The Nature of Things returns with stunning “The Wild Canadian Year”

It’s no secret that I love documentaries. No matter how jam-packed my days and nights are, I can always find time for another doc. The best is not only educational but beautifully filmed, impeccably scored and wholly entertaining. That’s certainly the case for “The Wild Canadian Year,” the five-part documentary kicking off the newest season of The Nature of Things on CBC.

Moving to Sundays at 8 p.m. this fall, “The Wild Canadian Year” is the perfect way to start the long-running series’ season. Filmed by award-winning documentary filmmakers Jeff and Sue Turner of River Road Films, “The Wild Canadian Year” turns cameras on this country’s wildlife during the four seasons (the fifth episode is a making of). It all begins Sunday with spring, as Arctic fox pups take their first steps and black bear cubs learn to climb trees after the long cold days of winter while female caribou make the dangerous trek to reach their calving grounds.

With 4K ultra-high definition providing the visuals and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra the soundtrack, “The Wild Canadian Year” truly is a spectacle. I don’t have 4K in my home, but watching a screener of Episode 1, I can only imagine how incredible this project looks. My laptop’s retina screen captured amazing detail—droplets of water as part of a thunderous waterfall, the nostril flare of a seal, the feathers on a hummingbird—so the better the screen the more breathtaking this will appear.

A spectacular 75 stories were recorded in Canada’s provinces and territories for the series, beginning Sunday with a caribou herd in northern Quebec that treks far north while the area’s lakes and rivers are still frozen. The animals follow each other, creating a beaten path that expends far less energy than breaking new ground. That energy store is needed at a moment’s notice: the pack is constantly hunted by hungry wolves.

Fauna isn’t the only thing to be focused on in “The Wild Canadian Year.” The thundering Hay River is explored next, as thick ice plunges over a waterfall creating into the vicious tumult below. Then it’s to the boreal forest of the east where a truly fascinating thing is documented. Cameras show the rebirth of a tree frog, frozen solid during the winter months thanks and revived during the snow melt. The camera work is so detailed you can see cataracts of ice over each eyeball and its first breath of the new year.

“The Wild Canadian Year” is the stunning result of nature and technology combining for stellar storytelling set to a magnificent soundtrack. Don’t miss it.

The Nature of Things returns Sunday, Sept. 24, at 8 p.m. on CBC with “The Wild Canadian Year.”

Images courtesy of CBC.

 

 

Greg David
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Greg David

Prior to becoming a television critic and owner of TV, Eh?, Greg David was a critic for TV Guide Canada, the country's most trusted source for TV news. He has interviewed television actors, actresses and behind-the-scenes folks from hundreds of television series from Canada, the U.S. and internationally. He is a podcaster, public speaker, weekly radio guest and educator, and past member of the Television Critics Association.
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