Third season of nature documentary show Meerkat Manor.
For the uninitiated:
A team of researchers spent a long time studying and filming groups of Meerkats in the Kalahari desert. The show focuses on one of those groups in particular, called the Whiskers. And shows their everydays trials and tribulations. They live in a beautiful but harsh land where avoiding predators, foraging for food and trying to raise new litters of pups are the mainstays of life.
Every Meerkat has been given a name by the researchers. This plus judicious and excellent use of music and narration to enhance the mood of scenes gives the series a soap opera feel as every Meerkat does show a great amount of individual character.
It's not entirely suitable for young children to watch on their own as vicious battles between groups take place, and one in four meerkat pups don't make it to adulthood. So people of all ages might be reaching for tissues on occasion.
And averting their gaze when the occasional snake or insect is on screen.
The show has a bit of backstory by the start of this year, and it doesn't fill new viewers in on that, so it's better to start with Meerkat Manor - Series 1 [DVD
This series of the show has thirteen episodes, each of which runs for twenty two minutes. The narration does tend to stop and summarise the events of the episode at the midway point. This is presumably where a commercial break would be if you were watching it on television.
Some time has elapsed between this and series two, and a few Meerkats we've not seen before take prominent roles. And some such as Youssarian have disappeared between the two series and are not seen again.
Beyond that it's the usual mixture of fights with neighbouring groups, struggles to raise pups, and everyday battles for survival.
Sad things do happen. The scenery is beautiful. And the season ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, as a change in the status quo promises nothing will be the same again.
As with series two the packaging is unnecessarily large. The thirteen episodes are spread over six discs, and that makes for a big box. And there are no subtitles or extras. The menus are also rather poorly designed. To select an episode you have to go to the individual episode screen which comes in on the first one on the disc, then move the pointer down to the bottom and then right to highlight an arrow, and only then does it take you to the screen for the next one.
But it's another great and memorable year of a very entertaining show, so I'm not complaining.