A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Uses brand-new methods of documenting Earth's richest and most diverse landscapes unique to North America. Broken down by region, each episode highlights the intelligent and courageous creatures that inhabit them.
Animals of all shapes and sizes are shown as intelligent creatures bravely finding ways to persevere. Exalts the beauty and diversity of the natural landscapes and creatures of North America.
Positive Role Models
Ongoing framing of animals of all shapes and sizes as "heroes."
The focus is on animals and nature, but the show is narrated by Black American actor Michael B. Jordan. And Indigenous people are featured on-screen in some episodes. Woven into episodes are music and featured performances from Ojibwe Pow Wow singer Joe Rainey, Italian Korean American violinist Lucia Micarelli, the multiethnic vocal ensemble Tonality led by Black American conductor Alexander Blake, Black American bluesman Leonard "Lowdown" Brown, and more.
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Violence & Scariness
Shows some species hunting and eating their natural prey -- e.g., grizzly bears are shown stalking (and briefly eating) a newborn caribou calf. These moments have some tension but aren't overly exploited for fear, some are told in the predator's viewpoint, others emphasize that the hunters are parents too. No close-up shots when prey are caught.
Animals face starvation and other dangers -- e.g., a herd of caribou and their calves are forced to cross a raging river where the babies are especially at risk of drowning. Tornado-producing supercell thunderstorms are featured. Narrator notes that these are one of the most destructive forces on the planet and that over 1,000 touch down in the American prairie every year. Slow-motion videography of the forming storms is awe-inspiring but also sets a perilous tone. Scenes return to calm before they can get too overwhelming or scary. A scene in Death Valley refers to Navajo tales that say the rock towers there are the bodies of defeated monsters.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Highlights some of the unique mating rituals of various species. Mention of sperm, eggs, and pheromones working as an "aphrodisiac."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that America the Beautiful is a nature docuseries from the multi-BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning team behind Planet Earth. Creators Vanessa Berlowitz and Mark Linfield utilize brand-new methods of documenting Earth's richest and most diverse landscapes unique to North America. As in most nature documentaries, various animal species are shown hunting and eating their natural prey. These moments have some tension but aren't overly exploited for fear; some are told from the predator's viewpoint, others emphasize that the hunters are parents too. There aren't close-up shots of what's happening in the instances when prey are caught.
Animals also face starvation and other dangers. Tornado-producing supercell thunderstorms are featured, and the narrator notes that these are one of the most destructive forces on the planet. Slow-motion videography of the forming storms is awe-inspiring but also sets a perilous tone. The scenes return to calm before they can get too overwhelming or scary. A scene in Death Valley refers to Navajo tales that say the rock towers there are the bodies of defeated monsters. The mating rituals of some species are also shown.
Is It Any Good?
In an increasingly crowded field of next-generation nature documentaries, this stunning series stands out for a number of reasons. Unique for its unbelievable methods of obtaining footage, as well as its special brand of storytelling, America the Beautiful will leave you awe-struck. You can't talk about this docuseries without immediately marveling at the videography. With each new segment, you'll again ask yourself, "How could they have possibly gotten that footage?"
Jumping out first are the sweeping aerial views that allow the viewer to take in America's blending landscapes from a soaring bird's-eye perspective. These shots, along with what seem like impossibly close-up images of supercell storms and tornadoes, are the first ever in a natural history series to be obtained by fixing fighter jets with cinema-grade cameras. Equally as impressive are the use of state-of-the-art remote and gyro-stabilized cameras to frame complete "hero's journey" storylines for the animals featured. One of many gasp-worthy scenes takes viewers on a seamless progression from some of the ocean's smallest creatures to one of its largest. The creators even manage to weave in the rich diversity of the American peoples in meaningful ways, featuring Indigenous cultures both on-screen and throughout the soundtrack. The entire experience is nothing short of remarkable and one you'll want to share with the entire family.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.