Review By JENNIFER KALI
My family has started to really look forward to the block of Saturday morning programming on ABC called “Litton’s Weekend Adventure.” This group of six shows, which starts at 8am in my neighborhood, can be enjoyed by the entire family and are so much more enjoyable than the kids-focused programming found on other channels at the same time (“Doodlebops,” anyone?). The six shows are all about nature and exploration, and some are specifically about animal rescue and conservation.
The programming block starts with the classic show, “Jack Hanna’s Wild Countdown,” which I remember watching when I was a kid. It’s the same as it’s always been – a basic introduction to animals in the wild, visiting a wild-life park in Africa, or a jungle in South America, all with Jack Hanna’s signature style.
The next show is “Ocean Mysteries with Jeff Corwin.” I have been a Jeff Corwin fan since he started with “The Jeff Corwin Experience” many years ago when I was in college. He brings his love of animals and his spirit of discovery to this show about ocean animals, and it’s very enjoyable. He often features animal conservation and rescue efforts, such as joining scientists on an expedition to measure the size of fish in the ocean to make estimates about the health of the fish population or to capture sick sea lions in California who are suffering from a disease that is wiping out the population. He often touches on human caused environmental problems. Corwin brings his fun energy to the show so that even when the topic is serious, it’s still a joy to watch.
“Born to Explore with Richard Weiss” is a travel show, featuring exotic destinations such as India or Indonesia. It’s a classic tourism show that touches on geography, nature, and culture.
“Sea Rescue” is the gem of the morning for animal lovers, though I have to say that it often brings my sensitive five year old daughter to tears. A team of marine animal experts respond to calls of animals in danger, such as a sea lion wrapped up in fishing line. Often in the course of the show, the animal is captured, nursed back to health, and released back into the wild. An emotional roller coaster for my kiddo but it’s always a happy ending.
I’m not a big fan of the next show in the block, “Wildlife Docs,” though my daughter loves it. It follows veterinarians in a zoo, so the term wildlife in the name is a misnomer. I have seen a few times when the veterinarians treat animals brought in from the wild, but mostly the setting here is in a zoo. My daughter was blown away by an episode about a pregnant orangutan that had to have an emergency C-section. She has talked about that one many times since we watched it.
The last show is “Expedition Wild.” In this show, an animal expert travels into the wilds of America to showcase the animals that live there. The host is a bear expert and runs a grizzly sanctuary, which is featured often. It’s another great show that often features animal conservation efforts.
We’ve never sat down to watch the entire block of shows at once. We just watch one or two shows each week. It took me a while to realize how great the entire block of shows is. They have a family-focus but are not necessarily kid shows, though some are more kid-focused than others. All of them showcase a love of animals and many of them have a focus on animal conservation and rescue. I’m very impressed with ABC for running this during Saturday morning television. I highly recommend checking out this block of programming.