Film, TV + Theatre

7 Breathtaking new nature documentaries to stream right now

Wondrous world


By Marissa Chin

7 Breathtaking new nature documentaries to stream right now

Humans tend to forget that the planet we all live in is a strange, wonderful and awe-inspiring place. As society demands us to live in a fast-paced world, we can go about our daily lives without really taking in the beauty of the world around us.

While we may not be able to travel to the sparkling glaciers of the Arctic or the balmy rainforests of the Amazon, there are still ways for us to appreciate the natural world. Every year, the best researchers, anthropologists, filmmakers, wildlife photographers and the like work tirelessly to capture the marvels of our planet in breathtaking documentaries

Image: Our Planet II / Netflix

They reveal sublime secrets and intricacies of the natural world and educate us on how human actions and climate change have real consequences for the survival of this wondrous planet. 

For World Earth Day, we glean seven nature and wildlife documentaries that have been recently released to spark appreciation for our dear planet, and hopefully, inspire you to adopt practices to preserve its beauty.


Our Living World

In essence, nature is made up of a complex network of ecosystems and creatures. All life is connected and it is this symbiotic interconnectedness that Our Living World searingly explores. Premiering on April 2024, this stunning docuseries looks at the secret network of connections, intelligence and resourcefulness of organisms that work to sustain life itself, no matter how big or small they may be. The four-part documentary is narrated by Oscar-winning actress (and beekeeper!) Cate Blanchett.

Watch here.


Prehistoric Planet 

Ever wondered what the Earth was really like when these great creatures roamed the lands? Produced by Jon Favreau and Mike Gunton, Prehistoric Planet takes you back 66 million years ago to the Age of Dinosaurs in extraordinary detail. Using award-winning wildlife filmmaking, the latest palaeontology learnings, and photorealistic visual effects, witness these magnificent creatures of ancient Earth come to life in ways you’ve never seen before. Set to an original score of Acadeny Award winner Hans Zimmer, Prehistoric Planet Season 1 and 2 are immersive spectacles not to be missed.

Watch here.


Planet Earth III

In the world of natural history, Sir David Attenborough doesn’t rest! The British naturalist returns to narrate the third instalment of the Planet Earth series, which first aired in 2006. This time, the BBC docuseries travels closer to home, highlighting stunning locations across Asia such as the Philippines, Vietnam and our very own Malaysian forests in Borneo. Featuring never-before-seen footage of animal behaviours, the eight-part documentary dives into the wondrous animal kingdom and the challenges they face in an ever-increasingly crowded world.

Watch here.


Our Planet II

Not many nature documentaries can capture Earth’s sheer vastness but Our Planet comes very close. Since premiering in 2019, the documentary made in collaboration between Netflix, Silverback Films and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) received critical acclaim for its innovative cinematography and groundbreaking research. Four years later, legendary naturalist Sir David Attenborough reunites with the Emmy Award-winning team for Our Planet II. From the rumbling migration of gazelles to the breaching of giant whales, feast your eyes on magnificent stories of the natural world as they embark on treacherous journeys for survival amidst melting ice caps and rising temperatures.

Watch here.


My Octopus Teacher

Can you imagine yourself befriending an octopus? Craig Foster definitely didn’t. Feeling burned out, the South African filmmaker decides to spend a year diving off the coast of Cape Town and finds himself making an unlikely friend in the form of an intelligent and curious octopus. The ocean covers two-thirds of Earth and yet, it is still largely unknown to us. In this Oscar-winning documentary, follow Foster’s journey as he uncovers the mysteries of the underwater world with his new female marvel.

Watch here.


Polar Bear

The Arctic is a cold, brutal and harsh environment for any creature to live in. In order to survive, animals must adapt and be on high alert. Narrated by two-time Academy Award nominee Catherin Keener, Disneynature’s Polar Bear tells the story of a new mother who must navigate the throes of motherhood in an increasingly challenging world that polar bears face today. An inspiring, courageous and emotional adventure, this is one documentary you will need to have tissues on hand.

Watch here.


Chimp Empire

From the co-director of My Octopus Teacher and the team behind Rise of the Warrior Apes comes a thrilling story about man’s closest living animal relatives. Narrated by Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali, Chimp Empire takes audiences to the lush canopies of Uganda’s Ngogo Forest where the largest chimpanzee society lives. For the last 25 years, scientists and field trackers have lived alongside this tribe, watching as they built a sophisticated political and familial structure. Witness the tumultuous and breathtaking journeys of these magnificent primates as leaders rise and fall; babies grow; and relationships blossom. Who knows? Perhaps we can learn a thing or two about our own society through these wondrous chimps. 

Watch here.


For more recommendations on what to watch, head here.


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