Plot: What’s it about?
This four disc collection focuses on one of mankind’s closest allies, the beloved canine. As someone who has always had at least one dog in my house, these programs were of high interest. While dogs are a part of countless people’s lives, how much do we really know about these animals? How did the wild dogs become domesticated, why was such a strong bond formed, and how keen dogs can be, these are all topics explored in this release. If you want to know more about man’s best friend, this assortment of PBS documentaries is just what you’re after. Here is a quick synopsis of each volume.
1. How Smart are Animals- This piece covers a wide variety of animals, but there is ample time dedicated to dogs in there. The show looks at similarities between humans and dogs in terms of brain patterns, as well as presenting some of the more unusual, impressive dogs of the world. We’re also shown the evolutionary route traveled by dogs, which took them from wild animals to the beloved pets we hold so dear. The show also deals with dolphins and octopi, among other topics.
2. Dogs Decoded- A scientific look at the traits dogs are known for, from emotional awareness to the bond with humans. This is an interesting show, as it provides real answers to questions about dogs. The connection dogs seem to have with people, their ability to read emotions in people, and the human side to the man’s best friend scenario are all explored. A look at the information learned by studying canine genetics is also interesting. While some things will probably never be known, this is a solid look at what makes dogs tick and how they arrived in this point in evolution.
3. Through a Dog’s Eyes- This program is dedicated to service dogs and the people they assist. This is a well made, often stirring piece that really shows how strong a bond can be between someone and their dog. While these dogs are more than pets of course, that friendship still shines through. The process of finding a good match is looked at, the challenges that seem to pop up, and the magic that happens when a good match is arranged. For anyone interested in service dogs and what they do for people, this is well worth a look.
4. Dogs and More Dogs- This is another look at the historic presence of dogs, their evolution from wild animal to pet, and how so many breeds have come into existence. With narration from John Lithgow, this program offers some interesting perks about some dogs that are fun to watch. I also enjoyed learning more about the proliferation of various breeds, as that subject wasn’t covered much in the other programs here. Some of the information about the evolution of dogs was mentioned in an earlier program in the set, but even so, this proves to be solid.
Video: How does it look?
These programs all look quite good, given the nature of the material. Some footage looks better than others, but that is unavoidable when using various sources. None of the shows look bad however, all look good, but some of the footage has a little more polish, that’s all. Across the board, visuals are clean and clear, with no errors to speak. Since the programs have a nice, natural presence, that’s all we can ask.
Audio: How does it sound?
Not much to discuss in this area, as the audio is basic, but fine. You don’t need bells & whistles with this kind of material, so clear dialogue is sufficient. You can always hear the narration and interview subjects, as all vocals are clear and no volume issues arise. What little other audio elements are present sound passable, but the focus is on the dialogue, of course.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release includes no bonus materials.