There’s nothing wrong with “Untamed Americas,” a four-hour National Geographic Channel documentary, which offers the increasingly standard HD-quality footage of wild beasts.
It’s just that this handsome effort, which will air June 10-11, doesn’t quite measure up to the bar Discovery Channel has set with a series of internationally produced nature docs, including “Planet Earth,” “Life” and “Frozen Planet.”
Narrated by Josh Brolin, NatGeo’s effort yields some arresting imagery but few really jaw-dropping moments, although I have to confess, I did enjoy watching a bunch of grizzly bears feast on a whale carcass that happened to wash ashore; or a giant squid cannibalizing one of its brethren. File those under “Things you don’t see every day.”
For the most part, though, the connecting theme –- divided into Mountains, Coasts, Forests and Deserts on the American continents -– is a bit more arbitrary than usual, and really doesn’t seem any closer to home than more exotic locations, despite the promo line “Your backyard as you’ve never seen it before."
But the truth is if you have an appetite for such fare, you’ve seen quite a lot of this before, or at least variations of it.
That doesn’t mean “Untamed Americas” isn’t worth watching, only that with more quality nature programming being produced, it’s getting harder and harder for such an endeavor to separate itself from the herd.