Island of the Sea Wolves is an informative, well-written and enjoyable nature docu-series. Sure, it’s no David Attenborough epic but while Frozen Planet II awes and inspires on BBC, Netflix’s effort isn’t bad either.
The show takes place on Vancouver Island, just off the west coast of America. Here, wildlife battles for survival and dominance across the changing seasons, and Netflix’s camera crew are there for every season. Except the cold, biting winter for some reason.
Yes, the three episodes here start in Spring and follow different groups of animals throughout the year until the end of Autumn.
The episodes themselves are broken up into different chunks, with the chapters focusing almost exclusively on Otters, Wolves and Bald Eagles. For these species we follow a family unit for each, complete with their own names and individual journeys. It’s an interesting approach, something that worked really well in both Dynasties and Seven Worlds, One Planet, and likewise here too.
The narration from Will Arnett isn’t actually that bad either, and the episodes run for just about the right amount of time too.
Around these three dominant animals are several other species explored, including Orca Whales and Black Bears. Annoyingly, the former is referred to constantly as “Killer Whales” and although that is their colloquial name, it undermines how beautiful and intelligent these creatures are. It’s a small gripe but an undeniably irritating one.
The camera work though is great, and while the musical score is perfunctory for the most part, some of the establishing shots of the island are fantastic. Sunrises and sunsets look suitably picturesque, while there are a lot of close-up shots for each animal, which is good to see.
There’s a lot of information packed into these episodes too and seeing how the animals live out their lives throughout the year is easily the highlight of the whole project. Despite only having 3 episodes, there’s certainly enough to sink your teeth into. It’s not perfect, and at times the show struggles to elevate itself to the annals of nature doc brilliance, but it’s a decent watch all the same.