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‘Prehistoric Planet’: 7 reasons to get excited about David Attenborough’s new dino series

Sir David + T-rexs = telly bliss

Phil de Semlyen
Written by
Phil de Semlyen

Everyone loves David Attenborough and everyone loves dinosaurs. What, then, could be better than David Attenborough and dinosaurs? Well, to quote his brother Richard in Jurassic Park, creation is an act of sheer will and Apple TV+ has willed this dream into being.

Far from ushering the scaly beasts towards certain extinction and a second life as the stars of major movie franchises and kids’ bedroom walls, Prehistoric Planet will see the great naturalist presiding over a vision of life in the time of the dinosaurs, 65 million years ago. It promises to be a celebration of these magnificent creatures and the planet they inhabited all those years ago, with its funny-shaped oceans and surprisingly situated land masses. And who doesn’t need a celebration right now? 

Prehistoric Planet is set in the Cretaceous period and will run over five episodes beginning on May 23. Here’s what else to expect.

For some kinder, gentler T-rexs

T-rexs aren’t just about big teeth, small arms and eating lawyers in Jurassic Park. They’re dads, too. They have baby T-rexs to raise and teach how to grow up to be formidable. ‘A full grown T-rex is the planet’s most powerful predator,’ notes David Attenborough’s narration, ‘but today, he’s just being father.’ Awww! Now, can they fit a baseball glove over those claws? 

It’ll have the perfect music to watch Cerapods by

Jurassic Park has John Williams; Prehistoric Planet has Hans Zimmer. The freshly Oscar-winning composer is delivering a no-doubt thunderous score to accompany the series’s dino-footage.

It’ll exists in a familiar David Attenborough-verse

It’s not a BBC show but Prehistoric Planet’s first clips hint at a show that’s conscious of the hit Attenborough shows that came before it. Footage of tiny turtles struggling to get to the safety of the Tethys Sea will bring back memories of Planet Earth’s shell-clad strivers doing something very similar. Here, though, they’ve got tiny T-rexs to avoid. Being a baby turtle doesn’t get any easier.

The visual effects will impress your kids – and you

It’s co-produced by The Jungle Book’s Jon Favreau and has that film’s multi-award-winning VFX house MPC in charge of providing photo-realistic effects and environments that include coasts, deserts, ice worlds and forests. And not a single dead-eyed diplodocuses or droopy pterodactyls among them.

Your dino knowledge will soar

Educational as well as potentially awe-inspiring, the show promises to combine ‘wildlife filmmaking, the latest paleontology learnings and state-of-the-art technology to unveil the spectacular habitats and inhabitants of ancient earth for a one-of-a-kind immersive experience’. In other words: we’ll find out if velociraptors can really open doors. 

Prehistoric Planet will be a watercooler streaming event

Arriving on Apple TV+ globally over a week from May 23 - 27, Prehistoric Planet should make for event viewing – at least Apple will be hoping it does, and they’ve just won a Best Picture Oscar so who are we to argue? Unusually, one new episode will drop each day of the week. Bingeing is out, anticipation is back.

The Attenboroughs know their dinosaurs

Sir David also has a BBC series, Dinosaurs: The Final Day with David Attenborough, airing on April 15, so if you’re in the UK and more fascinated by the more pointy, asteroid-shaped end of the dinosaur story, tune in. And for a more fictionalised version of dinosaurs in action, you can always revisit his brother, Richard, presiding over dino catastrophes in Jurassic Park and The Lost World: Jurassic Park.

Prehistoric Planet launches on Apple TV+ worldwide, May 23 - 27.

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