Arts & Entertainment | December 16, 2016 9:00 am

Five Reasons You Should Be Watching ‘Savage Kingdom’

It's basically <i>Game of Thrones</i> with animals

One thing you may have yet to be asked around the water cooler: Have you been watching Savage Kingdom?

Yes, it’s an animal show. Yes, it’s set in Africa and follows actual animals.

But it’s also scripted, a new wrinkle in the live-action documentary-style world. The writers crafted stories around each group of animals, who live and hunt in constant competition on a savanna in Savute, Botswana.

Should you carve out some time to watch it this weekend? Absolutely. Here’s why:

It’s high stakes and action-packed

Nothing is as high stakes as the kill or be killed mentality of the jungle. Savage Kingdom sets up four groups of predators — lions, hyenas, leopards and wild dogs — as royal houses similar to those on Game of Thrones. The lions are like the Lannisters, the leopards are similar to the Starks (and suffer similar fates) and the hyenas are like Little Finger.  

It’s narrated by Charles Dance, aka Tywin Lannister, so it feels extra Games of Thrones-y

It seems that all animal shows have distinguished British actors these days. But it does lend some gravitas, and certainly helps with the Game of Thrones parallel.

It’s beautifully shot on 4K and took over 20,000 hours of taping

There are no call times in the jungle, and the actors here really are on their own schedule. So you have to respect the patience and skill of a production crew that can wait around for animals to do their thing, and yet somehow make it all flow together in a story.

The score is by Hans Zimmer’s music company, Bleeding Fingers

So do watch it on a system with good sound.

You don’t have to wait until episode six for the drama to unfold

There are only three episodes so you can binge it in one sitting, most likely at your computer, in which case do use good speakers or headphones. It’s available on the Nat Geo channel or on their website.