The earth is home to more than 30 million different animals and plants – every single one in its own fight for survival. From the makers of PLANET EARTH and narrated by global media leader and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey, the epic television series LIFE is the definitive exploration of our planet’s living things and their spectacular, bizarre and fascinating behaviors. A BBC and Discovery Channel co-production, the 11-part natural history series airs on Discovery Channel on Sundays from March 21 through April 18, 2010, with two episodes at 8-10PM ET/PT each night, and The Making of LIFE at 10PM on April 18.LIFE is epic in scope, yet intimate in its storytelling. More than four years in the making, with over 3,000 days of filming in the field, LIFE spans every continent and every habitat. Each episode focuses on a different animal or plant group, engrossing viewers with never-before-seen behaviors using the latest in state-of-the-art high-definition filming techniques. From strange creatures, such as the star-nosed mole that hunts underwater using bubbles to smell its prey, to grand spectacles, like millions of fruit bats darkening the Zambian sky, each episode tells mind-blowing stories of survival with drama, humor and suspense.
“LIFE will amaze audiences of all ages throughout the world. The series captures the awe and wonder of Mother Nature and uses the very best in cinematic techniques and engaging storytelling to bring natural history to Discovery Channel,” said Clark Bunting, president and general manager of Discovery Channel and president of Science Channel. “Told through the stories of nature’s most captivating animals and plants, each episode of LIFE delivers on our core mission to educate our viewers about the world around them. We are honored to have this brilliant program as a cornerstone to our 25th anniversary year and nothing says Discovery better than this groundbreaking television event.”
As one of the most influential voices of our time, narrator Oprah Winfrey will introduce some of the most compelling natural history images ever seen — many captured for the first time ever on film. These include the first filming of a male humpback whale mating battle (called the “heat run”) from beginning to end; Komodo dragons bringing down an animal 10 times their size in a real-life drama that lasted more than two weeks; a pebble toad rolling down a mountain, bouncing like a rubber ball, to escape a tarantula; the bizarre mating ritual of the elusive Vogelkop bowerbird, found in the deep forests of New Guinea; and an astonishing night scene showing massive numbers of Humboldt squid hunting cooperatively for sardines.
Filmmakers developed ingenious methods for capturing the series’ breathtaking images. A “yogi cam,” developed specifically for LIFE, allowed a camera to track smoothly alongside migrating reindeer and elephants. Intricate cable rigging was employed to enable the crew to “fly” a camera through thousands of monarch butterflies in Mexico, providing a unique “butterfly-eye” perspective.
The premiere episode of LIFE, Challenges of Life, provides an overview and sets the stage for the ambitious series. A special Making Of episode caps the series and tells the incredible stories of the dozens of men and women who spent days, weeks and months patiently waiting for a perfect shot. Other episodes showcase Birds, deep sea marine invertebrates (Creatures of the Deep), Fish, hunting mammals (Hunters and Hunted), Insects, Mammals, Plants, Primates, and Reptiles & Amphibians.
The LIFE website at http://discovery.com/life will extend the richness of the series online, with exclusive behind-the-scenes webisodes featuring one-on-one interviews and moments with some of the daring filmmakers who brought the series to the screen. In each webisode, viewers will discover what went into locating the strange behaviors and fascinating adaptations of the natural world — and the incredible lengths to which cameramen and producers went to capture them on camera. The LIFE website will also feature a multiplayer strategy game, the object of which is to “win” by improving your animal’s habitat, and a series of in-depth articles that incorporate expert interviews, animal profiles and first-person quizzes to give more information about key behaviors from the series. Additional features include a global map of endangered species, stunning photography from the series and an interactive “gene machine” where users can find out how animals are genetically related. Facebook users can become fans of LIFE at http://facebook.com/DiscoveryLIFE, and Twitter users can follow the series at http://twitter.com/LIFEonDiscovery.
Discovery Education, the leader in digital media for the classroom whose services are available in more than half the schools in the U.S., will also debut LIFE in March. Full-length episodes, clips and classroom resources aligned to state standards will be available to educators and students on Discovery Education streaming Plus the day after each episode premieres on Discovery Channel. Teacher’s guides and ancillary materials for three targeted grade bands (3-5, 6-8, and 9-12) will promote critical thinking among students and support educators in taking a cross-curricular instructional approach. The only digital video-based learning service scientifically shown to increase academic achievement, Discovery Education streaming Plus enhances curriculum with up to 9,000 videos and 71,000 high-quality digital video clips, all aligned to state standards.
LIFE is a BBC and Discovery Channel co-production. Mike Gunton is the executive producer for the BBC. Susan Winslow is the executive producer for Discovery Channel. Discovery Channel and the BBC also created the award-winning natural history series PLANET EARTH and BLUE PLANET.
Discover, GEICO, Sprint and Volkswagen are all major sponsors of LIFE.
LIFE will be available on DVD and Blu-ray disc at DiscoveryStore.com in April, following the last television broadcast. As of this month, consumers can pre-order the DVD and Blu-ray discs at DiscoveryStore.com.