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Recommended: America the Beautiful on Disney+

Nat Geo spotlights North America's natural beauty with absorbing storytelling and stunning visuals.
  • After noticing a caribou herd, an Alaskan bear contemplates dinner. (Photo: National Geographic for Disney+)
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    America the Beautiful | Disney+
    Nature Docuseries | TV-G

    What's America the Beautiful About?

    A spectacular new series from National Geographic brings us up close with dozens of birds, fish, mammals, insects, and reptiles on the North American continent, along with the humans trying to preserve their ecosystems.

    Who's involved?

    • Director/producers Tom Stephens, Maddie Close, Lauren Pascoe, Rob Sullivan and Jo Harvey all have experience with high-end wildlife series, with credits on Planet Earth, Frozen Earth, and Disneynature.
    • Greg Wilson is the lead cinematographer, shooting the series' aerial views from a jet airplane. This includes a stunningly close flyby of a tornado-producing supercell. The aerials are combined with capture cams and ultra-close-ups of creatures in their element, all shot by National Geographic's stable of highly trained nature photographers.
    • Michael B. Jordan narrates from a script that veers from the cheesy (calling a certain species of big fish "America's whale") to the fascinating (did you know trees grow three times faster near spawning beds of Alaskan salmon because of nutrients released by millions of rotting fish carcasses?)

    Why (and to whom) do we recommend it?

    If you like narrative TV, then this series will almost make you forget you're watching critters instead of humans. The intimately close visuals and clever editing make interactions between a bear and a squirrel, or baby bats trying to avoid being eaten by snakes, feel as gripping as any drama. Other stories are genuinely inspiring, e.g., the beavers who reclaimed Mount St. Helens after the 1979 eruption and turned it into "a wetland paradise."

    That said, even nature-show addicts may find this six-hour series longer than it needs to be. There are only so many big-ocean whales, vast forests, and colorful critters roaming America's inland and coasts, and only so many gorgeous ways of showing them.

    Pairs well with

    • The Blue Planet (Discovery+). Even after two decades it remains a marvel of cinematography, revealing just a few of the marine marvels that had previously escaped human notice.
    • Our Planet (Netflix). Sir David Attenborough infuses this eye-pleasing docuseries with dire warnings that all this natural beauty could vanish if humans don’t change their ways.
    • One Strange Rock (Disney+). If Planet Earth were thrown into a blender with Gravity, The Fifth Element, an electronic dance party, and the musings of Neil deGrasse Tyson, you might get this.

  • America the Beautiful
    All six episodes drop on Disney+ July 4, 2022.
    Created by: Tom Stephens, Maddie Close, Lauren Pascoe, Rob Sullivan, and Jo Harvey.
    Narrated by Michael B. Jordan.
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    TOPICS: America the Beautiful, Disney+, Jo Harvey, Lauren Pascoe, Maddie Close, Michael B. Jordan, Rob Sullivan, Tom Stephens