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Can you feel the love tonight? These lionesses can, on Serengeti.
Can you feel the love tonight? These lionesses can, on Serengeti.

Pop CultureNovember 12, 2019

TVNZ’s new animal documentary has more drama than the Lion King

Can you feel the love tonight? These lionesses can, on Serengeti.
Can you feel the love tonight? These lionesses can, on Serengeti.

Ahead of TVNZ1’s new wildlife documentary Serengeti, Tara Ward presents the best animals that make up the juiciest drama on the plains.

If you love nature docos filled with argy-bargy and love triangles, jealous siblings and power struggles, then TVNZ’s new wildlife documentary series Serengeti is a dream come true. The brainchild of ex-Spice Girls manager Simon Fuller, Serengeti gives a dramatised version of life on the Serengeti plains, with storylines about animal families created out of footage captured by the BBC Earth team. It’s basically a real life Lion King, or Real Housewives for wildebeests and warthogs.

Serengeti’s stories get you right in the feels from the first dramatic minutes. It’s a brutal place for Kali, the lioness who’s raising four tiny cubs on her own, and Bakari, the brave baboon grieving his lost love. Animals must fight to survive, and once they’re annoyed, they become Liam Neeson with horns. They have a particular set of skills, skills they’ve acquired over a long career. They will look for you, they will find you, and they will kill you. We’re all supposed to be eating less meat, but nobody told the hyenas.

But the creatures of the Serengeti will also comb your back hair, adopt an orphan baboon baby even though they’ve no parenting experience, or risk their own lives to protect the youngest of their herd. They’ll dance for their ostrich boyfriend, and they’ll suck the ticks out of a warthog’s skin. Serengeti’s animals experience big emotions and big drama, and it’s all captured through some phenomenal photography and stunning natural footage.

With so many unique creatures in Serengeti, it’d be criminal to play favourites, so that’s exactly what we’ve done. We’ve taken into account all the important things like strong beaks and good hair, and come up with a ranking of animals that you’ll thankfully not see the likes of again. Mother Nature and Serengeti, we salute you.

14. Zebra

Chuck a zebra crossing on a road and it zsushes the neighbourhood right up, but put in one in the Serengeti and it just sucks. Easily distracted, dies a lot. Shame.

13. Weaver Bird

Glares a lot, shows off by building fancy nests. Dirtbag.

12. Python


11. Eagle

Knows all, sees all, can feel in its waters when a baboon is upset.  Should run for the UN, would sort Brexit out by Christmas.  

10. Lion

Great hair, strong leader, basically the Chris Warner of the African wilderness. Rocks a fine mullet, and is a living embodiment of business at the front, party at the back.

9. Hyena

Party animal. Always a crack-up, with a laugh that could wake the dead.

8. Lioness

Serengeti reckons Kali the lion had sexy times with a lion from another pride, got up the lion duff, and was expelled from her tribe as punishment. What is she, human? By day she raises four cubs on her own, by night she probably sews feminist embroidery and wears a t-shirt that says “Love Trumps Hate”. Queen.

7. Mongoose

Mongoose, mon ami.

6. Ostrich

Impress me, the Ostrich sneers, but only a fool will try. You’ll fail unless you’re covered in feathers and can strut like Mick Jagger, and even then, you’ll lose an eye if you make one wrong move. Also, don’t get her started about how she’s expected to sit on another woman’s eggs. Run. Run for your life.

5. Baboon

How could you not love this face?

4. Warthog

An unfairly maligned beast. Beneath that warty exterior lies a heart of hoggy gold, and while she will never get the first impression rose on Bachelor: Serengeti, the warthog is here for the right reasons. Swipe right, pash a warthog today.

3. Baby Cheetahs

Chill AF.

2. Baby Elephant

Just look, LOOK at this gorgeous lump of trunk and legs. The precious wee pup can’t stand up, it can’t sit down, it’s like it drank too many box chardonnays on Christmas Eve and now can’t remember where it put the ham. We’ve all been there, and that wee elephant just needs a good lie down and half a box of Milk Tray and she’ll be right as rain by the morning.

1. Baby Baboon

From it’s tiny baboony fingernails to it’s quizzical brow and glorious satellite ears, I think I’m in love. Hold me closer, tiny primate, you had a busy day today.

You can watch Serengeti on TVNZ1 at 7:30pm on Tuesdays.

This content was created in paid partnership with TVNZ. Learn more about our partnerships here

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