TV Highlights

The Birth of Europe

Nat Geo Wild - 8pm

Who's in it?

Geology experts proved that geology expertise doesn't have to send you to sleep in this surprisingly engrossing look at the formation of our continent.

In a nutshell

The word "Europe" isn't that sexy, is it? Think "United States" and all kinds of glamorous Americana springs to mind – Route 66, sleepy diners, flamboyant gangsters, the lights of Vegas. Think "Africa" and vast sun-scorched landscapes, teeming wildlife and burgeoning cities come to mind. Japan is basically Blade Runner. Russia is a newly unknown world, like something dreamt up by thriller writers. But Europe? As a word? It just makes you think of men in suits, sitting in committees about trade and taxation.

Good thing, then, that The Birth of Europe – a brand new Nat Geo Wild documentary – is about the birth of geological Europe, rather than, say, the Maastricht Treaty. We get epic shots of valleys and rivers and forests, rather than shots of John Major circa 1991. Which is a good thing. And, in this first episode, we got lots of dramatic analysis of how water and ice crafted the continent: think LOTS of water and ice, smashing rocks and carving borders. It was like how Double Geography should have been.

What's the verdict?

Not cutting edge, not controversial, not try hard. Instead, this series is just the thing if you want to slump in front of the telly after a tiring day and have your brain massaged by soft, semi-interesting facts that you'll forget three seconds afterwards. Lovely.

Star rating: 3/5

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07-07-2011