PBS airs 90 minutes of 'Nature' favorites
Published: Sunday, January 14, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 13, 2007 at 11:13 p.m.
It's a big subject: nature. So even after a quarter-century, PBS' "Nature" has only scratched the surface of life across this planet.
But, happily for viewers, the much-acclaimed, globe-trotting series is catching its breath for a glorious anniversary special, "The Best of 'Nature' — 25 Years," which airs 8 tonight (check local listings).
The 90-minute retrospective draws on 16 "Nature" favorites, from "Kingdom of the Ice Bear" (first aired in 1986, just four years after the premiere of "Nature") to "The Nature of Sex" (1993), "The Urban Elephant" (2000) and "Silent Roar: Searching for the Snow Leopard" (2005).
Lynn Sherr — correspondent for ABC News' "20/20" and narrator of "Tall Blondes," a "Nature" program on giraffes based on her book — is back to host the special.
Highlights from this epic saga: On a sunny Caribbean beach, hatchling sea turtles' first steps toward the water are threatened by vultures and crabs. In the high Arctic, a mother polar bear nurtures her newborn cub beneath the shimmering northern lights. And how about that underwater footage of a male sea horse giving birth!
"The Best of 'Nature'Ê" also recognizes the legacy of the series' creator, George Page, who narrated every episode of "Nature" until retiring from television because of illness in 1998. He died last June at 71.
When "Nature" premiered in October 1982, The New York Times greeted it as "remarkably impressive, at times stunning … a refreshing surprise."
"The Best of 'Nature"' is a worthy flashback to a few of those surprises.
Other shows this week to look out for:
· As a sort of warm-up to the "Nature" show, a different kind of animal series, "My Gym Partner's a Monkey," presents its first one-hour special 7 p.m. Sunday on Cartoon Network.
The series' premise: An administrative mix-up ("Lyon" misspelled as "Lion") causes 12-year-old human Adam Lyon to be enrolled in the all-animal Charles Darwin Middle School, where residents of the local zoo send their kids.
· Comedian Demetri Martin astutely notes that "the easiest time to add insult to injury is when you're signing somebody's cast." He proposes that we call fishing "what it really is: tricking and killing." And he presents a graph that plots how "the shorter a man is, the funnier it is when he's drunk."
Martin, a shrewdly funny young comic who's featured on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," now stars in his own comedy special (titled "Demetri Martin. Person.") airing 10 p.m. Sunday on Comedy Central.
Viewers can expect to learn a lot (Martin's "data findings" include a demographic breakdown of Hummer owners — very few poets), and to laugh even more.
· Like many 17-year-old girls, Shadya Zoabi listens to music and hangs out with her chums. In addition, she's a Muslim Arab living in Israel; a feminist in a male-dominated culture; and a karate world champion.
"I'm different," she notes, a fact borne out in the one-hour portrait, "Shadya," airing on PBS' "Independent Lens" 10 p.m. Tuesday (check local listings).
It's a coming-of-age film about a young Muslim woman intent on succeeding on her terms even as she stays committed to her Muslim community in Israel.
· Always silly and inventive, "Scrubs" outdoes itself with this week's episode of the NBC comedy: a full-blown musical set at Sacred Heart Hospital.
A woman arrives at Sacred Heart complaining of hearing nonstop music and (funny thing!) while trying to determine the cause of this strange affliction, the "Scrubs" cast does seem to be in constant song.
The sassy songs were written by the Tony-winning composers of Broadway's "Avenue Q," Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx. Stephanie D'Abruzzo, an original "Avenue Q" cast member, guest stars as the music-beset patient.
Appointment time for "Scrubs: My Musical": 9 p.m. Thursday.
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