The drama of the lives of these meerkats continues with Season 4, which has been subtitled The Next Generation. This innovative nature program has named all of the meerkats and the show is edited together in a way to tell the story of these animals’ eternal struggle.
Still reeling from the death of Flower, the Whiskers new dominant female, Rocket Dog, is trying to keep the family together. Beyond all the other dangers of nature the Whiskers also have to deal with the rival group, the Commandos, and the new Whiskers splinter group, the Aztecs.
These animals may seem cute and cuddly, but they are really anything but. With the females willing, eager even, to kill the other females’ babies and other meerkats being banished left and right, these animals prove they are a force to be reckoned with.
The big change this season is the change in narrator. Up till now, Sean Astin has told the Whisker’s tale, but now it is Stockard Channing. She does a decent job, but it’s just not the same.
This is a cute show, with some brutal moments. It’s never a fun thing to see a meerkat die from a snakebite. But with death comes life and there are some pups born this season as well. It’s no Planet Earth, but this is a very well produced nature program that’s sure to entertain.
To Have and Have Not 6/6/2008
Zaphod makes it hard for Rocket Dog to find a mate. The Aztecs look for a permanent home while the Commandos drive the Whiskers out of their territory.
All Manor Of Love 6/13/2008
Having won the day against a mongoose the Aztecs now have a new home. Zaphod takes a group of roving males and leaves the Whiskers and joins up with the Aztecs. Commando Wilson mates with Sophie putting her in bad graces with Rocket Dog.
Rising Star 6/20/2008
Seacrest, a Whisker, manages to win the affections of Nikita, leader of the Commandos, and mates with her. Meanwhile some roving males make a move on the Whiskers burrow but are chased off.
The Family Way 6/27/2008
Rocket Dog is finally pregnant. After yet another romantic entanglement with Wilson, Rocket Dog evicts Sophie. The Whiskers come across the Aztec burrow and chase them off claiming it as their own.
The Mark Of Zorro 7/4/2008
Zorro and four other Whisker males raid the Commandos’ burrow and take over making Zorro the dominant male of the group.
Great Expectations 7/11/2008
Rocket Dog must hurry and find a safe place to give birth, which, luckily, she does and she has two healthy pups. Meanwhile, we learn that Nikita is now pregnant as well and goes on a rampage evicting most of the females in her group.
The Bodyguard 7/18/2008
Axel and Sophie are left to guard Rocket Dog’s new pups. But Wilson comes back to spend more time with Sophie. As if that’s not bad enough a puff adder finds its way towards the burrow entrance and gets inside. Luckily the pups escape safely.
Divided We Fall 7/25/2008
Sophie and Simon take the new pups, Nugget and Beaker, out to forage and find themselves trapped between some angry Aztecs and a deadly snake. While the pups make it out safely, sadly one of their protectors doesn’t.
To The Manor Born 8/1/2008
In the Aztecs, several women are pregnant. The Lazuli group makes their first appearance in this season and chase the Aztecs from their new burrows. Determined to have a place to birth her children, Maybelline leads the Aztecs and retake their home. Nikita gives birth over at the Commandos and Zorro struggles to maintain his dominance.
The Birds 8/15/2008
When their burrow becomes infested with parasites the Whiskers are once again on the move. Rocket Dog is pregnant again and so are all of her subordinate females, so she evicts four of them. And Zorro finally earns his radio collar as the researches have acknowledged him as a leader. Meanwhile Nugget and Beaker learn about the different birds of the Kalahari.
The Rovers Return 6/27/2008
Wilson, the rover, attempts to find a solid home. First he tries for the Commandos but Zorro drives him off. Second he goes to the Whiskers and once again mates with Sophie but he driven from there as well. Finally he tries for the Aztecs and attempts to win Maybelline’s affection but strikes out a third and final time.
Home Alone 7/4/2008
Rocket Dog gives birth to four more pups. She goes out to eat leaving them in the care of Rita who kills the pups. Sophie returns to the group and gives birth to three pups. Rita also gives birth to a pup but Rocket Dog will have nothing to do with it.
The Darkest Day 7/11/2008
A puff adder makes its way into the Whisker’s burrow. The group attempts to escape while Rocket Dog fights it off. Sadly she is bitten in the head. She attempts to lead the move doesn’t make it the whole way. Sophie must take over and get the rest of the pups to safety. Meanwhile, at the Commandos, Zorro is nowhere to be found. Later is collar is found stuck in a tree, but he is gone. Luckily this season does not end on a complete down note. Rocket Dog recovers from her snakebite.
The show is presented in a widescreen format. Sound is in Dolby Digital 5.1. This is a well-shot show and looks and sounds great.
This is a cute show, but this season is rather dark with quite a few deaths. By no means is this a show that needs to be owned but if you’re into good nature documentaries then it is certainly worth a rent.
Animal Planet presents Meerkat Manor, The Next Generation: Season 4. Created by Caroline Hawkins. Starring Stockard Channing. Running time: 292 minutes on 2 discs. Not Rated. Released on DVD: January 27, 2009. Available at Amazon.com.