This article reviews the rising popularity of nature documentaries and films that was taking place in August; 2007.This is against the backdrop of movies like the Winged Migration and the March of the Penguins. This period also saw the release of films like the Arctic Tale with the release of Elephants of the Okavango, Turtle’s Song and Earth to follow. It also discusses the success of Meerkat Manor by Animal Planet. Following two successful seasons, Meerkat Manor inspired the BBC and Discovery Network to produce their versions (Rebensdorf, 1).
These documentaries have in fact earned themselves the name ‘fuzzumentaries’ (Rebensdorf, 1). They are however, different from the traditional documentaries. The characters take on a life of their own and in the new wave; they portray life situations and emotions as they are in human social framework. Not only are the characters humanized, they are also ‘Hollywoodized’. Certain critics compare them to conventional nature programming which basically showcase the family unit as a moral ideal (Rebensdorf, 1).
The new genre is pushes the ideals of family further and demonstrate the various facets of the family life which is usually not the classic, ideal and conservative representation. The documentaries have the potential to turn normal animal behavior into influential political agendas. An example is given of a female character in Meerkat Manor called Tosca. Tosca was kicked out of her home because she had delivered a litter of puppies before getting permission from her mother. The narrator presents Tosca as a slut, contrary to normal animal behavior which dictates that no permission is necessary to reproduce, neither is it necessary to get permission to do so (Rebensdorf, 1).
Rebensdorf, Alicia. The Animal Kingdom Storms Reality TV and the Documentary Industry. August, 2007. http://www.alternet.org/movies/60781/the_animal_kingdom_storms_reality_tv_and_the_documentary_industry/?page=1