Parents' Guide to

First Life with David Attenborough

By Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Smart journey through prehistoric life is great for teens.

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What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 1 parent review

age 8+

Is Any Form Of Life Really "Simple"

I watched the First Life with David Attenborough. Once again he refers to "the simple cell" and how it evolved into advanced life. It is a fact that some respected scientists say that even the "simple cell" is far too complex to have come about by chance. The complex molecules in the simplest living thing cannot reproduce alone. Outside the cell, they break down. Inside the cell , they cannot reproduce without the help of other complex molecules. e.g., enzymes are needed to produce a special energy molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP), but energy from ATP is needed to produce enzymes. Similarly, DNA is required to make enzymes, but enzymes are required to make DNA. Also other proteins can be made only by a cell, but a cell can be made only with proteins. How is it possible for nature to make life, especially under what evolutionists say were unstable and uncontrollable conditions. Even some evolutionist say a hostile early environment was present. Yet scientists today are failing to "create life" with all the experimental conditions controlled. The advance of microbiology has made it possible to peer into the "simple cell". One such cell is the prokaryotic cell. This cell has a sophisticated tough , flexible membrane which in many ways protects the cell, shielding it from a potentially hostile environment. This membrane is not solid though, it allows the cell to "breathe", permitting small molecules, such as oxygen, to pass in or out. But the membrane blocks more complex , potentially damaging molecules from entering without the cells permission. The membrane also prevents useful molecules from leaving the cell. I have investigated some of the facts into how this "simple cell" manages these feats and it is truly remarkable although extremely complex. The Internet with its millions of computers and high speed data cables, is clumsy in comparison. The technical brilliance evident in this most basic of cells is beyond the scope of human invention.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Attenborough's journey is one of truly epic proportions, both on a geographical and on a historical scale. His extensive travels around the world to gather data and witness evidence for himself remind viewers of the grand scope of evolution -- that each of us descended from microscopic organisms and are a mere part of a process that's billions of years old. The concepts are mind-boggling, but Attenborough masterfully condenses a lifetime of knowledge into this fascinating, surprisingly comprehensible documentary.

Genius host aside, the show's best feature is its use of state-of-the-art CGI, which breathes life into the very fossils Attenborough and the other experts have unearthed. Thanks to these lifelike scenes of prehistoric existence, viewers get a real sense of the atmosphere at pivotal points in the planet's history. All of this makes for superb family viewing, but the subject matter is meant for viewers who can grasp the concepts themselves -- namely teens -- since younger kids won't have the patience for the lengthy scientific lectures.

TV Details

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