America’s National Parks

S1, E2 “Yosemite National Park”

National Geographic Channel

Aired December 6, 2015

Cute, furry critters? Check. The carnivores that eat them? Check. History? Check. Breathtaking views? Check. Fires? Giant Sequoias? Seasons changing? Check, check, check…

National Geographic checks off so many boxes with this show—or at least with this episode—without ever getting into much detail on any particular subject, that we’re left with a general overview of Yosemite. And that’s the point. The series explores various US national parks one hour at a time. It’s not an in-depth study on the Sequoias or the mountains or any particular wildlife. It’s a broad look at the park as a whole. And what a look it is.  

The scenery is spectacular. Overhead shots of mountains, cliffs, forest definitely puts ideas in your head to visit the park for a look-see in person. Shots of climbers making their way up the sheer face of El Capitan give perspective to just how massive that monolith is—and just how daring climbers are. The changing of seasons from winter to summer and back again is shown gradually throughout the episode and gives viewers a peek at the park’s ever-changing landscape.  

A lot of time is spent on the wildlife of the park, and this is where things get a bit hokey. In between following a family of bobcats and another of bears through part of the episode, and along with shots of other wildlife, some cute as hell, the narrator sometimes engages in cutesy talk about the animals with asides meant to come off as humorous, but more often than not they come off as annoying. At times it’s as if he’s talking to a classroom of grade-schoolers. Thankfully the narration also provides facts—everything from the height and age of certain giant Sequoias, to brief history tidbits of the park are served up in small doses. Again, don’t expect in-depth analysis; think of it as a puff piece versus hard news.

Yosemite has already been covered many times in other documentaries and on other networks so if you’re a Yosemite buff (we know you’re out there) you may not see much in this episode that you haven’t seen before. But if you’re just a casual enthusiast or enjoy an inspiring peek at nature, you’ll likely find yourself immersed in this episode.

We look forward to the show covering other national parks that don’t get the same pub as Yosemite, like Olympic National Park which happens to be Episode 1 of this series.

 


Comments

I am also a fan of this show. Every time I watch it, I feel as though I am really in that area. The show also makes me want to explore more sights within the country. There are so many untouched land that is just waiting to be seen. I'm glad I found someone who has the same interest that I have.

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