What do you get when you combine the talents of executive producer Jon Favreau, naturalist Sir David Attenborough, composer Hans Zimmer, and the power of prehistoric life in ultra-high-definition? Why, Apple TV’s newest series, “Prehistoric Planet”, which has unfolded this week on the streaming service in five parts.
One early review from CNN applauded the series for “presenting dinosaurs as what they were— not just giant beasts, but complex precursors to the animals roaming the natural world today— instead of the entertainment-driven emphasis on showing them chasing jeeps and eating lawyers.”
David Temple, Houston Museum of Natural Science curator of paleontology at the Morian Hall of Paleontology, commended the docuseries’ plotline, which is informed by recent paleontological discoveries. “This passion to witness what dinosaurs and their world looked like is as old as the discovery of dinosaurs themselves. The first attempt to bring them back to life was simple, line-drawn animation from 1914.”
The curator of all things paleo is for anything that sparks a love of science in younger generations, including a child very close to him. “This will inspire several more generations to love paleontology and dinosaurs,” he shared.” I’m looking forward to watching it with my grandson.”
Compelling popular media can stoke the fires of wonder, especially when done right. Those who have seen “Prehistoric Planet” are already comparing its potential impact to that of BBC Worldwide’s 1999 success “Walking With Dinosaurs,” a miniseries that continues to be credited with creating a new audience for paleontology. Just six years before that, a slew of dino-loving kids exited theaters after action-packed showings of “Jurassic Park.”
One of those among the “Jurassic Park” generation was HMNS Customer Service Lead James E. Washington III. The influence the film had on a whole generation is still immeasurable—not to mention it introduced swooning millennials to Jeff Goldblum. Yet “Walking with Dinosaurs” took it a step further, recalls Washington, who is known around the museum by his nickname, Jurassic James. “There were other dinosaur documentaries, but “Walking with Dinosaurs” was touted as being as scientifically-accurate as possible.
These memories and the potential for renewed excitement in a new generation has led many, including Jurassic James, whose family bought an Apple TV subscription just for the occasion, to tune in to “Prehistoric Planet” this week. “I think it will be the equivalent of “Walking with Dinosaurs” for a new generation,” he said. “I can see some ‘settled’ science, new ideas, and debatable hypothesis and theories on display already.”
The first episode of “Prehistoric Planet” dives into the prehistoric coasts of the inland sea that once split North America in half. As for HMNS, the museum is kicking off its 10th anniversary celebration of the opening of the Morian Hall of Paleontology with a slate of special events and programs for the whole family. Details on our Rock n’ Roar Summer coming soon to hmns.org.