King­dom of Plants

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

Sun­day, 7.30pm, ABC1 Hav­ing done ev­ery an­i­mal from aard­vark to ze­bra, David At­ten­bor­ough ob­vi­ously needed some new sub­jects. And hav­ing ap­peared in land­scapes from pole to pole he is prob­a­bly sick of all the travel. Which may be why this new three-part doc­u­men­tary es­chews an­i­mals and is shot en­tirely in the botan­i­cal gar­dens in Kew. That Kew in­cludes ex­am­ples of 90 per cent of all plant species on the planet also helps. Given At­ten­bor­ough’s vast ex­pe­ri­ence in na­ture doc­u­men­taries it is no sur­prise this is lovely to look at, with spec­tac­u­lar dig­i­tal im­ages to ex­plain the evo­lu­tion of the plants that have be­come the mon­archs of their king­dom. At­ten­bor­ough de­liv­ers the usual high-stan­dard script, but it is the im­ages that make this show a de­light, es­pe­cially on a big, high-def­i­ni­tion screen. Watch some of the scenes with the sound turned down and you will ap­pre­ci­ate just how gor­geous it is. It is nearly 20 years since At­ten­bor­ough’s path­break­ing The Pri­vate Life of Plants and this new of­fer­ing is more lovely than any­body could have imag­ined back then. An­other tri­umph from the mas­ter of na­ture study. A short ‘‘ mak­ing of’’ doc­u­men­tary that fol­lows ex­plains how it was done. ma­chine, which com­pli­cates the crime fight­ing. And there is beau­ti­ful if homi­ci­dal hacker Root (Amy Acker), per­haps not the best name for the Aus­tralian mar­ket, who wants to set the com­puter pro­gram free (cue evil but al­lur­ing laugh­ter). Oh yes, and there are a cou­ple of cops who do their blun­der­ing best to help Reese. Apart from the stan­dard cop show char­ac­ters, does this re­mind you of any­thing? Any­thing writ­ten by Philip K. Dick in par­tic­u­lar and filmed with Tom Cruise? The con­cept is cer­tainly sim­i­lar to that of the movie Mi­nor­ity Re­port, in which a po­lice team ar­rests pre-crims just be­fore they act. It’s not some­thing the stars of this non­sense on stilts do es­pe­cially well — the graph­ics of the ma­chine scan­ning data­bases and city streets are the best thing about the show. Still, given this is the sec­ond se­ries, you don’t need soft­ware to pre­dict it will be around for a while.

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