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Planet Earth Miniseries: Just ... Wow

I watched the first three installments of the Discovery Channel's 11-part Planet Earth miniseries on a friend's 42-inch high-definition TV last week, and I can say hands down that it is one of the most incredible things I have ever seen on TV.

No, seriously. It's amazing.

Alternating between sublime panoramas and unbelievably intimate animal moments, Planet Earth uses high-tech photography to capture images you never imagined you'd see. In one scene, aerial cameras follow hundreds of elephants as they migrate across Ethiopia, then zoom in so closely that you can see one baby elephant, temporarily blinded by the dust, run smack dab into a tree. Honestly, it's one of the cutest things I've ever seen.

But this nature documentary on steroids — five years in the making — is more than just cute, and Discovery is airing five hours of it this weekend, so

In the BBC/Discovery production, we see sandstorms moving across deserts, great whites leaping from the ocean, and a monkey mincing across a river like he hates to get his fur wet. I found my jaw dropping every few minutes, so it's no surprise that it's kicking ass in the ratings.

Discovery is rebroadcasting the first three installments on Sunday, starting with Pole to Pole — my favorite so far — at 11 a.m. EDT, then continuing with Mountains and Deep Oceans. Two new installments, Deserts and Ice Worlds, will air tomorrow night at 8 p.m. EDT. Planet Earth continues on consecutive Sundays through April 22, so check the full schedule online.

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