Angst? What Angst?: The deaths of Patchi and Scowler's entire family in the 2013 movie. By the next morning, they're done mourning their father, and the loss of their mother and siblings is never even mentioned.
Author's Saving Throw: The powers that be seemed to have realized what a misstep the voiceovers for the 2013 film were, because now they're going to re-release the film (at least in the UK at an unknown time) without the voiceovers. Even better, Benedict Cumberbatch is going to narrate!
Better on DVD: For those who disliked the childish dialogue in the 3D movie, at least. The Blu-ray release has the "Cretaceous Cut", which eliminates it completely.
From the general scientist/paleontologist community, but mostly from those to whom scientific accuracy is Serious Business and any amount of speculation is intolerable. One such person infamously labeled the show's paleontology consultants "prostitutes" for "selling out" their knowledge to a fancy TV show.
Pretty much everycritic and their mothers are attacking the 3D movie. Few people are willing to contest them.
Deader Than Disco: When it came out in 1999, the documentary series as a whole was one of the most well-received and beloved of its time with its almost lifelike portrayals and managing to make several obscure genuses famous or at least more frequent in paleontology-related subjects. But, a slew of generally-disliked Follow the Leader series, criticism from scientists for being overly-speculative, Science Marching On, and the poorly-received 2013 movie has made the series something of a laughing stock among dino-fans for its aged CGI and numerous inaccuracies. Time for a fresh remake, perhaps?
Of the 3D movie, Gorgon. He's treated as the main villain, and yet just a predator trying to survive and feed his pack. Probably justified, though, as the story is told from the point of view of his prey.
The arthropods in Monsters. Whereas predators in other instalments are portrayed as Non Malicious Monsters who are only villains because we see things from the perspective of their prey (or aren't villains at all, in some cases), the narrator in Monsters paints the predators of human ancestors as though they're vicious, evil, malevolent brutes who are waging some kind of "war on vertebrates". This is even though, like the "villains" of Dinosaurs and Beasts, the arthropods are just regular animals doing what they have to do to survive.
While they didn't become stock, Ornithocheirus and Tapejara became fan favorites after this show and were given more attention in educational dinosaur books. The Ornithocheirus character became particularly popular due to the tragic outcome of his story.
Gorgon from the 3D film. Partially for being one of the few named characters not to receive an annoying voiceover.
Although for characters that do have a voiceover Alex has some popularity with the viewers, considering him to be less annoying than the others and he even does a Moment of Awesome.
The Hyaenodon from "Land of Giants" is one of the biggest land carnivores of its time and certainly one of the fiercest. Also the entelodonts, who very much deserve their title "hogs from Hell".
The Dinofelis from "Next of Kin" is basically a super sized leopard, with saber teeth, and more muscular body. Our ancestors learn who is the top predator of the savannah in a hard way.
The Anomalocaris in The Cambrian, the first top predator ever.
The Proterogyrinus in The Carboniferous remains top predator in a world ruled by creepy-crawlies.
Freud Was Right: Because of its shape, the Late Permian lake has been nicknamed Penis Lake.
Hell Is That Noise: The dying screeches of the dominant Leaellynasaura as it's killed by the Allosaurus in episode 5. Holy shit. It's arguably even worse by how abruptly it cuts off, followed by the plop of its mangled carcass falling to the ground.
The dromaeosaurid from "Death of a Dynasty" was seen as an example of Anachronism Stew, as Dromaeosaurus (what the animal was called during production despite its flaws) was extinct by the K/Pg extinction. Skip ahead to 2015, and a dromaeosaur just the right size to match with this creature was discovered in the exact formation the episode takes place in (Dakotaraptor).
The "Cruel Sea" opening reminds people of the ending to Jurassic World.
The decision to give some of the characters in the 3D movie voices ruined the movie for most people.
Narm: In Walking With Monsters. For all its hunting prowess and deadliness, the famous crested mammal-ancestor Dimetrodon looks pretty damn goofy when it's running.
The sensationalist narration making it seem like we are at war with other creatures is pretty cheesy.
Justified in the fact that every land vertebrate at that time period ran more or less like that, and the 10-feet one was likely to outrun everything else. And its following evolutionary stage (the gorgonopsid) loses its "clumsiness" altogether and gallops after prey at high speeds, which it would have done in Real Life.
The final fate of the tyrannosaurid family at the end of "Death of a Dynasty" rather comically clashes with the grimness of the scene. To elaborate: The mother died from her leg wound, with the surviving infants clustering around her body. Then the meteor shockwave hits. The babies get suck up by the wind and zoom away, followed by the mother's corpse being lazily dragged after them.
The Liopleurodon snatching the Eustreptospondlyus is easily the most memorable moment of the entire franchise.
The Utahraptor hunt.
The death of the Ornithocheirus.
The extinction of the dinosaurs.
The Diplodocus hunt in The Ballad of Big Al.
The gas cloud sweeping the forest.
The Brontothere mother fighting the Andrewsarchus.
The introduction to the wild plains with the adult Indricotheres.
Half-Tooth fighting the invading brothers.
The Smilodon pack hunting.
The great mammoth migration, culminating in the Neanderthals attacking them at night with fire.
Special Effect Failure: Even these shows weren't immune to this: the most common goofs are CG clipping errors (like when the mammoth's trunk "merges" with its tusk), wires from the animatronic models or parts of the people controlling them being visible, and shadow/reflection effects being messed up. Some are obvious, others you only catch if you watch the clips frame-by-frame.
Walking with Monsters suffers from some particularly bad-looking CGI composition. A lot of times, animals either clip into the scenery, their shadows rarely correspond to the irregularities or the color of the ground, and in some shots, they are cropped a little bit too far from the screen's edge (like this poor fish◊), so you can even see parts of the background "through" them.note Though this last one may depend on whether or not you watch it on DVD. At least one version of the Walking with Dinosaurs DVD also has some strange goings on at the edges of the screen.
The film has no lip synching, leading to speculation that it was supposed to be a serious documentary and was changed to a comedic film a la Ice Age at last minute. Cue outcry of They Changed It, Now It Sucks.
The animals in the earlier series often suffered from weird clipping and deformation. Sometimes during motion, their skin-textures would overlap and clip through each other near the joints, creating odd-looking "seams". There were also some rigging problems evident, like the shoulder-spikes of Polacanthus moving separately from its skin, or the upper teeth of the Diplodocus stretching when they open their mouth in a couple of shots. These issues were gradually ironed out as the series progressed.
So Bad, It's Good: Arguably the 2013 movie, with its inept childish dialogue, over-the-top cliché plot and gratuitous sexism. Others just see it as horrible, though.
The Scrappy: Juniper, from the 2013 movie, is considered a bizarre Gender Scrappy for being a Flat Character and evident of the gratuitous sexism the movie shows.
Alex the Alexornis from the same movie is a bizzare example of a Reverse Scrappy, being one of the only characters who isn't nigh-universally considered annoying and stupid. Being voiced by John Leguizamo certainly helped.
Chased By Dinosaurs has the famous flying reptile Pteranodon living in the the earliest part of the Late Cretaceous (it really lived roughly in the middle) and in South America instead of North America. It was literally in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The Complete Guide cites Carnosauria as "an ill-defined collection of theropods, whose evolutionary relationships are much contested by scientists." This hasn't been the case since The '90s at latest. Carnosauria is actually pretty well-defined and has been since the mid-nineties.
The book also calls Coelophysis a coelurosaur. Itů isn't.
Calling Cymbospondylus the largest ichthyosaur of all time. Shonisaurus and Shastasaurus which lived in the same time and place were even larger and the former was already known to science when the documentary was made.
The 2013 installment is not even a documentary, just Spirit with dinosaurs.
The franchise's handling in Hungary. Nearly all of the shows and specials have multiple dubs inconsistent with each other and containing numerous translation errors. WWD itself has two titles that alternate depending on which medium you're looking at. The supposedly 4-disk DVD set only has 3: on the WWD disk, the audio is out of sync by a full second and features some atrocious sound-editing. The Chased by Dinosaurs DVD is missing the interviews described on its case, and instead has dinosaur fact-files, most of which are written in English, but one is French (the heck?), and sport several spelling mistakes. The books have been published by multiple companies, and again have inconsistent translations. Further, they are ripe with obvious misspellings and editing errors, such as entire chunks of text simply missing or ending mid-sentence.
The Netflix summaries have mostly been fixed. Giant of the Skies is now about pterosaurs and Death of a Dynasty is just described as showing the extinction of the dinosaurs, but Cruel Sea still promises "mammoth ichthyosaurs" and "supersized crocodiles".
In the Spanish dub of Walking with Beasts, the narrator calls the beasts by bizarre 'Spanish-ized' versions of the English pronountiations of the Latin and Greek-based scientific names, giving us words like "Bassthillasuhrus" (Basilosaurus), "Brontothiuh" (Brontothere) and "Indricathiuh" (Indricothere). Basilosaurus (even Basilosaurio), Brontoterio and Indricoterio would be correct and roll the actor's tongue better. WWD was mostly right, but they had to rename the Utahraptor to Velociraptor.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: In Walking with Monsters, the evolution sequence from Cephalaspis to Hynerpeton (armored jawless fish to early tetrapod/early emphibian) skips a number of steps that would have made interesting sequences in their own right (jawed fish of all sorts, lobe finned fish, etc.).
This means the villain of the third sequence, the giant Hyneria, was actually part of our ancestry. Not all human ancestors were weak.
The cynodonts from "New Blood", and their babies for that matter. They're like little, half-bald puppies.
The baby Diplodocus from "Time of the Titans". At certain points, they even sound like human babies! And rather than being creepy, the effect is downright adorable.
The Cryptoclidus and baby Opthalmosaurus in "Cruel Sea". The former is basically a Jurassic seal (Although closer to a fully marine penguin in Real Life...still sounds cute) and the latter is essentially a Jurassic dolphin.
The Tapejara from "Giant of the Skies" and pretty much every pterosaur in the series. The fact that pterosaurs were this in real life certainly helps.
The Leaellynasaura from "Spirits of the Ice Forest". All of them.
Special mention must go to Sea Monsters. It features pre-historic creatures underwater and interacting with Nigel.
The arena spectacular for the sheer spectacle of seeing life-sized dinosaurs live in front of you.
Although the WWD movie got mostly negative and mixed reviews, the visuals have impressed mostly everyone, whether it's just the CGI or the 3D effects as well. The bulk of the critics single them (as well as John Leguizamo's "spirited way with words") out as the sole saving graces of the film.
What an Idiot: Nigel. Oh, Nigel. "There's no way I'd even think about jumping in waters where a mega-sized piranha is the least of your worries... OH!!! A TURTLE!!! WHERE'S MY DIVING SUIT?!"
What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: The series arguably was destined to a general public including both adults and children: however, for some people who watched it during childhood, several parts of the Walking With series are nothing but a long, endless sequence of Nightmare Fuel-related stuff. Arguably, talking about prehistory in a more reassuring way "will never be allowed" in TV. And the book "A Natural History" doesn't exactly better the situation, either.
The feature-length WWD film shouldn't escape mention. While light-hearted and anthropomorphized compared to the original mini-series, a few moments still qualify as rather frightening. The forest fire, and the death of Bulldust the Pachyrhinosaurus at the hands of the Gorgosaurus pack, both stand out. And the way Pachyrhinosaurus protagonist Patchi, having lost both love interest Juniper and the respect of his brother Scowler, just accepts his fate of being eaten alive by scavenging Troodons and azhdarchids is both downright terrifying and depressing.
Tyrannosaurus rex in the final episode. First, she loses her eggs after volcanic activity kills the embryos. Then, she seeks a new mate and then drives him away, but after laying twelve only three hatch. Then, one of her babies dies, implicitly at the teeth of its own siblings. Then she is fatally injured by an Ankylosauruswhile trying to protect them and suffers a slow agonizing death shortly after. The only saving grace is that her death meant she didn't have to die in the mass extinction.
For another case of "apex predator with children vs. mass extinction", the Basilosaurus from WWB.
The old Ornithocheirus. He risked his life flying all the way to his old mating grounds, is driven away the minute he gets there, and dies of exhaustion without managing to mate at all.
Stoic Woobie: The mother Gastornis from the first episode of WWB, after she discovers that her hatchling has been eaten by a swarm of ants. You can tell that she's not happy about it in the slightest, but her only response is to huff quietly and walk away, presumably to seek a new nesting sight.