Franchise / The Future Is Wild

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/511q6qafvml_sy445.png

The Future is Wild is a franchise focused on the possibility of how life would evolve in the future, focusing entirely on three distinct eras: an Ice Age 5 million years into the future, a wetter, warmer era 100 million years from now, and a period 200 million years ahead in which all the continents have merged into one. Starting as a book co-written by Dougal Dixon (who also wrote After Man: A Zoology of the Future), it was later made into a documentary aired by Animal Planet, being a Canadian/European co-production. Eventually, it became popular enough to spawn a children's animated series; being made entirely in Canada, it lacked the accurate models of the documentary and added cartoonish animal CGI models.


The Future is Wild documentary provides examples of:

  • After the End: The premise of the documentary is how life will evolve millions of years after humans are gone.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 3.
    • In the US release, humans simply left to settle/live in space. The probes documenting the various creatures were sent by them/their descendants.
    • In the UK release, humans are extinct but it's never said exactly how they went extinct. In nature, there are two ways an animal can become extinct: by being killed off, or by evolving enough that you're eventually considered a different species. The US version and the UK version are not mutually exclusive: humans could have gone off into space and diverged into multiple "alien" species over the millions of years, thus rendering Homo sapiens to be extinct while leaving other species of humans alive.
  • Artistic License Biology: Some of the documentary's predictions are, to say the least, less than likely. For instance, it's quite unlikely for all mammals to be simply outcompeted into total extinction by other vertebrates in the way depicted in the show, and certainly quite impossible for arthropods and cephalopods to totally displace vertebrates in general in all large animal niches.
  • Ascended to Carnivorism: The baboons of the future have gone from eating fruit, to eating fish. This isn't particularly far-fetched, as most species of primate are some level of omnivorous as it is.
  • Bat Out of Hell: The Deathgleaner, a species of giant predatory bats inhabiting the deserts the new Ice Age.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Silver spiders, falconflies, slickribbons... hell, the future seems to be especially wild for invertebrates.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The squibbons rescue one of their young from a megasquid. It actually plays out like a Saturday Morning Cartoon.
  • Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: Female spinks are brown, but males are black.
  • Chest Monster:
    • The Spitfire Beetle acts as this to the Spitfire Bird — four of these assemble into a fake flower to attract the bird, and then they jump on it and take it down.
    • The Deathbottle's top looks like a rotting fish , which attracts the Bumblebeetle. Thankfully for the bug, this one isn't lethal to them.
  • Cockroaches Will Rule the Earth: Not cockroaches per se, but the series ends with the implication that the descendants of squid will evolve into a new civilization. It's squid that get this treatment, with the tree-dwelling ape-like squibbon implied to be the ancestor of a future sapient species.
  • Crapsaccharine World: This is pretty much the Poggle's natural habitat. They are farmed by Silver Spiders, who provide them with loads of food, look after them, and protect them until they are fully grown, at which point they are brutally slaughtered and fed to the spider colony's queen.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: This causes some species to go extinct.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: A few of the more cute and harmless future critters, such as the Spinks and Desert Hoppers, are mostly nocturnal and come out at night to avoid the heat and the predators.
  • Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: The Swampus, Rainbow Squid, Megasquid and Squibbon.
  • Expy: Many creatures are expies of other animal species, both living and extinct, since they all fill similar ecological niches, and were subject to convergent evolution. There are also a lot of expys from After Man: A Zoology of the Future.
    • Snow Stalker: Bardelot
    • Shagrat: Woolly Gigantelope
    • Gannetwhale: Vortex and Porpin
    • Cryptile: Fin lizard
    • Gryken: Pamthret
    • Scrofa: Zarander and Turmi
    • Spink: Termite Burrower
    • Great Blue Windrunner: Bootie Bird
    • Rattleback: The Grassland Rattleback is an expy of the Testadon and Spine-tailed Squirrel. The Desert Rattleback is an expy of the Rootsucker.
  • Feathered Fiend: The Carakiller. Also, while only trying to defend themselves, both the Gannetwhale and the Spitfire have very lethal defense mechanisms.
  • Flying Seafood Special: The two species of flish. Most people would assume a flying fish would evolve from modern gliding species (or at least any pelagic one), but the makers decided to make it a codfish descendant.
  • Giant Flyer: The Great Blue Windrunner. The sources don't seem to agree on its size; some offer a realistic approach at 3 meters (about the same size as the largest modern flying birds), but the official site states a wingspan of 15 meters, which would make flight impossible given how thin the atmosphere is at the altitudes it flies at and how narrow its wings are (though it can increase the wing area by raising its legs, which have wing feathers).
  • Humanity's Wake: The British version of the documentary was after humanity went extinct, the American version changed it so that the human race simply left the system.
  • Irony: "These strange creatures are called Babookari." Yeah, compared to tree-swinging squid, jumping snails, flying fish, acid-shooting birds and dinosaur turtles, a blue-assed baboon would look really strange. To be fair, the babookari appears in one of the first episodes, whereas the more bizarre animals appear later in the show.
  • Kaiju: The Toraton. Weighing 120 tonnes and 15 times the size of an elephant, the Toraton is the biggest land animal ever to live (dwarfing even the largest known dinosaur, the 90-ton Argentinosaurus).
  • Killer Rabbit:
    • The Spitfire Bird looks like a harmless orange bird, but it can shoot hot toxin from its nasal cavity.
    • The Snowstalker and Gryken are mustelids, and like their relatives from the time of humans, they are both cute and vicious. Downplayed compared to the Spitfire Bird: they are larger than the largest modern mustelid, the wolverine, and they have exposed sabre teeth which make them look scarier.
  • Last of His Kind: 100 million years in the future, nearly all mammals are extinct. The only one left is the Poggle, a tiny rodent-like animal farmed by giant spiders in mountain caves.
  • Light Is Not Good:
    • The Sharkopaths, whose yellow bioluminescence fits them well. Also, one of the main problems for life in the high plateau is ultraviolet radiation, and thus both the Windrunner and the Silver Spider reflect it, looking as if glowing in blue and silver light respectively.
    • The Deathgleaner, a gigantic carnivorous diurnal bat, also fits this trope.
  • Mix-and-Match Critter: Justified that convergent evolution has forced new creatures into vacated niches, and so adapted into a form that resembles a now-extinct familiar animal (whether prehistoric or from the age of man). Normally, a species in this show will look like a mix between its ancestor and the species that used to fill its ecological niche in the past.
    • Snowstalker: Smilodon + Polar Bear + Wolverine
    • Toraton: Sauropod + Tortoise
    • Squibbon: Chimpanzee/Gibbon + Squid
    • Rainbow Squid: Giant Squid + Whale
    • Carakiller: Terror Bird/Dromaeosaurid + Caracara + Cassowary
    • Rattleback: Pangolin + Armadillo + Various scavenging rodents
    • Shagrat: Musk Ox + Marmot + Capybara
    • Gannetwhale: Gannet + Penguin + Walrus
    • Cryptile Lizard: Frilled lizard + Basilisk lizard
    • Megasquid: Elephant + Squid
    • Spink: Naked Mole Rat + Quail
    • Lurkfish: Electric Eel + Monkfish
    • Babookari: Baboon + Uakari (Primates forced from the trees also echo early hominids)
    • Sharkopath: Shark + Lantern fish + Dolphin
    • Deathgleaner: Desert hawk + Vampire bat
    • Silver Swimmer: Fish + Planktonic Larval Crustaceans
    • Flish: Birds + Fish
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Some animals have names that are as scary as their appearance: the Sharkopath is a bioluminescent shark, the Carakiller is a flightless Feathered Fiend, and the Deathgleaner is a giant Bat Out of Hell. Also the Deathbottle, an enormous carnivorous plant, though since it can't actually move, it's more like "Names to Stay at Least Five Metres Away From at All Times".
  • No Flow in CGI: This common problem was a reason for showing so few mammals, and having them die out in the end. Hair is hard to animate!
  • Planimal: Garden worms have photosynthesizing algae in their body appendages, making them look like a cross between a fern and a worm.
  • Portmanteau: Boy, does this series ever love them. We have Babookaris, Bumblebeetles, Carakillers, Sharkopaths and Squibbons, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
  • Psycho Electric Eel: The Lurkfish is a gigantic, carnivorous electric fish.
  • Punny Name: Sharkopath, Squibbon, Carakiller, Bumblebeetle, Baboukari, Swampuss, Flish.
  • Ragnarok-Proofing: Completely and utterly averted. The only times it's brought up are during the Paris time lapse scene and occasional mentions of how geological processes would have long destroyed any sign of human civilization.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: The rainbow squid may seem unrealistic, but it's just an Up to Eleven version of real bio-luminescent squid. In fact, it's probably the most realistic of all the cephalopods in the show.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: The shagrats (big as sheep!) and rattlebacks.
  • Running on All Fours: The spink, while a bird, walks on all fours due to its subterranean lifestyle and spikes its wings into the ground with each step.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Spindletroopers are said to grow a metre across, yet when compared to the adult reef glider — which is three metres long — only look to be a few centimetres in length.
  • Shock and Awe: The Lurkfish.
  • Spider Swarm: One of the speculative future creatures is the Silver Spider, which has a similar eusocial caste system to ants or bees.
  • Stock Sound Effect: Bear cub cries for the young Snowstalkers.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: Refreshingly averted. The Snowstalker reastically flees after the Gannetwhales bombard it with their vomit, the Deathgleaners give up on attacking the baby Rattleback after its mother charges them, and the Falconfly flees after the Spitfire Bird starts squirting it with reactive chemicals. Granted, the Snowstalker does wound a Shagrat and track it down until it dies from blood loss, but this is a Real Life tactic that many predators use.
  • Threatening Shark: 200 MY in the future and they are still there! The consulting scientists state that sharks have been able to survive and evolve throughout hundreds of millions of years simply because they're the perfect killing machines and most likely will be around for a very, very long time.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • If you're a juvenile Toraton, then walking straight into a nest of amphibious squid, with a highly venomous bite, may not be such a good idea.
    • The lost baby Scrofa, that, separated from its parents, runs out into the salt desert until it dies of heatstroke. When it was already on a safe place among the rocks, at that!
  • Too Important to Walk: Every terabyte caste except the porters, which haul the other castes' members around.
  • Viewers Are Goldfish: The TV adaptation's 100-million-years-from-now segment explains that all mammals but one are extinct. Then the 200-million-years-from-now segment states that all mammals are extinct by then ... and goes on to list several human-era mammal types that are no longer around, just in case viewers forgot the previous segment of the program.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Literally. The Gannetwhales regurgitate and spit their last meal at possible predators while they are incubating their eggs at the shore.
  • Wham Line: "Adult toraton." To explain, the toraton is introduced as an elephant-sized herbivore descended from tortoises. It is then killed by a swampus. We then find out that it was only a baby. Adult toraton are the heaviest land animals ever, and have no predators.
  • Why Won't You Die?: The Carakiller trying to attack the armoured Rattleback.

The Future is Wild CGI children's series provides examples of:

  • Ambiguously Brown: C.G. and her father.
  • Animal Talk: All animals (even literally brainless invertebrates like jellyfish and sea spiders) are capable of sentience and speak a language of their own (which can apparently be understood by all species).
  • Carnivore Confusion: Since every single animal is sentient, carnivores are portrayed as villains, ranging from genuine Affably Evil examples into at least one full fledged evil monster without a mind of its own.
    • This is despite this being averted in documentary, however, where many carnivores are portrayed sympathetically.
    • Averted in the show itself on one occasion: a carakiller was portrayed as sympathetic in "Monkey Brains" and Gill and Butch, the lurkfish, are just hilarious.
  • Comically Missing the Point: In "Sign Of The Time Flyer":
    Ethan: We could run around in the grass and play Marco Polo.
    C.G.: You want to pretend to be the 13th century explorer who journeyed to China?
  • Deadpan Snarker: Luis, and C.G. at times too.
  • Ditzy Genius: C.G. is this often.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Emily.
  • Missing Mom: C.G.'s mother. The time flyer's captain is her father buy her mother is never once mentioned, nor did she appear.
  • Ship Tease: Emily with Ethan, and C.G. with Louis.
  • Team Pet: Squibby the Squibbon.
  • Totally Radical: In the children's series, the Antarctic Forest is described as "trippy". Uh, that's not really what trippy means...

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Franchise/TheFutureIsWild?from=Main.TheFutureIsWild