Apple TV+ review: 'Earth at Night in Color' reveals the beauty of nature after dark

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in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV
The new Apple TV+ documentary series uses groundbreaking technology to capture the beautiful and usually hidden world of nocturnal animals.

Tom Hiddleston narrates
Tom Hiddleston narrates "Earth At Night In Color," premiering December 4 on Apple TV+.


Throughout the fall, Apple TV+ has been debuting multi-part nature shows, which each boast a combination of familiar celebrity narration and sumptuous photography. The productions take place all over the world, and every episode brings the promise of revolutionary technology that's able to depict things never seen by cameras before.

Apple already debuted Tiny World, back in October, which focused specifically on very small animals, and Becoming You, which followed babies and small children around the world. The latest series, Earth at Night in Color, which focuses on animals, and what they do at night. Netflix did something similar earlier this year, with Night on Earth.

It's not just Netflix doing that kind of show, too, as Apple's efforts are inevitably going to be compared with the BBC's series such as The Blue Planet, Planet Earth, and Planet Earth II. What Apple TV+ does to distinguish itself from all of the rest is to give the proceedings a specific focus.

For instance, Earth at Night in Color, which debuts all six of its episodes on Apple TV+ on December 4, focuses on animals. It's the most impressive of the Apple TV+ nature series so far, with photography is aesthetically beautiful.

And unlike the previous two series, it occasionally brings the filmmakers and camera operators on camera, to talk about what they've just filmed, even expressing wonder themselves. Planet Earth actually does this tool, but only in the extended-length versions that are aired in the UK, so for US and international viewers, this feels fresh.

Beyond that, Earth at Night in Color focuses for entire episodes on specific animals and species, rather than jumping around as the other shows on Apple TV+ did. This way, you can get invested in the story, in a way that you'd find harder in, for instance, Becoming You.

Focusing our attention like this feels simply more engaging. It even really makes you care about the lions, frogs and even termites.

We love the Earth

Tom Hiddleston narrates
Tom Hiddleston narrates "Earth At Night In Color," premiering December 4 on Apple TV+.


Earth at Night in Color, is narrated by Tom Hiddleston, the English actor best known for playing Loki in the Avengers movies. The script, oddly not credited to anyone, is consciously low-key and unobtrusive.

For the most part, the actor contributes the same type of English-accented erudition to the narration that's typical of this type of project, and is familiar from how Olivia Colman also brought the style to Becoming You.

The show was filmed on six different continents, and produced by the British company Offspring Films, which specializes in nature documentaries. Alex Williamson and Isla Robertson are credited as the executive producers, with Sam Hodgson the producer.

Meet the beasts

Tom Hiddleston narrates
Tom Hiddleston narrates "Earth At Night In Color," premiering December 4 on Apple TV+.


Earth at Night in Color benefits greatly from the focus it puts on specific animals in each episode.

The first installment focuses on a lioness and her family of cubs, and even includes a fearful moment when a couple of the cubs go missing, not only from the filmmakers, but from the mother herself. The second focuses on tarsiers, in southeast Asia, a series not often glimpsed in this type of project.

In the third, the production visits jaguars in Africa, and even captures an animal attack in progress. The later episodes visit bears, birds, and cheetahs, and that fourth episode is a highlight, featuring a specific species of bears in a remote Arctic area where it's night for months at a time.

The nature of Apple TV+

Tom Hiddleston narrates
Tom Hiddleston narrates "Earth At Night In Color," premiering December 4 on Apple TV+.


With Earth at Night in Color, Apple TV+ finishes out a banner first full year of nonfiction programming. In addition to the nature shows, the service has shown us everything from the student government gamesmanship of Boys State to in-depth examinations of music legends like The Beastie Boys and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

Not everything has been a home run, with Apple focusing a bit too much on celebrity adulation in shows like Dear and The Greatness Code and the movie Dads. But as ambitious filmmaking projects like Earth at Night in Color show, Apple is very much on the right track when it comes to bringing out programming that shows us worlds we've never seen before.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 3,500member
    Episode 1 was fabulous.

    However I want to take this opportunity to mention a mistake I see in many movies and TV shows, not just Apple's fares. The copyright claim at the end of this show said, "Copyright (c) Apple Video Programming LLC 2020." The format used is not in compliance with the Berne Convention which requires "(C) date owner."

    Here's my list of which shows got it wrong (and right):
    • RIGHT: Defending Jacob, The Morning Show, Truth Be Told, For All Mankind, Tehran, Central Park, Mythic Quest, Dickinson, Home Before Dark, The Banker, Fireball, Greyhound, Home
    • WRONG: (Missing the copyright symbol completely) Ted Lasso, Here We Are
    • WRONG: (date isn't immediately following the copyright symbol) Tiny World, Elephant Queen, Earth at Night in Color, Servant, Trying, Oprah
    • WRONG: (appears to be a lower case "c", not uppercase as required, but it's hard to be certain) Amazing Stories, Little America, On The Rocks
    • SUPERFLUOUS: ("All Rights Reserved" hasn't been legally required anywhere since the year 2000) all Apple's shows
    The funny thing is that several of the shows above use the same person/company for the show's titles, and they can't even make their copyright titles consistent, let alone legally correct. However technically this is all moot because since March 1st, 1989, there is no longer any requirement whatsoever for any copyright notice at all! Yes, you heard that right.

    Actually there are five small countries (or regions) that aren't signatories to the Berne Convention or its cousin TRIPS, but most of them are very small.  The three that you might recognize are Palestine, Eritrea and Kosovo. I'm not sure if these countries/regions respect anyone's copyright, but if they do, a copyright notice might help out.
  • Reply 2 of 6
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    Episode 1 was fabulous.

    However I want to take this opportunity to mention a mistake I see in many movies and TV shows, not just Apple's fares. The copyright claim at the end of this show said, "Copyright (c) Apple Video Programming LLC 2020." The format used is not in compliance with the Berne Convention which requires "(C) date owner."

    Here's my list of which shows got it wrong (and right):
    • RIGHT: Defending Jacob, The Morning Show, Truth Be Told, For All Mankind, Tehran, Central Park, Mythic Quest, Dickinson, Home Before Dark, The Banker, Fireball, Greyhound, Home
    • WRONG: (Missing the copyright symbol completely) Ted Lasso, Here We Are
    • WRONG: (date isn't immediately following the copyright symbol) Tiny World, Elephant Queen, Earth at Night in Color, Servant, Trying, Oprah
    • WRONG: (appears to be a lower case "c", not uppercase as required, but it's hard to be certain) Amazing Stories, Little America, On The Rocks
    • SUPERFLUOUS: ("All Rights Reserved" hasn't been legally required anywhere since the year 2000) all Apple's shows
    The funny thing is that several of the shows above use the same person/company for the show's titles, and they can't even make their copyright titles consistent, let alone legally correct. However technically this is all moot because since March 1st, 1989, there is no longer any requirement whatsoever for any copyright notice at all! Yes, you heard that right.

    Actually there are five small countries (or regions) that aren't signatories to the Berne Convention or its cousin TRIPS, but most of them are very small.  The three that you might recognize are Palestine, Eritrea and Kosovo. I'm not sure if these countries/regions respect anyone's copyright, but if they do, a copyright notice might help out.

    You should be a lawyer or work with Apple on this.

    The thing is though, even without a copyright symbol, proper format etc. It would be near impossible to sue Apple and claim it's your content and it would be near impossible to tell Apple they don't own what they filmed. I learned this from the music industry where the environment is far worse. Some artists would use the copyright symbol as copyright but never registered their work. Why? Well it would be tough to prove you sang the song instead of the artist or tough to prove you wrote it.
  • Reply 3 of 6
    This series seems similar to the Netflix series "Night on Earth," which I enjoyed. Several different low-light image capture technologies were used in the Netflix series. Some night scenes were in color, but others looked like IR and UV illuminators and/or sensors were used.
  • Reply 4 of 6
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,376member
    However technically this is all moot because since March 1st, 1989, there is no longer any requirement whatsoever for any copyright notice at all! Yes, you heard that right.
    So why do you waste your time even looking into this, much less posting about it? Who cares?
    CloudTalkin
  • Reply 5 of 6
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,686member
    This review could do with some editing. The documentary itself sounds interesting. Will have a look. 
  • Reply 6 of 6
    However technically this is all moot because since March 1st, 1989, there is no longer any requirement whatsoever for any copyright notice at all! Yes, you heard that right.
    So why do you waste your time even looking into this, much less posting about it? Who cares?
    Literally no one cares.  I saw a lot of words so I thought there might be some interesting commentary about Apple's non-fiction fare.  Nope.  Nothing but beyond esoteric minutiae about grammar pedantics regarding copyright notifications.  It's like going to a Sunday morning Cars & Coffee and being forced to listen to a dude expound for 20 minutes about the obvious advantages of his Campagnolo rear derailleur vs a Shimano XT as it relates to his bicycle's aerodynamic efficiencies. :D

    On topic:  Even though they aren't narrated by Sir David, Apple has produced some nice nature documentaries.  They've all been good.  Appleinsider's final analysis is wrong though, imo.  Apple isn't really showing us anything we haven't seen before.  Nature documentaries have covered all times of day, in almost environments on earth.  Even though we've all probably seen numerous documentaries, I think Apple should continue doing them.  I'd never turn away from a well made documentary, and they make them well.  
    edited December 2020
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