‘Dynasties’: How Producers Captured This Epic ‘Game of Thrones’ Tale With Fangs

IndieWire | 1/19/2019 | Staff
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“Dynasties” is a new breed of nature documentary. With drama this thrilling and gut-wrenching, it’s not for the faint of heart. More intense than “Planet Earth,” “Dynasties” sticks with one animal family per episode to follow their heartbreaking fates and triumphant fortunes.

“It’s a very different editorial approach,” says longtime nature program narrator Sir David Attenborough. “The thought was we’ll watch them over the next two-and-a-half years and show you exactly what happens. We won’t fiddle around with it; we will show the action as truthful as we can.”

Cutthroat - Stories - Survival - Stakes - Creatures

These are cutthroat stories of survival that have the highest of stakes. Yes, these are actual creatures who live and die in the wild, but also each of the animals featured on the BBC-produced series is on the endangered species list. If a real, concerted effort isn’t made to protect them, “Dynasties” could be one of the last chances to marvel at these creatures before their bloodlines are wiped out forever.

The BBC and BBC America used pop culture references to draw parallels to the level of drama, with this promo below mimicking the “Game of Thrones” main title sequence.

Dynasties - Balancing - Act - Action - Reversals

“Dynasties” is a narrative balancing act, combining all the action and unexpected reversals of fortune of scripted drama with the awe-inspiring real footage from years embedded in the wild. Following lions, chimpanzees, tigers, painted wolves, and emperor penguins, the episodes are the product of careful planning, technical innovation, dedication, and a bit of luck. Producer Mike Gunton breaks down the many ways the series’ filmmakers were able to capture these five harrowing tales:

1. Channel George R.R. Martin:

Relatives - Fight - Supremacy - Family - Fate

Relatives turn on each other in a fight for supremacy. A family mourns one of their own to a sudden, tragic fate. Lovers perish together on the battlefield. A matriarch paves the way for her offspring to flourish.

While these...
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