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Follow the true stories of five of the world's most celebrated, yet endangered animals; penguins, chimpanzees, lions, painted wolves and tigers. Each in a heroic struggle against rivals and... See full summary »




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Complete series cast summary:
David Attenborough ...  Himself - Presenter 5 episodes, 2018


Follow the true stories of five of the world's most celebrated, yet endangered animals; penguins, chimpanzees, lions, painted wolves and tigers. Each in a heroic struggle against rivals and against the forces of nature, these families fight for their own survival and for the future of their dynasties.

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penguin | chimpanzee | lion | wolf | tiger | See All (8) »




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Release Date:

11 November 2018 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Dynasties See more »

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User Reviews

The importance, rise and fall of animal families
12 January 2019 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

When it comes to nature/wildlife documentaries, to me, and most likely many others, David Attenborough (still going strong with no signs of tiring for such an amazingly long career) is the unrivalled king. Just love his delivery, with a voice that one can listen to for hours. Everything he's done (some of it ground-breaking or the quintessential documentary on the subject in question) is so well made, educational, always compelling and have always felt a lot of emotion from a vast majority of them. The best documentaries are landmarks and some of the best ever produced, nature or not.

'Dynasties' is yet another gem in a huge body (several decades worth) of work full of them. Attenborough's filmography is a very, very rare case of not having anything bad in it, even find the more flawed work decent. Not one of his very best, but again only because the gems are so many, but everything so amazing about his work is present here and in a way that doesn't feel tired. The animals covered are familiar ones, but actually the approach 'Dynasties' takes is for an Attenborough documentary not one done much before if ever. In that it follows specific families within specific species. Some of the Attenborough 'Wildlife Specials' did it but not to this extent.

It looks amazing for starters. The scenery takes the breath away, especially in "Tiger", but it is more than just beautiful scenery. For example in "Emperor" one is reminded of how cruel the Antarctic can be. The scenery is complemented by photography of quite cinematic quality, not just a feast for the eyes but it is also expansive and intimate in equal measure, enhancing the impact of the emotional and tense scenes of which in 'Dynasties' there are many. A fine example being the wild action in "Lion". The music has both grandeur and atmosphere, not intrusive at all and adds a lot more than once.

As one can expect, the narration is very thought-provoking and never rambling or speculative. Although the animals themselves (here chimpanzees, emperor penguins, lions, painted wolves and tigers) and the habitats are familiar, the approach that they are explored in feels fresh and sees the animals in a new light, or so that's how it felt. 'Dynasties' did not feel like five episodes, it felt like five individual stories with animals portrayed as relatable characters (without being too humanised, even when given names like David the Chimpanzee) and a wide range of emotions.

Don't let the criticisms 'Dynasties' faced before airing put you off, the portrayal of the animals is not reassuring on the most part and certainly never one-sided but instead complex and uncompromising, while the landscapes have more than them than looking glorious and nothing feels sugar-coated or over-humanised. A lot of information is covered but felt properly explored and not rushed or disjointed, and the facts educate and illuminate while not being compromised for the emotionally complex storytelling. One does feel upset and angry at what happened to David, and the penguins facing perilous danger leaves penguin lovers biting their nails. But the scene that stayed with me the most was the chilling and heart-wrenching scene with Red and the hyenas in "Lion".

Once again, Attenborough's distinctive and unequalled narrative delivery is sincere, enthusiastic as well as understated. One can listen to him for a long time and not tire of him, no other nature/wildlife documentary narrator/presenter has made me feel this way. The behind the scenes footage fascinates and also leaves emotional impact at how inspirational the crew are, especially in "Emperor".

Summarising, wonderful. For me it was one of television's 2018 highlights, only took me so long to review it due to being busy and having lots to watch and review. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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