BBC America is bringing back the 2000s nature/reality series Meerkat Manor, which followed meerkats in the Kalahari Desert and aired on the BBC and, in the US, on Animal Planet, from 2005 to 2008.
Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty—its working title—will premiere in 2021 and follow “descendants of the legendary meerkat matriarch, Flower,” according to the network. Flower was killed by a cobra, which was shown in an episode that aired in 2007.
BBC America said it has ordered 13 episodes, which will be 30 minutes each. The original production company, Oxford Scientific Films, is returning.
Three seasons of the original series is on Amazon Prime Video, and Animal Planet has 52 episodes from four seasons. There was even a movie, Meerkat Manor: The Story Begins. Sean Astin and Stockard Channing narrated the original seasons for the U.S. broadcasts.
While the original followed meerkats that were being observed as part of the Kalahari Meerkat Project at the Kalahari Research Centre—that’s why some of them had radio collars—the press release doesn’t mention the project explicitly.
The meerkats in the new series are “neighbors and rivals who share a bloodline are forced to compete for food and resources in an environment that is undergoing a great deal of change: the Kalahari Desert in South Africa,” according to the network.
It described the meerkats’ lives like this:
“Strength lies in numbers in meerkat society, so producing babies is a priority for the dominant couple of each family. But offspring only happen when times are good, and times haven’t been great of late in the Kalahari. Like everywhere else in the world, climate change is revealing its challenges. Seasons are drier, hotter, rainfall is less frequent and more unpredictable. This means food can be hard to find and the meerkats must be tougher and more resourceful than ever. Fights and raids by other groups are common, and each family will live or die by the strength of its leaders.”
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