Creating documentaries about dinosaurs has historically been difficult owing to the fact that all the species they center around have been dead for a few million years. However, a new series has brought together the knowledge, skills, and narratives of modern-day scientists, paleoartists, animators, producers, and—yes—David Attenborough to create the highly anticipated Prehistoric Planet.
Set to air on Apple TV+ in May, Prehistoric Planet's features, designs, and information were all consulted by scientists including palaeozoologist Darren Naish, and science illustrator and paleoartist Gabriel Ugueto. This means for the first time feathery baby T.rexes, patterned Pachyrhines, and even sauropod throat sacs are on display. Like all good nature documentaries, it also features an original score by multiple Academy Award winner Hans Zimmer.
Its closest comparison is the BBC's Walking with Dinosaurs, which aired in 1999. Twenty-three years on, however, what we know about dinosaurs, what they looked like, their behavior, parental skills, etc has come on leaps and bounds — and now we'll get to see that knowledge demonstrated in glorious 3D.
The inclusion of some of the biggest names in all things dinosaur science has set palaeo Twitter ablaze as many welcome what they hope to be a refreshingly accurate take on one of the most exciting chapters in Earth’s history.
The series will roll out in May as part of a "five night documentary event" featuring photo-realistic visual effects like those seen in The Lion King and The Jungle Book remakes, both of which Prehistoric Planet producer Jon Favreau also worked on. Hanging up his Disney shoes, Favreau joins co-producer Mike Gunton and BBC Studios' Natural History Unit in teaming up with consulting scientists to look back into the forests, deserts, ice worlds, and aquatic and marine environments of the Cretaceous Era.
The delight with which the accuracy of the dinosaurs glimpsed so far in the newly released trailer and sneak peek below have been greeted suggests future dinosuar-featuring enterprises will have a lot to look up to. We're looking at you Jurassic World Dominion, which now finds itself released to the world just a couple of weeks after Prehistoric Planet.
The series kicks off globally on Apple TV+ from Monday, May 23 until Friday, May 27.