Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wild Mississippi: "Soon the Mississippi will flow with blood."

It is a well-known fact that television is 97.5% horrible. Watching tv for hours on end leads to a brutal mix of soul-sucking, brainwashing, desensitizing, and a general feeling of malaise. So when there is something good on, it's worth mentioning.

Ever since I was a kid, I have always been a sucker for nature programs. Even non-birders enjoy them. On February 12, National Geographic WILD will be showing a three part miniseries, Wild Mississippi, dealing with the Mississippi River's various ecosystems, wildlife, and how they are closely tied to water levels and climate. The series follows the river through the seasons, from headwaters to delta, and (unless I'm mistaken) was largely filmed 2010-2011, capturing many scenes from the devastating Great Flood. The first episode, "Deep Freeze", focuses on fall and winter conditions on the upper reaches of the river. "Raging Waters" covers the subsequent massive thaw and it's brutal impacts through the river's heart. "Delta Blues" follows the floodwaters downstream as it makes it through the swamps and bayous of the deep south and out into the Gulf of Mexico. 

There are many epic wildlife scenes...Bald Eagles playing aerial tag (with coot carcasses), a Great Gray Owl destroying voles in the snow, a bobcat chasing down a cottontailMyotis bats swooping up moths, Mayfly Armageddon, synchronized American White Pelicans, bizarre Paddlefish, lampreys, Alligator Snapping's definitely worth watching. There's a little bit of science and fishing thrown in for good measure.

Of course, there are a couple things to be desired. There is A LOT of slow motion, and more than enough footage of flood water. The narrator is a far, far cry from Sir David Attenborough...but at least he does throw in phrases like "Soon the Mississippi will flow with blood", "Adapt. Get out. Or die", and "Winners will feast. Losers will die"...these are all things that we want to hear more in everyday life, amirite?????

Wild Mississippi airs on Sunday, February 12, 8-11 PM ET/PT on Nat Geo WILD.