We are standing in the plains of Medialand. We can see Snarkus majoris, the Common Troper, stalking another cliché. Watch as she creeps silently towards the overused plot device. Soon... there she goes! She leaps onto the cliché and sinks her snarky teeth into it. Look at it writhe! It can't escape! Soon it will be another entry in the Troper's Lair.
Documentaries in which animals are filmed in their natural habitat. Or not, as the case may be. There are two variants: one where a narrator explains whats going on over a clandestinely filmed scene. The other is where the host goes out and wrestles the animals to show off the beauty of the unspoiled nature.
Perhaps the Ur-Example for television was The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau which ran on American Television for a decade and inspired an entire genre of underwater adventure documentaries (as well as a lot of affectionate parodies). All modern TV nature documentaries owe something to Cousteau.
Commonly parodied in various media as the Wildlife Commentary Spoof.
- Animal Planet is an entire channel devoted to Nature Shows..or, was.
- An Arctic Tale
- Big Cat Diaries
- Blackfish, a 2013 documentary covering the deaths of trainers at Sea World by the captive Orca Tilikum.
- Crocodile Hunter
- David Attenborough
- The undersea documentaries of Jacques Cousteau
- Encounters at the End of the World
- The Jeff Corwin Experience
- K2: Siren of the Himalayas:
- Kratt Brothers
- Last Chance To See with Stephen Fry.
- March of the Penguins
- Meerkat Manor
- Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom
- National Parks Adventure
- Nature on PBS
- Savage Kingdom
- The Secret Land, a 1948 documentary about a massive U.S. Navy expedition to Antarctica
- Sharks 3D
- Walt Disney's True Life Adventures series were some of the first popular nature documentaries. They are rather infamous nowadays as Documentaries Of Lies, particularly due to the faked lemming suicide scene in "White Wilderness".
- Walking with Dinosaurs and its spinoffs/sequels differ in that the creatures are mostly CGI, with animatronics thrown in.
- The same about Planet of Dinosaurs, though without CGI.
- Both are justified of course; unless you want to do an entire documentary about birds (which many people have already done anyway) you're not going to have any luck finding dinosaurs to document these days.
- The Wild and the Brave, 1974 Oscar-nominated documentary about a Ugandan national park
Use as a trope in media:
- Spoofed in The Ren & Stimpy Show as Untamed World.
- Years ago, the Little Caesar's pizza chain had a commercial which started as an apparent nature documentary. The dialog went something like this:
Narrator: In the wild, life is a constant battle to find enough to eat...<scene cuts to a hippo carrying a pizza box in its mouth>Narrator: ...fortunately, mother nature always provides.
- Parodied in the Futurama episode "Naturama", with the show's characters appearing as animals on Mutual of Omicron's Wild Universe.
- This is what The Wild Thornberrys were supposed to be making.