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In defense of Paleoworld
on 17 July 2012
If you are looking for special effects this is not the programme for you and you should go and watch walking with dinosaurs.
This series has some problems; Paleoworld is dated and what you might call "cheesy". It is also more watered down than I would have liked it to be. It sometimes makes controversial and outdated ideas (not outdated when the doc was made); like the claws on the hands of Phorusrachid birds; seem clear cut and uncontroversial; which they were not!
So why the title; "in defense of Paleoworld"? Well, despite its shortcomeings I rather like this programme. Paleoworld is a rare type of documentary that focuses on a wide variety of topics associated with vertebrate paleontology; some of which are relatively obscure compared to that on other documentaries and rarely, if ever covered on television. I also like the focus on the scientists and specimens, rather than the over the top special effects and voice overs which dominate the modern day documentary industry. In a later series they did 2 episodes which consisted of the video recordings made on an expedition to Africa, which I found really interesting.
And as for the outdatedness, that cannot be helped, but it does give a window into the ideas of the time (1990's). With a bit of background knowledge in the subject (or the internet) this problem is overcome.
I therefore say that if you are interested in Palaeontology, have a bit of background knowledge (but not much and want to know more) and an appreciation for the subject, it may grow on you. If you know a lot about palaeontology, you may hate some episodes, but others which are more comprehensive you may well enjoy. It is much better as an introduction to the subject; than most more modern Discovery Channel/ History Channel type documentaries, which in some cases deliberately portray innaccurate information for the sake of sensationalism (I'm looking at you Clash of the Dinosaurs). Overall a good basic educational series.