Walking with Dinosaurs

1999, BBC

Hailed as a landmark series, Walking with Dinosaurs was a simple idea on paper: a nature documentary presented as though the dinosaurs were filmed while they lived. The series is on record as being the most costly documentary to produce, thanks principally to the many CGI effects required. Walking proved so popular that it spawned six sequels, a theatrical film, a "stage play" of sorts, and even a role-playing video game.

       

CRAP

MEH

WOW

Walking with Dinosaurs: Allosaurus

2000, BBC

Walking with Dinosaurs: Allosaurus, a.k.a. The Ballad of Big Al, focuses on the life of one dinosaur, from birth to death. The two-part special won two Emmys.

     

 

CRAP

MEH

WOW

Walking with Prehistoric Beasts

2001, BBC

In this sequel, we travel forward in time to witness the precursors of modern-day whales, horses, elephants and humans. The concept started ageing, with the effects dropping in quality and the narration becoming overbearing. Strangely, for the US release, Discovery Channel replaced Kenneth Branagh with Stockard Channing as the narrator.

   

   

CRAP

MEH

WOW

Chased by Dinosaurs

2002, BBC

Now we're just being silly. In this series, we follow zoologists who travel through time to witness dinosaurs in the wild.

 

     

CRAP

MEH

WOW

Chased by Sea Monsters

2003, BBC

Switching to an underwater environment helped breathe new life into a franchise that was getting rather long in the tooth.

   

   

CRAP

MEH

WOW

Walking with Cavemen

2003, BBC

Moving into the more recent past, the series examines our ancestors, and presents little "dramas" highlighting the assumed behavior of the hominids. Strangely, there were wholly different versions shown in the UK versus the US. For the UK, Robert Winston travels through time to witness the action in person, whereas Alec Baldwin remains in the present for the US version, standing in a museum room filled with the skulls of the ancestors being shown. I found the dramatic contrivances to be a bit tedious, and the series as a whole getting entirely too overworked.

 

     

CRAP

MEH

WOW

Walking with Monsters

2005, BBC

Just when you thought you couldn't take another one of these, the series shifted its focus to the time period before the dinosaurs, which was populated by some genuinely fascinating creatures.

     

 

CRAP

MEH

WOW

Walking with Dinosaurs: The Movie

2013, BBC et al

What could have been an excellent film was destroyed by awful, juvenile narration.

       

CRAP

MEH

WOW

Walking with Dinosaurs: The Arena Spectacular

2007-2019, The Creature Technology Company

This highly-successful stage presentation toured the world for over a decade. At a cost of $20 million, sixteen full-size dinosaurs were brought to life using animatronics, puppetry and actors in rubber suits. I never saw it, although there are some brief videos online, and it looks to have been geared mostly toward youngsters.

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