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BBC America fills April with great DVDs for overtaxed viewers

Let him rip!
Author's Collection

Overtaxed from yesterday?
Earth Day is coming up. More Jack the Ripper chills. Thank you, BBC America, for a month of great DVDs!

David Tennant narrates this exhilarating six-part series that takes viewers over the planet's most incredible landscapes and reveals what it's like to fly like a bird. Filmed over four years with help from camera-carrying birds, drones, paragliders and remote-control microflight planes, Earthflight brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “birds-eye view” by combining state-of-the-art technology and sophisticated techniques to show the world from an incredible aerial perspective. Follow snow geese, bald eagles, grey cranes, condors, macaws and more as they soar across North America, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia. Each episode explores a different continent, with birds providing a dramatic narrative of their journeys across it, while the final episode goes behind the scenes to look at how the series was made.

Winged Planet
Soar with the birds in this groundbreaking aerial adventure narrated by David Tennant. This feature-length experience, including some of the most thrilling footage from Earthflight and more, brings the audience a new view of the lives and travels of birds across the globe. Winged Planet uses revolutionary aerial devices and techniques to fly right alongside birds. Snow geese dash through Monument Valley and New York City, vultures soar miles above the earth then dive down to huge wildebeest herds below, scarlet macaws race at breakneck speed through the rainforest–all shot from the birds’ perspective.

The Bear Family & Me
Black bears are powerful creatures, virtually impossible to get near–and scientists have rarely observed their natural behavior in the wild. In this absorbing three-part series from BBC Earth, renowned wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan and pioneering biologist Dr. Lynn Rogers try to gain the trust of a wild bear family in a spectacular American wilderness. Over the course of a year, the pair follow cheeky young bear Lily, her mother June and new cubs as they emerge from hibernation in the Minnesota Northwoods. The rewards are huge as Gordon gains the trust of Lily and June and captures the emerging personalities of individual cubs to deliver captivating insight into the life of the black bear.

Extreme Bears
Though they may look cute and cuddly, don’t be mistaken: bears can also be absolutely brutal killers. This epic natural history triple-bill from BBC Earth reveals the many sides of this often misunderstood creature. Set against the stunning Alaskan landscape, Great Bear Stakeout provides a fly-on-the-wall perspective of a whole cast of bear characters as they face sometimes shocking life or death scenarios. Narrated by Billy Connolly, this stunning two-part series uses a stakeout team and a range of cameras, from HD to the latest in hi-tech remotes, to take viewers right into a gang of grizzlies. In Polar Bear Battlefield, hidden miniature cameras combine with satellite views and more to infiltrate the hidden worlds of the polar bear and its prey, analyzing strategies and exposing secret hunting methods and survival techniques. And finally, Bears-Spy in the Woods brings the viewer within a paw's swipe of the giant panda, the brown bear, the polar bear and the less well-known spectacled bear by using camouflaged roving cameras, offering an intimate portrayal of these engaging creatures.

Ripper: Season Two
East London. 1890. The long shadow of Jack the Ripper may be gone, but the job of protecting London’s Whitechapel district has never been harder for Detective Inspector Edmund Reid (Matthew Macfadyen) and his loyal deputies Detective Sergeant Bennet Drake (Jerome Flynn) and Captain Homer Jackson (Adam Rothenberg). Against a society in rapid decline, the men of H Division take on new crimes that threaten to disrupt the delicate peace struck at the end season one, including a new drug scourge of an imperial nature, a female gang set on vengeance against their industrial tormentors, escaped bombers, subversive cult Svengalis and a mad eugenicist that stalks the circus freak shows for prey–an investigation that brings the elusive “Elephant Man” (Joseph Drake) to their aid. These new threats will test Reid and his allies to their very limit, all while facing corruption in their own ranks from the neighboring force of Limehouse’s K Division, and its formidable and entirely amoral leader, Detective Inspector Jedediah Shine (Joseph Mawle). The critically acclaimed BBC America series will return for a third season in 2015. Bonus Materials include Beneath Ripper Street, a featurette with cast and crew interviews.

Doctor Who: The Web of Fear
This classic 1968 Doctor Who six-part adventure has been restored and digitally remastered, thanks to the discovery of a batch of missing episodes last year. Previously available exclusively on iTunes, The Web of Fear introduces the Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) to UNIT and Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart, played by Nicholas Courtney (who later returns as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart). The TARDIS narrowly avoids becoming engulfed in a cobwebby substance in space. It arrives in the London Underground railway system, the tunnels of which are being overrun by the web and by the Great Intelligence's robot Yeti. The Intelligence's goal is to drain the Doctor's mind; can the Doctor sabotage the device before the Intelligence’s plan comes to fruition?

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