Does love ever enter into the equation?

The thesis behind Love in the Animal Kingdom is whether or not love, as we humans define it, ever is a factor in the pairings found within the animal kingdom. The problem is this program presents the question and then proceeds to forget it is supposed to be providing an answer, waiting until the wrap up to mention the idea of love again.

Instead, the show is more about the mating rituals various species go through, dealing with ideas such as: Which gender initiates coupling? What about infidelity? How long do mated pairs stay together if indeed they do at all? Love in the Animal Kingdom zips in and out of our viewings of the various species, never spending more than about six minutes per segment. And that works in the show’s favor as it helps distract from the lack of a connection between question and answer.

But in truth, though I feel like the central idea got away from the program, I do enjoy the show. It’s full of really interesting facts and the kind of access the photographers are showcasing within is marvelous. The visuals sell the story. I just wish they had called this something more in line with the true nature of the program.

Love in the Animal Kingdom is presented in the standard 1.78:1 aspect ratio and it’s served well by the choice as the aerial photography in particular is shown to its best effect here. The palette is natural and the picture is crisp with minimal retouching done so as to present the subjects as close to how they appear in nature as possible. The audio is a mild-mannered Dolby Digital 2.0 but it’s perfectly serviceable for a documentary like this even if the track sounds a bit flat at times.

There are no bonus features.

Love in the Animal Kingdom certainly lives up to the promise of being an educational documentary. While it may miss the mark a bit with the central premise it does offer a unique perspective on the animal world. Unless it’s streaming your best bet is a purchase and you can feel good about it knowing it will benefit PBS.


Not guilty.

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