Why Tiny World should be your next box set
James R | On 18, Apr 2021
“It’s easy to miss the smaller things in life,” says Paul Rudd early on in Tiny World, part of a growing line-up of nature documentaries on Apple TV+. They’ve become a cornerstone of the streaming age, not only tapping into the timely importance of environmental awareness and action to combat climate change but also proving a natural fit to streaming platforms that place emphasis on eye-popping visuals to attract audiences. Tiny World may be small, but when it comes to spectacle, it’s a big deal.
The series promises a unique perspective on our world, shining a spotlight on the smallest creatures of the planet that us galumphing humans would normally overlook. It’s a canny piece of voice-casting, then, that Apple should nab Paul Rudd to provide the narration. The Ant-Man star leans into his Marvel connections, introducing us to a world of “tiny heroes” and “little monsters” using “super powers” to overcome “giant odds”. Rudd’s genial, warm vocals are a livelier alternative to the more typical soothing calm of David Attenborough, and he brings humour to the tone of the show to make things accessible without merely relying on anthropomorphism (although there’s a chunk of that too, as each cute critter pops up). Rudd keeps things simple and swift, describing nests as tennis balls, comparing animal sizes to wine corks and tacos – he’s definitely on the same page as executive producer Tom Hugh Jones, who also serves as writer with David Fowler.
But the upbeat, entertaining mood and Rudd’s star power aren’t the only reasons to tune in – Tiny World’s appeal is rooted in its inventive, flexible approach production. With the series filming more than 200 species and amassing 3,160 hours of footage, each half-hour episode is bursting with stunning cinematography. Producers Plimsoll are also behind Netflix’s groundbreaking Night on Earth and National Geographic’s Hostile Planet. Here, they use custom drones to mimic a bird’s eye view, as we delve into the winged world, or follow bees and insects through the air. High-speed cameras slow things down enough to give us a close-up look at everything from fang blenny fish to anemone shrimp. If you want some how-did-they-do-that footage of an Etruscan shew, this is the place to go.
Connecting it all is the theme of surviving against the odds, and that underdog vibe turns out to be entirely apt for a series that helps establish Apple TV+ as a natural history programmer in its own right.
Tiny World: Season 1 and 2 is available on Apple TV+, as part of a £4.99 monthly subscription, with a seven-day free trial. For more information on Apple TV+ and how to get it, click here.