We’re not going to lie, documentaries can get boring. With dreamy voices and the beauty of nature, often, documentaries become a show you play in the background while you try to sleep. But, Penguin Town is anything but boring. Netflix’s newest documentary on the penguins of Southern Africa is a refreshing step apart from your usual documentary films. Narrated by the famous stand-up comedian Patrick Oswalt (who also voiced characters from Ratatouille and BoJack Horseman), this show follows five different penguins during mating season.
Penguins are extremely cute birds, with eccentric characteristics most of which come out during the mating season. From finding a mate to a proper home, or finally growing their waterproof feathers, this show is a whirlwind and nothing like you would expect typical documentaries to be like.
Patrick Oswalt is great at adding comedic content throughout the 4 hours run time of this 8 part docu-series. The series follows five penguins in total. It features two couples, and a lone “teenage” penguin dubbed Junior. While all of them are adorable, it does get difficult at times to tell them apart. But the filmmakers and the narrator do a great job to keep the audience as well-informed and involved as possible.
Just like the trailer says, there are a lot of movies about penguins. Most of them feature a typical habitat of frosty snow and ice. Seeing penguins walk around a small South African town, interacting with the residents, crossing roads, and scouring the countryside for the perfect nest is unbelievable, but we are definitely not complaining.
Penguin Town features an old penguin couple cutely dubbed the “Bougainvilleas”. A well-known fact about penguins is that they mate for life, and this couple has been together for years. They have this down by the pat and know exactly what to do during the season. They are able to find a suitable location for a nest fairly early.
Another couple named the “Culverts” or the “newly-weds” is, as their name suggests, new to this. It is their first mating season and while they encounter quite a few difficulties while trying to build a nest where they can lay their eggs, there’s an underdog penguin that’s the cutest of them all.
Junior is all alone and he’s having trouble adjusting to adult life. He almost becomes the meal of another predatory animal too many times, struggles to adapt to the weather, and find a home for the season.
While the comedic elements and all the cutesy adorable fluff make for a great watch already, Penguin Town, in typical documentary style, doesn’t shy away from showing the harsher reality as well. The South African Penguins are an endangered species. The climate and the predators they need to escape in order to survive are probably why the population of this species is on a sharp decline. Mating season is tough for them already, and adding to that the daily battles of climate change and global warming, these penguins that you grow to love, struggle to stay alive.
Final Verdict: Penguin Town Season 1
Penguin Town is a docu-series you definitely should not miss. Unlike most documentaries, this one mixes in comedy, cutesy names, quirky characters, and a storyline that keeps you engaged. If you love animals and especially tiny flightless birds, this title should be right up your alley (We’re looking at you, Sam Gardner). If this was not on your watchlist already, you should add it, now!
To stream Penguin Town on Netflix, click here.