Nature documentaries lead March streaming recommendations

You likely didn’t notice, but Netflix pulled some of its most beloved nature documentaries from the platform just before Christmas.

Gone are “Planet Earth” (I and II), “Blue Planet” (I and II), “Frozen Planet” and several other excellent documentary series from BBC Earth. That’s because Discovery won the rights to BBC Earth titles and will launch its own streaming service this year.

Exploring creation

If you’re a lover of nature documentaries, don’t fret. Most of the major streaming services have plenty to offer in the nature documentary realm, even if BBC Earth currently doesn’t have a home.

Although Disney Plus is best known for children’s animation and superheroes, its Disney Nature collection is nearly as impressive, with seven feature-length films residing on the platform.

These child-friendly movies include “Chimpanzee,” “Born in China,” “Bears,” “Wings of Life” and “African Cats.” (My 4-year-old son loves them.)

Netflix, even without BBC Earth’s best series, offers its own excellent original nature programming, including “Our Planet” and “Night on Earth,” as well as shorter documentaries worth exploring. (“Untamed Romania,” which entered the platform in recent weeks, is a pleasant surprise.)

Amazon Prime includes multiple episodes of PBS’ “Nature,” which remains the best-produced nature documentary in the United States.

Hulu has the best faith-based nature documentary, “The Riot and the Dance: Earth,” which follows Gordon Wilson as he explores God’s creation.

In our city-centric culture, nature documentaries soothe the soul. Watch any of them and you’ll quickly see why David wrote, “On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate” (Ps. 145:5).

Also streaming this month:

For adults/teens

  • “Space Jam” (Netflix) — Michael Jordan helps Bugs Bunny win an intergalactic basketball game. It’s rated PG and has a few elements (including sensuality and misuse of h-ll) that may trouble parents. (That’s one reason I can’t recommend it for all children.)
  • “The Young Messiah” (Netflix) — It’s a live-action, 2016 film that imagines what Jesus would have been like as a 7-year-old. It’s almost entirely fiction, although the plot mirrors what Scripture teaches about Christ: He’s sinless and has authority over Satan. (Both truths are depicted on screen.) Some moviegoers walk away from “The Young Messiah” inspired. Others say it never should have been made. I’ll let you decide. Rated PG-13 for some violence and thematic elements

For children

  • “Charlotte’s Web” (Hulu) — It’s the 1973 version of the classic story about a spider who devises a plan to save a young pig from slaughter. It’s a great tale of love and friendship. Rated G.
  • “Hugo” (Netflix) — An orphan who lives in a train station tries to uncover a secret message left behind by his late clockmaker father. Rated PG for mild thematic material, some action/peril and smoking.