2019   USA Big Cat Country
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Studio:Blue Ant Media, Plimsoll Productions, The Smithsonian Network
IMDb Rating:8.9 (62 votes)
Duration:300 min
Location:Luangwa Valley, Zambia
  ...  (Director)
  ...  (Writer)
Irvine Iqbal  ...  Narrator
Nathan Pilcher  ...  Host and Camera Operator
Sam Davies  ...  Host and Camera Operator
Punks (Mohawk & Axel)  ...  MK-Mwamba Kaingo Pride Males
Surabi  ...  MK Pride Lioness
Rosa  ...  MK Pride Lioness
Zuri  ...  MK Pride Lioness
Zimba  ...  MK Pride Kids
Maya  ...  MK Pride Kids
Spotty  ...  MK Pride Cub
Thor  ...  Nomad Male
Ava  ...  Hollywood Pride Lioness
Xena  ...  Hollywood Pride Lioness
Nova  ...  Hollywood Pride Lioness
Comments: This breaks my #1 rule: No camera people talking on screen. One of them even cries. OMFG

It's such a great story (although close to eye-rollingly manufactured), well filmed in one of my favorite locations--Luangwa Valley, Zambia--over six episodes so I give it a pass. They incorporate maps showing where the two prides, the Punks, and the Nomads are at any given time making it easy to follow and get a sense of space

It also includes a story arc with a baby cub who gets lost from his pride. I'm a sucker for that (I guess it happens a lot)

Nathan Pilcher is one of my favorite Big Cat filmmakers so it was tolerable to spend some time with him. It's subtle but huge that both Nathan and Sam talk to the other camera people and NOT TO THE CAMERA

Irvine Iqbal's narration is mostly drama-free, if a little gravely for my taste, and thankfully is not of the play-by-play too-much-talking variety

This is better in every way than any kdrama any day

E01 The Invasion Begins
E02 Strength in Sisterhood
E03 Punks on the Run
E04 The Punks Strike Back
E05 Hollywoods Held Hostage
E06 The Next Dynasty

The story is there but the way they tell it makes many parts of it hard to believe. The hyperbole, and the claims of things like “this is the first time they …”, where there’s no way they could know, sound silly. It’s a really good doc and a great story even if it oversteps the bounds of allowable humans, way oversteps.

Summary: Journey to Zambia’s Luangwa Valley, a landscape abundant with prey. In the spectacular wilderness, two neighboring lion prides lay claim to prime hunting territory. The mighty MKs and the Hollywood lionesses must find mates to ensure their future. When the Nomads, a group of rampaging young males, invade their land in search of new territory, these two prides are in for the fight of their lives.

S1.E1 ∙ The Invasion Begins
The mighty MK pride stands 17 strong, but their aging dominant males can't hold on to power much longer. When the all-female Hollywood pride encounters the Nomads, a new pride of rival males, they may have found the answer to their mating dry spell. But they quickly realize that it will not be a happy encounter.

S1.E2 ∙ Strength in Sisterhood
The Hollywood pride is teetering on disaster. An attack by the invading Nomads has left matriarch Ava gravely injured. The Hollywood pride reels after the Nomad’s brutal attack on their leader, Ava, leaves her desperately weak and unable to hunt. To add to her woes, her hungry pride start rejecting her. But without her, they struggle to bring down prey.

S1.E3 ∙ Punks on the Run
The Nomads, a rampaging group of four young male lions, are looking for a pride to take over. The lions of the Nomad pride rampage deep into the heart of the MK pride’s territory, scattering its members and coming dangerously close to the five new MK cubs. Meanwhile, the Hollywoods are recovering, and Ava’s survival skills are still intact.

S1.E4 ∙ The Punks Strike Back
The Nomads recent invasion has scattered the MK pride to the far south, leaving the youngsters vulnerable. After the dry season lowers the waters, siblings Kimba and Maya risk crossing the river to search for their parents. They run the gauntlet of the densest populations of crocs and hippos in Africa, and face an even greater threat on the other side.

S1.E5 ∙ Hollywoods Held Hostage
The Hollywood pride is in serious trouble. Having fled north to escape the Nomads, other lions move in and threaten to take over. During the last few weeks of the dry season, the prides stick close to the only available water in the river. But in Luangwa, that proximity spells danger—especially when the scent of a hippo kill compels the Hollywoods to cross the river.

S1.E6 ∙ The Next Dynasty
The dry season is approaching its end, and the MK pride faces its toughest moment yet. The all-female Hollywood pride have been in exile after being attacked by the four Nomad brothers. But their leader, Ava, decides to lead her family south to the heart of their territory for a showdown with the Nomads.

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