The oceans cover 70 percent of the Earth’s surface and contain 97 percent of all water in the world, but it’s said we know more about the surface of Mars than our own planet’s “inner space.”

Planet Earth: Blue Planet II dives into the unknown when the series launches with a multi-network simulcast event across BBC America, AMC, IFC, We tv and SundanceTV on Saturday, January 20 at 9 p.m. Subsequent episodes will air on BBC America.

Planet Earth: Blue Planet II is rare, event television, an extraordinary series we are so proud to launch as a premiere simulcast across all five of our national networks,” said Ed Carroll, chief operating officer of AMC Networks, in a statement. “AMC Networks prides itself on being a premiere destination for extraordinary storytelling in all of its forms, and this remarkable exploration of our natural world from the BBC is storytelling at its finest.”

In the U.K., the series is the highest-rated show of the year and the most-watched natural history title in more than 15 years with more than 14 million people tuning in for the premiere episode.

“This next chapter in BBC America’s nature programming franchise is more incredible than anything yet seen, complete with heart-pounding exploration and incredible cinematography,” said BBC America President Sarah Barnett.

The seven-part series presented by Sir David Attenborough is described as “a magical, mind-blowing voyage into the most undiscovered place on our planet,” where there exists “more life in the deep sea than anywhere else on Earth.”

Through breakthroughs in science and cutting-edge technology, Blue Planet II reveals astonishing characters, otherworldly places and extraordinary new animal behaviors, according to AMC.

“With revolutionary technology we can enter new worlds and shine the light on behaviors in ways that were impossible just a generation ago,” Attenborough narrates in the trailer.

Over the series’ four years of production, teams went on 125 expeditions, visited 39 countries, spent more than 6,000 hours diving underwater and filmed across every ocean in the world, from familiar shores to the deepest seas.

Some “firsts” for the series include:

  • Producer Orla Doherty and her team were the first humans to dive 3,280 feet into the frigid waters of the Antarctic, in a deep manned submersible, to explore under icebergs the size of a city block and discover creatures so alien they could come from outer space.
  • At 2,000 feet deep in the Gulf of Mexico, they filmed methane volcanoes erupting with bubbles the size of basketballs.
  • Life was thought to be impossible in the deepest point of the Earth’s ocean, seven miles down, but they filmed creatures living under a pressure equivalent to 50 jumbo jets stacked on top of one another.
  • Species such as leaping blennies – fish that live almost exclusively on land; Giant trevally that fly out of the water to snatch seabirds in mid-air; the ingenious coral grouper, a fish that enlists the help of an octopus to hunt little fish hiding among coral and, perhaps most charming of all, the industrious tuskfish, who uses a coral anvil to crack open his clams.

Planet Earth: Blue Planet II is made by BBC Studios’ Natural History Unit, and co-produced with BBC America, Tencent, WDR, France Télévisions and CCTV9 in partnership with The Open University. It’s executive produced by James Honeyborne, produced by Mark Brownlow, and scored by Academy Award-winner Hans Zimmer.


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