The BBC release (via Warner Brothers in the US) of 'Planet Earth' has become the highest grossing high definition release since it hit store shelves earlier this year. Now, Discover Channel, who broadcasted the series in the United States, wants to get in on the action. They will release the Americanized version of the film at the end of this month on Blu-ray, which replaces British commentator David Attenborough with actress/conservationist Sigourney Weaver.
No technical specs have been announced, but coming this late to the game, one would hope the Discovery Channel rectifies the short-comings of the original BBC release. This includes missing content (which was oddly enough included on the DVD set) and low bit rate encodes which introduces banding issues to the image.
Another interesting note, the BBC will be releasing the original series in their native UK on a 5-disc set. No word on if the set will include all the content with better encodings, but hopefully the BBC will step up and give this series the treatment it deserves.
My cousin wrote the narration for some of the dialogue in the Planet Earth series. He is a freelance writer and does work for both Discovery Channel and National Geographic. Is that cool or what. He's doing some of the narration for Shark Week coming up later this month. I'll try to post which episode he does so everyone will know...
Since I live in the US and have only seen the Discovery broadcasts with Sigourney Weaver, I had no idea an alternate narration existed. I honestly would have been disappointed had I bought this on Blu-ray already and not heard SW's voice. Kinda like when the Lemony Snicket audio books switched from Tim Curry to some other guy... total disappointment. But I don't think this is deceptive at all--it's simply giving consumers a choice. Gosh darn, I sure do hate having options! (/sarcasm)
I'm glad that I waited. I just hope that they include the extras they put on the DVD version. I don't really care if it's Attenborough or Weaver, as long as it has the same extra features as of the DVD version, even some more. Narration voice is not suppose to be the deciding factor of getting this product. It's the HD quality content WITH the extras.
I own the BBC release and am perfectly happy listening to David Attenborough's narration. I am bothered that the set I bought does not have the extras that the standard DVD set has however. I really feel like all of us that bought it got shorted. If only I had known in advance that the US version was going to have it all, I would have gladly waited... I guess that's our punishment for being the first on the block to buy something cool.
Nevertheless, the Planet Earth series is spectacular and I love it!