One of the most beloved nature documentary series is back with a second installment. Sixteen years after the original series aired, Blue Planet II dives back into the ocean to take another look into the least explored part of the planet. Using newly developed diving and submarine technologies, the Blue Planet team captures oceanic events previously undocumented, or invisible to the naked eye.
Over four years of filming, Blue Planet II consisted of 125 expeditions, visited 39 countries, and filmed on every continent and across every ocean. Divers spent over 6,000 hours diving underwater, filming everywhere from familiar shores to the deepest seas.
The BBC sequel series aired in the United States January 20 to almost 3 million viewers, with the final episode set to air March 10. Consisting of seven episodes, Blue Planet II goes back to revisit old favorites from the original documentary, like the ever-mysterious deep sea and coral reef cities, catching up with the sea life from the original series, and discovering new ways of life in these regions. This series also looks at new areas of the ocean; diving into the green seas for the first time gives viewers a peek into life in a grassy sea, including the on-going battle for survival between shark and octopus.
Blue Planet II also boasts a long list of “filming firsts”, recording a Tuskfish using a coral anvil as a tool to open his daily meal of clams, an octopus creating a coat of shells to hide in plain sight, giant Trevally that fly out of the water to snatch seabirds in mid-air, and more once hidden underwater moments.
After sixteen more years of studying these oceans since the previous documentary, the Blue Planet II filming and research crew have learned even more about the creatures they are filming; researchers now believe that bottlenose dolphins can communicate with pods of whales, and might actually consider them to be friends. They have learned – and captured on film – that Orcas hunting in teams beat their prey into shock. After spending four years recording Blue Planet II, the research and film team have also spotted and filmed octopus and fish working together to hunt and survive.
Each episode also gives viewers a look behind the scenes of the documentary, showing the technology used for filming, and the challenges behind finding and capturing some of the rarest events of the ocean at just the right moment. The crew discusses the new technologies that allow them to be shooting events previously unable to be undocumented, such as cameras with enough light-sensitivity to pick up luminous ink decoy of the deep sea, unseen with the naked eye, but still able to be captured on camera.
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