The BBC blew away nature buffs when it released its Planet Earth series in 2006 after five years of recording incredibly beautiful footage of animals in their remote habitats.
Now nature is getting another breathtaking closeup in the BBC’s Planet Earth 2. Viewers in the U.K. experienced the sequel, narrated by David Attenborough and with music by Hans Zimmer, on BBC One in late 2016, but many other nature fans around the world are still catching up.
The six-episode series follows the format of the original, focusing episodes on habitats like mountains and grasslands. Within these habitats, the filmmakers zoom in on unique species and natural events, often capturing the stunning drama of our natural world. While the themes are similar to the original, advancements in photography and the incredible scenes captured by the filmmakers make the sequel just as captivating. One segment from the “Islands” episode even went viral, because watching an iguana run from dozens of hungry snakes is just as intense as it sounds.
It’s clear why you’d want to watch Planet Earth 2, but unfortunately, that’s easier said than done—even if you have a cable or satellite subscription.
How to watch Planet Earth 2 with cable
Cable and satellite service subscribers in the U.S. can log into the BBC America website or its companion app to stream recent content. The site is tricky because it seems to indicate that you can stream Planet Earth 2 on demand.
I followed the instructions and signed in with my cable provider, which is listed among those supported by BBC America’s website. I had to search to navigate to the Planet Earth 2 page, and when I got there, I spent several frustrating minutes attempting to find a place to play full episodes.
- 13 mind-blowing nature and science documentaries you can watch on Netflix
- The best documentaries on Netflix
- What’s new on Netflix
I never found it. The site’s FAQ section says new episodes are available for streaming for a limited time after they air, so my best guess is that because Planet Earth 2 aired in February and March in the U.S., these episodes are no longer available. I emailed a publicist for BBC America to see if I was doing something wrong and to ask when the episodes might return. I never got a response.
How to watch Planet Earth 2 without cable
So let’s take a look at your other (legal) streaming options. (Spoiler: You’re not going to like them.)
Planet Earth 2 is available to purchase for $2.99 per episode or $19.99 for the full season in HD on Amazon, Google Play, and other places you can purchase streaming content like PlayStation store. You can get the standard definition version a bit cheaper, but we recommend HD because it’d be a shame to miss out on the show’s spectacular photography. Cable, satellite, and Sling TV subscribers will rightfully be salty about this option, because who wants to pay twice just to have an on-demand option?
If you want to watch Planet Earth 2 right now, buying a digital copy is your best option. Episodes do still run on the BBC America TV channel, but you’ll have to check your local listings to catch them. With a little DVR magic, you may even be able to record most or all of the episodes for a proper binge watch.
If you’re willing to put in some effort to save a few bucks, you can also check your local library for a copy of the Blu-ray. If none of these options sounds appealing, just sit tight for awhile. The first season Planet Earth is streaming on Netflix, so it’s a good bet that Planet Earth 2 will show up eventually.