‘Dynasties’: David Attenborough’s Wildlife Series Is a Whole New Species of Drama

Screengrab Courtesy of BBC America

In Dynasties, veteran environmentalist David Attenborough tells the unique and emotional stories of some of the greatest families in nature. Five of the most celebrated and endangered families are followed at a crucial moment in their lives where the future of their legacy hangs in the balance.

The Dynasties series focuses in detail on one particular family member each week. The first episode (Saturday, January 19) highlights the immense difficulties of leadership and the relentless determination of a West African lion on the savannahs of Kenya’s Masai Mara.

Screengrab/BBC America

Followed by the intense stories of a chimpanzee’s control for dominance on the edge of the Sahara in Senegal, an Emperor penguin nurturing a “snowball” egg in Antarctica, painted wolves harrowing escape from predators on the floodplains of the great Zambezi river and a tigress’ search for a den to secret her cubs in the jungles of India.

BBC Studios’ Natural History Unit, who lived for four years amongst them, has captured the most intimate stories, recording as they play politics, fight battles, make alliances, launch take-overs, battle rivals and win family feuds.

Screengrab/BBC America

These animals also face changes to their environment and destruction of their ecosystems from man’s encroachment on their habitat. Through it all, each is determined to hold onto power and protect their family, their territory and their dynasty.

Dynasties, Premieres Saturday, January 19, 9/8c, BBC America, AMC, IFC and SundanceTV