"The First Eden" is as different from TV's cops-and-criminals shows as any program could be, but it still has a villain as insidious as any on "Miami Vice." That element may not be so apparent in tonight's hourlong premiere of David Attenborough's newest urbane, thought-provoking PBS series (8 p.m. on Channels 15 and 28, and 9 p.m. on Channels 24 and 50), but the three parts that follow make it clear who the villain is.
And me, and our ancestors. It's mankind--which has, in Attenborough's words, treated the lands around the Mediterranean (the subject of the four-part series) as "little more than a larder that could be raided with impunity."
The host and writer of "Life on Earth" and "The Living Planet" this time subtly shows how humans have blighted the Mediterranean world, despite also building such glories along its coasts as Athens and Venice. Inhabitants failed to conserve farmlands, turning them into deserts. They murdered their own kind.
But Attenborough's biggest beef, so to speak, is over the way his own species has mistreated animals. People, he asserts, have lost their reverence for both fauna and flora, and in the process have lost something essential in themselves.