King­dom of the Oceans: Preda­tor’s Paradise

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

Sun­day, 7.30pm, Na­tional Ge­o­graphic Af­ter Board­walk Em­pire I couldn’t bear to be­gin this week’s page with more crime. So I thought this beau­ti­ful doco about the un­der­wa­ter world might break the spell. The nar­ra­tion be­gins: ‘‘ Night on the reef. The streets are dark. Most of the res­i­dents are asleep or hid­ing. They are wise to stay in­doors tonight be­cause preda­tors are on the prowl.’’ OK, it’s not James Ell­roy, but it sure sounds like crime. Or is it an un­der­wa­ter ver­sion of West Side Story, as a gang of white tipped reef sharks cruise in, look­ing for ac­tion? Of course it’s nei­ther, as na­ture’s theme song al­ways has been Live and Let Die. If you thought fish­ing a bru­tal sport, just watch the way these pup­pies rip their prey in half. No won­der the gen­tle reef res­i­dents are ad­vised to stay in­doors at night. Hap­pily, from about five min­utes in, the crime metaphor drifts away and the sheer beauty of a co­ral atoll in the day­time emerges. ‘‘ It’s the marine equiv­a­lent of a rain­for­est,’’ says our man. Ah, that’s bet­ter.

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