Five years ago I went on a journey much like the explorers of old. Unlike those explorers of old though, my journey was into…THE MIND! Actually, it was nothing like what those old fuckers went through because typically their lives were in constant danger and I primarily faded in to a couch. Yes, you guessed it, my journey was taking mushrooms for the first time.
While I dabbled in your typical hallucinogenic fare (talking to the moon, laughing hysterically about nothing and, of course, wondering why we couldn’t all just live in peace [man…]) nothing sticks out in my mind more than watching the entirety of BBC’s Planet Earth on Bluray. It was vibrantly beautiful, captivatingly hypnotic and oddly hilarious. That last part was the most intriguing. Documentaries, by their very nature, aren’t supposed to be laugh riots (go watch Dear Zachary or Jesus Camp if you don’t believe me or hate yourself and everyone around you), but that’s exactly what the BBC Natural History Unit has delivered for years, putting in a mind-boggling amount of time to capture the true essence of nature: Animals. Are. Fucking. Clowns.
Of course, it isn’t all of the BBC Natural History Unit’s catalog that I’m interested in turning you on to. No, no. The documentaries in question have to involve a single guiding voice to make them worthwhile and that voice is David Attenborough.
While I’m not one for his personal introductions (where he looks like he’s trying to invent a new version of sign language in between punctuation marks), his smooth proper British-accented narration has guided me from wonder, to laughing fits, to horror, and (sometimes) to sleep. It has also guided my penis into a vagina on occasion, but that’s primarily because Sir Attenborough’s voice is the most sought after aphrodisiac next to Tiger dicks and Boone’s Farm wine.
That being said, there really are only a few gems that, if you are so inclined, are worth the balls to trip over. Aside from the aforementioned Planet Earth, there’s also Blue Planet, an 8 part mini-series which works well with acid, but I would skip over the Deep Sea episode because you will have a bad time. The deep sea ain’t nothing to fuck with. I’m looking at you Angler Fish.
There’s also Madagascar, which works well with a strong edible and Frozen Planet, which sounds like a great time to buy some Ice (meth), but don’t do that. Don’t do meth. Just smoke a keefed out bowl with some hash on it and you’ll be fine.
But all of those, yes even Planet Earth, pales in comparison to the newly arrived (to Netflix anyway) Attenborough masterpiece, Africa. Taking four years to film, the series was first broadcast in 2013 and is comprised of six episodes, Kalahari, Savannah, Congo, Cape, Sahara and The Future. While the last episode sounds like you’ll see cyborg lions hunting down hovergazelles, it predominately focuses on the conservation efforts and struggles for the exponentially growing continent. I know what you’re saying hypothetical curmudgeon, “We’ve all had to do a half-assed report on our favorite African animal in elementary school and I had a subscription to Zoobooks until I was 26, what makes this nature documentary so special?”
Well congratulations on staying topical, non-existent segue person. I’ll tell you. Africa takes a typically dry listless genre, does a fakie 720 quadruple double laser kick flip and blows the entire concept straight out of your brain’s ass. In the very opening scene of the first episode, David Attenborough introduces you to the Fairy Circles, circular patches of barren land found in the Namib desert whose formation science can’t quite explain. It sets the stage for the entirety of the series. “We don’t know how the fuck any of this shit happened, but we filmed it, so enjoy!” Also in first episode you’ll be witness to a pop and locking giraffe introducing an oddly familiar Rhino courtship, the rare and endangered Golden Cave Catfish living underneath one of the harshest deserts on the planet, the everlasting horror show that is the Armored Bush Cricket and a fight between a young and old Giraffe that wouldn’t look out of place in a John Woo flick.
Obviously, with everything I’ve described above, a few dabs are required to truly enjoy the experience you’re about to partake in. But really, it doesn’t take much to be truly captivated by the raw majesty that isAfrica. Find it by doing the search thingy on Netflix, type in A-F-R-I-C-A, melt back and savor.
Brandon would like to take this time to tell you to stop worrying about Pandas. They are the goth kids of the Animal Kingdom. They want to die. Just let them go. You can agree with him on twitter.