the photography, the underwater sequences are just as stunning as 'The Blue Planet' (unequalled when it comes to underwater sequences).
Particularly good in terms of images are the dolphins surfing the waves, the mobula rays, the confetti of the deep and the almost balletic giant trevally fish.
While not with the involvement of George Fenton, the music here soars, rouses just as much and touches the soul just as much, definitely worthy of cinematic quality. It not only complements the visuals but enhances them to a greater level.
Really can't fault the narrative aspects in "One Ocean" either. There are things already known to me, still delivered with a lot of freshness, but there was a lot that was quite an education. Found myself learning a lot about the mystery and beauty of the ocean and the marine life that inhabits it.
Attenborough's narration helps quite significantly too, 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.
Standout scenes in "One Ocean" are the fish pirouetting in the air to catch their prey, the dolphins surfing the waves and the bottlenose dolphins and the killer whales in one of the most surprising scenes of the whole series.
Nothing episodic or repetitive here. Instead, it feels like its own individual story with real, complex emotions and conflicts. One roots for the animals, whether prey or predator. The behind the scenes footage "The Deep Blue" brings honesty and humanity, what the crew go through and how they work against sometimes volatile conditions makes the viewer feel admiration for them.
Overall, amazing. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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