Anyone who’s visited an American Best Buy in the last 10 years has almost certainly seen widescreen TVs playing images of sweeping vistas from around the world—from gleaming snowcaps to the subterranean world of caves to vibrant jungle canopies. They’re the same scenes of visual splendor that first found enormous popularity in Britain and that may soon find a new legion of fans worldwide: The BBC has confirmed that its nature documentary series Planet Earth will return a decade after the original served as an inadvertent advertisement for the high-definition revolution. The new series will debut later this year with six episodes presented by the famed naturalist David Attenborough, who provided narration for the original show and who’s considered a national treasure in Britain.
When it was released in 2006, Planet Earth was simply the latest (and the most expensive) in a long line of BBC nature documentaries, though it was the first to take advantage of the development of high-definition filming techniques. Planet Earth 2 will be similarly forward-thinking—it’s been shot with ultra high-definition cameras over the last three years, employing drones and remote recording. It’ll likely serve as a similar native commercial for 4K televisions, the industry’s next big product, which have so far struggled to find TV content to match their ultra-detailed pictures. But just as Planet Earth helped boost advances in TV technology, HD images sparked a remarkable resurgence of interest in nature documentaries, with the show breaking ratings records in both the U.S. and the U.K.