'Life': Periscope-eyed flies and killer komodo dragons, oh my!

From the trio of cheetahs bringing down an ostrich, to the pod of bottlenose dolphins stirring up the sea bed for food, last night’s two-part premiere of the Discovery Channel mini-series Life definitely delivered a gaggle (a herd! a flock! a school!) of jaw-dropping HD goodness. If I had to pick just one standout critter from the first hour, though, I’d have to give it up for the Stalk-Eyed Fly.

To repeat, this fly literally inflates its own head because, as narrator Oprah Winfrey tells us, “Females love a bug with really long stalks.” Oprah! How ribald!

My standout for the second, reptile-and-amphibian-centric hour was far and away the formidable komodo dragon. But because my mom usually reads my Popwatch posts, and because she (like I imagine many of you) is very much not a fan of lizards of any stripe, I’ll post that clip after the jump. (Mom, now’s the time to watch Idolatry.)

Later, as the water buffalo weakened over an agonizing three weeks, more and more komodos began to gather and wait. When water buffalo finally fell for good, the non-fire-breathing dragons stripped the body to the bone in just four hours. Talk about cold blooded.

What did you make of last night’s two-part Life, Popwatchers? Which animals wowed you? And when the show turned to the hippos, did you start imagining Oprah bellowing “Hippopooootamus! — or was that just me?


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  • C

    I thought that this was a great start to the series, but honestly, how many commercial breaks do we need in one hour? I’m just glad I DVR’d it so I didn’t have to sit through them, but it felt like a lot.

  • crispy

    I’m not an Oprah hater, but she is completely wrong for this series. The way she enunciates words and phrases makes it seem like the series is for kids. I’d rather listen to the British dude from the original BBC version.

    • Wendy

      Well kids are the ones who need to be watching this more than anyone so if Oprah made it sound kid friendly, then more power to her. I thought Oprah was excellent, but honestly, anyone who would get hung up on who is narrating rather than the content of the show is obviously not intelligent enough to appreciate it in the first place.

      • crispy

        Oh, Wendy. I assure you I’d kick your hoi polloi ass in Trivial Pursuit.

    • your name sucks

      Riiiight……because Trivial Pursuit is right up there with the IQ test….
      “Gee, you’re sooo smart, you filled up your pie!”

    • Growler

      Crispy you are so right. And I am NOT an Oprah-hater either! I mean it’s remarkable what she’s done on television — but she is just so totally wrong for this to the point where it was distracting me throughout. She is just NOT the one to be telling viewers about giant toad mating rituals! (for reasons stated above and below).
      Bad move by Discovery.

  • James

    Yeah I’m thinking I might start watching this with the audio muted. Oprah does make this all sound like something I watched when I was in 4th grade.

  • Nem

    I thought Oprah was the perfect choice. I loved the show.

  • Ames

    I loved it. I also decided I will never go to Manitoba in the spring. Those snakes!

  • Johnification

    I agree with you; the stalk fly and komodo dragons are what I remember the best, too. And thinking with the fly: “How the hell did they SHOOT this?!” Also, Oprah’s little innuendo – deliciously naughty.

    I loved during the credits getting to see what it was like for the guys shooting the komodo dragon stuff. You forget while you’re watching that *real people are 30 feet away from Komodo freaking dragons*. Scary, man.

    • crispy

      Those segments during the credits were amazing! Their guides were holding nothing but sticks to fend off Komodo Dragons.

  • lostidol

    Too bad that water buffalo didn’t have access to health care.

    • Johnification

      Good news is that he can get it now, despite his pre-existing condition of having a Komodo dragon attached to his leg.

      • LOL

        Lol your a funny mo fo

  • Megan

    I loved the show. I will definitely watch the rest of the series!

  • llevinso

    It was awesome!! I could not tell you how many times I noticed that my mouth was literally just hanging open in pure amazement. Cannot wait for the next installment.

  • Guru47

    Can’t wait until I watch this on the DVR, but TTTT- I’m a little worried about the Oprah factor

  • BrandonK

    I enjoyed the capuchins…it’s pretty awesome imagining what they might evolve into over the next million years. I wonder why the octopus dies after laying her eggs…that doesn’t seem like a good survival strategy for the species! The stalk-eyed fly was grrrrooooosss.

  • MotherHen1222

    I loved the show .. Oprah as moderator kept it interesting I think .. but the commercials!.. too, too, many!!

  • Tony

    Someone made a comment saying that the way Oprah spoke was more for kids. Well, there are alot of kids that will be watching along with school students. i loved the way she narrated. She made it exiting and even made me smile a few times

  • Growler

    One more comment (that has nothing to do with Oprah narrating): The pictures were breathtaking, but the narrative is a bit scattershot. Planet Earth focused on one place or region, and I felt like you got to see the story play out across the hour. With “Life”, I feel like the viewer is being yanked all over the place — sometimes for a compelling buildup (like the Kimodo dragons stalking the water buffalo), but sometimes for just a minute (like with the giant octopus that lays the eggs and dies). It almost seems like they are editing this series for short attention spans. But this is less of a criticism than an observation.

  • andrew

    I miss sigourneys monotone from the original. Oprahs narrating comes off a little too enthused (and frankly, a bit condescending) for my liking. However I still love the series as a more in depth look at the animals of planet earth. 2 words: chameleon mating?!

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