On June 17, 1985, a new channel launched airing documentary-style programming with a focus on science, technology, and history. That was The Discovery Channel, though it was often referred to as just Discovery (and it eventually dropped the “The”). Three years after its start, Discovery put on one of their most well known (and ongoing) bits- Shark Week. While not their first nature-centric offering, it cemented Discovery as a go-to channel for such shows.
Now, Discovery leaves the big blue for one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa. The six-part miniseries aptly titled Serengeti follows the varied wildlife for one year. But first, here’s a quick geography lesson for context. The Serengeti ecosystem is in northern Tanzania and lays claim to the second-largest terrestrial mammal migration on the planet. Its 30,000 kilometers houses swamps, grasslands, and woods, amongst other habitats.
“…aptly titled Serengeti follows the varied wildlife for one year.”
The first episode of Serengeti follows a troop of baboons, an exiled lioness, the new queen of a clan of hyenas, and a newborn elephant. The lioness just had cubs but not with a member of her pride, so the lions banished her. Now she must hunt prey and avoid scavengers all on her own. The leader of the baboons is the angry and bitterly jealous type. He is continually picking intense fights for any perceived slight. This comes to a head when one baboon swoons over the leader’s mate.
As the elder elephants strive to teach and protect their youngest member, the baby’s older brother becomes uncertain of his place in the herd. The queen of the hyenas seeks to teach her daughter how to hunt and protect the others. But survival comes with a cost in the Serengeti.