The new nature docuseries takes viewers to some of the most extreme wildlife locales in the world, showing them phenomena that was previously hidden from the human eye. One episode in particular has already caught fans' attention, however, and not in a good way.
In episode two of the show, it explores the lives of walruses in Russia. The giant creatures are losing their habitats due to receding ice levels, and the show does not shy away from the tight space. The episode shows walruses falling off of precarious ledges, and getting seriously injured or even killed by the fall.
Viewers felt unprepared and traumatized by the footage. Many took to social media questioning how Netflix could spring this horrifying reality on them. In the past, nature documentaries have often astounded viewers with the harsh realities of the natural world, yet this felt like a bridge too far to some.
"Do not recommend the new David Attenborough series on Netflix," one person tweeted, "just watched walruses fall down an 80m cliff (in slow mo) because they can't see where they're going well out of water and I'm emotionally unstable."
Some even accused the show's producers of emotional manipulation with the footage, while others claimed that they were being chased by polar bears in the shots. Dr. Susan Crockford, in particular, published a blog post making this case and calling the show "contrived nonsense" for shock value.
Do not recommend the new David Attenborough series on Netflix, just watched walruses fall down an 80m cliff (in slow mo) because they can’t see where they’re going well out of water and I’m emotionally unstable— Chantelle (@Chantelle_Aa) April 8, 2019
Netflix has defended the episode, according to TMZ, saying that the scene presented is real and it is exactly the kind of thing that docuseries like Our Planet are meant to examine.
There are eight episodes of Our Planet on Netflix now, each one about an hour in length. The show dropped on Friday and Netflix has been pushing it hard, advertising it on social media and pushing it in new and trending categories.
The show is narrated by acclaimed documentarian David Attenborough, who has been doing voice over for nature documentaries since the 1950s. It was filmed over the course of four years and across 50 different countries, taking in the breadth of the planet and showing where the environment is in the most danger.
Despite the walrus backlash, the show has gotten favorable reviews so far. It holds an 88 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes' Tomatometer, and a 90 percent favorable score among audiences. Reviews have been generally positive as well, praising the show's environmental advocacy.
Our Planet is streaming now on Netflix.