People talk of how much wildlife filmmaking has transformed over the years, and the upcoming 90-minute The Best of Nature – 25 Years special is proof positive. Set to premier on PBS on January 14, Best of – hosted by 20/20‘s Lynn Sherr – features scenes from the most unforgettable episodes in the Nature series since its start in 1982.
With over 350 hours in Nature‘s library from which to pluck scenes, the editing process was an eye-opener for series producer Bill Murphy, illustrating just how may changes the genre has gone through. Murphy noticed shows from the first 10 to 15 seasons were traditional blue-chip nh programs, but moving closer to today’s shows, they morphed from ‘just going out in the field with a camera and shooting behavior in its natural habitat, to actually seeing science at work, and profiling some of the scientists who are out there working with animals.’ The progression continued into learning more about animal consciousness and the bond between humans and animals.
Best of includes everything from newly hatched sea turtles venturing towards the water for the first time to a protective wildebeest defend her calf from wild dogs. There’s also acknowledgement of the importance of Nature‘s creator and longtime host and narrator George Page, who passed away last summer.
A production of Thirteen/WNET New York, the Best of special is written by Fred Kaufman, and produced by Kaufman, Jill Clarke and Murphy, who says the challenge with putting the anniversary show together wasn’t simply choosing great shots, but ‘great moments that can hold up as scenes and behavioral moments.’ In keeping with the theme of change, the Nature series has a new opening for its 25th season – longer than its previous version, and complete with fresh theme music.