Other than gin, Mars bars and playing with puppies (the furry kind, you deviants), the best thing about being human is that we do not have to fear predators. Sure, if we roam around the darkest depths of the jungle armed with nothing more than a sun hat and a Bill Bryson paperback, we might well end up as a big cat's brunch. Hell, if you poke a penguin for long enough you're likely to get a pretty decent pasting, but in our everyday lives our very existence is rarely threatened by a stronger, faster, hungrier creature. We're top of the food chain, baby! The only beasts we have to fear are our stupid, arrogant, greedy selves, because we'll happily kill each other over a made-up storybook or for a bigger lick of the honey pot.
In the animal kingdom, though, every day presents a new battle of survival, as prey rushes to stay one step ahead of predator. In Race of Life, Nat Geo Wild's new 10-part natural-world series beginning on Thursday, at 9.35pm, there are no prizes for coming in second, with each weekly episode demonstrating how animals have evolved and adapted to survive within their environments. This week's Survival of the Fittest (above) focuses on whales, and how these once land-dwelling creatures have, over millions of years, evolved into the amazing marine mammals we know today. I'm not quite sure how our holy instruction manuals explain evolutionary processes such as developing thick layers of blubber, modified lungs and sensitive hearing, all of which are necessary for survival in the depths of the ocean, but I'm thankful to have been born a neanderthal and not a measly krill.
Embarking on a rather different game of cat and mouse is new melodrama The Catch (Star World, Friday, at 8pm), penned by prolific television producer Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey's Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder. However, not all has been running smoothly in Shondaland. The Catch stars The Killing's Mireille Enos as a fraud investigator who snags con artists but is subsequently swindled by her own fiancé, played by the sizzling Damon Dayoub. Since the pilot episode wrapped and the trailer appeared online, the slick thriller has undergone major changes, and its retooling has seen Dayoub's role filled by the ever-dependable Peter Krause (Parenthood). Dayoub hasn't been the only casualty, though, Bethany Joy Lenz, who was set to play the conman's feisty partner-in-crime, has also been given the boot and now news has emerged that both the show's creator and executive producer have also departed amid significant differences regarding the series' direction. Turbulent times indeed and, with the TV channel's reluctance to furnish us with pre-release screeners, this one could go either way. Although, given Rhimes' track record, it's hard to bet against her creative team pulling out all the stops.
One series that is not suffering from quality control is renegade cop drama Bosch, which began rather unevenly but went from strength to strength to become a gripping, must-watch show by its season one finale. Based on the popular crime series of best-selling author Michael Connelly, and returning for its second season tomorrow (Fox Crime, 10pm), Bosch, played by Titus Welliver (Sons of Anarchy), follows LAPD homicide detective Hieronymus "Harry" Bosch as he goes back in the field and on the trail of bad guys following a six-month suspension. What works best is that the story arcs never stick to a single Connelly novel, the new season combining plot lines from Trunk Music, The Last Coyote and The Drop, which bring in an array of intriguing characters. With the addition of gorgeous noir-like cinematography and Welliver's engaging performance (bringing a freshness to the cranky, jaded cop role that's been played thousands of times), Bosch manages to rise well above many a clichéd cop drama.