Ocean Giants

Watch a preview of the PBS Nature film, Ocean Giants.

Whales and dolphins conjure a deep sense of wonder in us that’s hard to explain. From the Arctic to the Amazon, this groundbreaking three-part series goes on a global expedition with world-renowned underwater cameramen, Doug Allen (Planet Earth) and Didier Noirot (Jacques Cousteau’s cameraman), as they capture spellbinding footage of these marine mammals. Ocean Giants looks at how cetaceans hunt, mate, and communicate, and follows scientists as they strive to uncover new insights about these animals.

The first hour, Giant Lives, enters the world of the great whales. In the Arctic, giant bowhead whales survive the freezing cold wrapped in fifty tons of insulating blubber two-feet thick, making them the fattest animals on the planet. But the biggest animal on the planet is the blue whale. Measuring a hundred feet long, and weighing in at 200 tons, it is double the size of the largest dinosaur.

The second hour, Deep Thinkers, explores the cognitive and emotional lives of dolphins and whales. Like us, cetaceans have special brain cells, spindle cells, that are associated with communication, emotion, and heightened social sensitivity. These cells were once thought to be unique to us, but research is now showing that whales and dolphins may have up to three times more spindle cells than humans.

Marine mammals’ extrasensory perceptions and communication skills are the focus of Voices of the Sea, the final hour of the series. Whales and dolphins depend on sound to function in their ocean home. They use ultrasound to see inside other creatures, clicks and whistles to speak, and echolocation to navigate and hunt in the pitch-black depths.

Join PBS Nature, as it dives into the world of whales and dolphins, and reveals the secrets of their intimate lives like never before. Ocean Giants premiered on Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at 8/7 c on PBS.

  • Gerald Graham

    I’m very much looking forward to this! However, the promo shows someone touching a whale. In my country, Canada, as well as in the States, this practise is prohibited by law, and rightly so. I trust PBS Nature is in no way condoning this type of activity.

  • Fulaman

    Looks very interesting, I can’t wait, Thanks!

  • Ruth

    Ocean Giants looks like a wonderful program. I just saw the preview, and can’t wait to see more ! Thank you for doing such a wonderful presentation…. I will be sending out the time and date to all my friends and family !

  • Linda

    I’m so disappointed that it is Ash Wednesday and I won’t be home to watch the broadcast! Will you be airing it again sometime?

  • Robert Crooks

    Here is another blast over the abomination of your broadcast of the second part of this series and the failure of some idiot within your organization to delete the voice-over commentary that, obviously, was included as guidance for the editors. This is not only an insult to people watching the program–totally destroying the magic of the film–but, perhaps more importantly, an insult to the people who made the film…this really is a disgusting piece of incompetance on somebody’s behalf.

  • Duane Borden

    Simply incredible! I was awestruck!

  • Joy Kaiser

    This was absolutely FABULOUS! I was completely captivated for the full 2-hour period. At the end an 800 number was given only once to get a copy, I believe. I would love to have this to refer to over and over.

    Thank you!

  • Susan Rawls

    I watched “Ocean Giants” tonight on GPB in Atlanta.

    It was breath-takingly beautiful, not just another nature show! The photography was evocative of these animals – a masterpiece.

  • greg borle

    watched ocean giants tonite AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!! SPEECHLESS

  • K Loveridge

    By far, the best compilation of whale and dolphin research ever!

  • david

    great show! will you be posting the transcript?

  • Laura

    This was the most beautifully fascinating, educational, and inspirational program I’ve watched in a very long time. BRAVO!

  • Mary

    Hi, I have missed the three hour special yesterday on the dolphins and whales. When will it play again?
    Thanks so much
    Mary :)

  • Laurie


    I’m wondering how I can buy the 3-DVD series I saw on PBS last night – The Nature Ocean Giants series on Whales & Dolphins? A phone number was flashed briefly last night, but I missed it.

    Thanks in advance!

  • Cynthia Piano

    I was mezmerized, transformed and healed in the three hours that I enjoyed your program last night. Having experienced whale and dolphin energy when I lived in Hawaii, I was impressed with the weaving of science and spirituality that was communicated in this program.
    The footage was extraordinary, and your ability to connect the emotion, feeling and resulting euphoria encountered by those who share space with these beings, was brilliant.
    These animals carry the history, wisdom and very life of our planet. Respect, honor, kindness and love we give them is returned to us many times over. They are the ultimate models for unconditional love, joy, and caring in community. Their flexibility and ability to adapt to change over time is an example for us all.
    Mahalo, mahalo, mahalo nui loa (thank you from the heart) for this beautiful masterpiece. I vision that it is shown in every classroom, every church, every stadium, and every theater around the world. World peace is attainable if everyone could just be quiet and “feel” these 3 hours.

  • R Dakin

    I watched this program last night and found it awesome ! I’d like to know when you plan to rebroadcast it so I can watch it again.

  • Al MacLean

    i watched the 3 part Ocean Giants doc last night and found it fascinating – can’t wait to see it agaim

  • Jon

    I watched this when it debuted last night, and I was amazed at the whole thing. The video shots with the cameraman against the whales were breathtaking.

  • Gerard Valley

    Who is the narrator of the “Ocean Giants” series. His voice sounded so familiar but I couldn’t place it.

  • Ann Moore

    When will the full episode be available online?

  • Brian Wagner

    When will i be able to view the Whale film on my PC??

  • Alice Marie Way

    I watched only the first hour this week, and I was TOTALLY impressed. Not sure how you got a Scotsman and a Frenchman together to do the filming, but they did some fabulous footage – not to mention their remarks.

    I do, though, think I will never like a Killer Whale again (sob, sob).

    Thanks for a wonderful hour. I will catch the other hours on repeat, I’m sure.


  • Maryanne Moody

    Please, I would love & appreciate it if you would furnish me with the actual location & any other info that you may have about scheduling a vacation/tour to go interact with the Whale “Friendlys” that were featured as one of the topics aired during the program “Ocean Giants” both on Wed & Thurs evenings?! Thanking You (so very much) for your help in planning our next trip! I’m 50 & I’ve dreamed of the ability to do this for over 48 years!! :)

  • bill edwards

    when is this great show going to be on again on kcts9?
    when is this going to be on kbtc pbs?

    fantastic show
    thank you

    i want to tell my friends to watch

  • Melissa Loeschen

    This was FANTASTIC!!! How can I buy the DVD of this three hour series?

  • Rod

    When will the three episodes of Ocean Giants be repeated on PBS? The reception was so pixelated on both of our PBS stations on Tuesday that we were not able to view or record it.

    Thank you

  • annifromFL

    Has any of the scientists tried to send music back to the whales? Not by imitating their sounds…but by introducing human instruments into their world? Perhaps they’ve heard a string instrument played and are imitating that sound? Just a thought!

  • Lisa

    We dvr’d this series and have been watching it with our 4 1/2 yr old daughter. She is in awe of the majestic whales and giggles while watching the dolphins. I am impressed with how much she is retaining and learning about these ocean giants. Thanks.

  • Mitzi

    On Pbs sometime this week: Whales in the ice cold — this 2x bigger than a dinosaur ! No information has been discovered on this one — too fast and hidden. Not the blue whale , or any that we have on record. ??

    Would you have the name of this whale ?

    Thank you !!

  • paul thomas

    Ocean Giants is fantastic. Phenomenal footage and info. Thanks!

  • jim durkin

    when will you put it onine so i can watch it again and i love the show


    I missed this show!!!!!!!!!!! I had it marked on my calendar incorrectly!
    So, please will this be rebroadcast and when or is it available on DVD? My grandson(who’s 5) is a whale fanatic and we were planning to watch it together.

  • pbsnature

    Hi Sherry, The series will re-air starting March 28 with the first hour. The final two hours will air the following two Wednesdays. Ocean Giants is currently available for purchase at ShopPBS.org

  • pbsnature

    Hi Jim,
    The series will be streaming online for a limited time (30 days) immediately following the rebroadcast which starts on March 28. We’ll be promoting and linking to the full episode streams on both Facebook and Twitter as soon as they’re available.

  • pbsnature

    Hi Rod,
    The series will re-air starting March 28. The following two episodes will air the following two Wednesdays (April 4 and April 11). Sorry to hear you the reception was not good the night of broadcast!

  • pbsnature

    Hi Melissa,
    Ocean Giants is available for purchase at ShopPBS.org. So glad you enjoyed the series!

  • pbsnature

    Hi Brian,
    The series will be streaming online for a limited time (30 days) immediately following the rebroadcast which starts on March 28. We’ll be promoting and linking to the full episode streams on both Facebook and Twitter as soon as they’re available.

  • pbsnature

    Hi Ann,
    The series will be streaming online for a limited time (30 days) immediately following the rebroadcast which starts on March 28. We’ll be promoting and linking to the full episode streams on both Facebook and Twitter as soon as they’re available.

  • pbsnature

    Hi Gerard,
    The series was narrated by John Benjamin Hickey.

  • pbsnature

    Hi Laurie,
    The entire series is available for purchase at ShopPBS.org.

  • naturelover

    This was one of the best thing I have ever watched on TV, so well made. gave so much knowledge about the whales, so well narrated. totally loved it. I too want to go to see the whales now. Will look fwd to see the re-telecast in March. Thank you for such a great show.

  • deckmm

    I had this DVR’d and watched the first two hours last night. THANK YOU!!!! You have restored my faith in “Nature” (the program, not the world ;)!!!!

    “Nature” has had some real snoozers for quite some time. NOTHING snooze inducing about this episode!!!

    The second hour (part 2, “Deep Thoughts”) is especially fascinating to me. It’s one thing to know that a non-human is intelligent; it’s different (much more impressive) to see it in action (e.g., dolphins in Florida creating v-shaped mud clouds to capture fish; dolphins elsewhere playing with bubble rings; whales in Mexico gathering to investigate and be investigated by humans) Utterly awesome!!!

    Can’t wait to finish the third hour tonight!

  • Tara

    Will this be rebroadcasted on WNED in March? I am so upset I missed the original broadcast in Feb.
    Also why can’t those of us in Canada access the video on your facebook page. I have often donated to PBS-WNED and the network airs in Canada. So why are the Canadian IP’s blocked? And will we be able to access the online streaming or will this be blocked for Canadians as well?

  • Tara

    Opps I meant to ask if it was re-airing as per above on WNED not WNET.

  • Tina

    Who narrates the Nature – Giant Lives show. The voice sounds very familiar.

  • Michael

    When will this be available to purchase on iTunes? Some Nature programs are, some aren’t. I would love to buy a digital version of this program!

  • Irina

    Fantastic series! I was glued to the T.V. One thing that I’m wondering about though, is, if it has been demonstrated that many of the great whales use sonar to disorient or stun their prey, why is it never shown being used for that purpose by the sperm whales on giants squid? Instead, they are supposedly using these sonar beams, what – was it 180 db? – just to “find” the squid, and then they have to chase them down? I don’t think so!

  • Sue

    Thank you for broadcasting this amazing program! Truly AWESOME creatures who can teach us humans so much!

  • Daniel

    Where can I purchase this show? And/or when?

  • Dale Heisinger

    Your series on the Ocean Giants was spectacular. My wife asked if we could go to the Sea of Cortez and experience the whales first hand, without compromising their activities and environment. Do you have any references or links that would allow us to do this. Thank you. Dale Heisinger

  • Alwyne

    Narrator? Contrary to what someone else stated here, the series was not narrated by Hickey. For a start, the narrator was clearly English, whereas Hickey is American. Also, the narrator sounded very much like Stephen Fry, playing down his more excitable tones a bit. Watching the start again confirmed that it was indeed Fry – he’s credited at the start of the programme.

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