Sex, Lies and Butterflies Soars on PBS Nature

A Postman Butterfly gathers pollen in Deerfield, Mass., one of the many extraordinary images featured in SEX, LIES AND BUTTERFLIES debuting on PBS NATURE. Photo courtesy Ann Johnson Prum/ ©THIRTEEN Productions LLC.

A Postman Butterfly gathers pollen in Deerfield, Mass., one of the many extraordinary images featured in SEX, LIES AND BUTTERFLIES debuting on PBS NATURE. Photo courtesy Ann Johnson Prum/ ©THIRTEEN Productions LLC.

When was the last time you came face to face with an actual butterfly?  And I don’t mean a computer generated knock-off! (If  you’re currently watching the quirky Alan Ball series, Here and Now, on HBO, you’ve seen more than your share of those phony baloney impostors lately.)

I’m an avid gardener and can’t imagine settling for anything but the real thing.  As the seasons stretch from spring into summer then fall, there is nothing more magical than watching the arrival of these glorious creatures in my garden, whether they flit past my porch windows en masse (as they did last year, in what seemed like an endless, mind-blowing parade) or they dart around me in the garden en route to feast on the flowers and flowering shrubs that I planted … just for them.  I can’t think of anything better than sharing my garden with these colorful little souls.

This butterfly in Tambopata, Peru, is ready for its close-up in NATURE: SEX, LIES AND BUTTERFLIES on PBS. Photo courtesy Mark Carroll/ ©THIRTEEN Productions LLC.

This butterfly in Tambopata, Peru, is ready for its close-up in NATURE: SEX, LIES AND BUTTERFLIES on PBS. Photo courtesy Mark Carroll/ ©THIRTEEN Productions LLC.

If you’re as obsessed with butterflies as I am or if you’ve taken them for granted, I urge you not to miss the latest episode of the PBS series NATURE, which makes the most of sophisticated eye-popping macro-cinematography to time-line the extraordinary 50-million year metamorphosis of one small brown moth into some 20,000 species of butterflies.

Sex, Lies and Butterflies debuts on PBS tonight, April 4, 2018, 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. ET/9:00 – 10:00 p.m. Central. (Check local listings for air times and repeat broadcasts in your region and  http://www.pbs.org/nature for immediate online streaming, DVD and Blu-Ray availability.)

This fascinating documentary was produced and directed by Emmy® Award-winner Ann Johnson Prum and written by Janet Hess, who seem to share an affinity for the tiniest creatures … you can read my FrontRowCenter review of their 2016 film for PBS NATURE, Super Hummingbirds, at https://judithtrojan.com/2016/10/12/  

Sex, Lies and Butterflies takes viewers on a similarly remarkable journey as it positions us eyeball-to-eyeball with such species of butterflies as Painted Ladies, Monarchs and Swallowtails and introduces us to those lucky biologists and ecologists in the U.S. and abroad who study the life cycles, migratory patterns and survival techniques of butterflies.

Birdwing Butterflies mating in Deerfield, Mass., a process that can take hours. Photo courtesy Ann Johnson Prum/ ©THIRTEEN Productions LLC.

Birdwing Butterflies mating in Deerfield, Mass., a process that can take hours. Photo courtesy Ann Johnson Prum/ ©THIRTEEN Productions LLC.

I guarantee that as you watch the extraordinary footage of these beauties as they mate, lay their jewel-like eggs, hatch and dodge predators via a funky array of caterpillar “attire” and break free of their chrysalises as full-fledged butterflies, the only word that will come to mind is “Wow!”

In fact, the film’s “wow factor” never waivers as Ms. Prum and her team explore unique butterfly species and their broad-based habitats; the marvels of their incredible eyes, proboscis, wings and vocalizations; their natural enemies and surprising “frenemies”; the logistics and challenges of their extraordinary migratory journeys and pivotal role as pollinators.

A beautiful Heliconia Butterfly photographed in Mindo Ecuador. Photo courtesy Ann Johnson Prum/ ©THIRTEEN Productions LLC.

Serenely narrated by actor Paul (John Adams) GiamattiNATURE: Sex, Lies and Butterflies is a production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET.  It debuts on PBS tonight, April 4, 2018, 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. ET/9:00 – 10:00 p.m. Central. (Check local listings for air times and repeat broadcasts in your region and http://www.pbs.org/nature for immediate online streaming, DVD and Blu-Ray availability.) Be sure not to miss it!– Judith Trojan

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About Judith Trojan

Judith Trojan is an Award-winning journalist who has written and edited more than 1,000 film and TV reviews and celebrity profiles.
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