NATURE: Silence of the Bees (PBS)
No episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation was ever more perplexing than Silence of the Bees. This forensic installment of the NATURE anthology sought to discover why honeybees are dying off in droves around the world. The mystery has no “whodunit” moment. Botanists, beekeepers and epidemiologists tell the producers the cause may be an AIDS-like virus, a parasite, pesticides, malnutrition, a factor still unknown, or some combination thereof. What makes the artfully shot documentary so compelling, its lack of denouement notwithstanding, is its thorough explanation of just how crucial “the Earth’s premiere pollinators” are to the human race’s happiness, if not outright survival. More than a third of our food supply is dependent on bees, yet we coexist in an era of vanishing habitat and massive farms that require that bees be trucked like day laborers. For educating viewers about what scientists have dubbed “colony collapse disorder” and providing a frank reminder of the interrelatedness of all life, NATURE: Silence of the Bees receives a Peabody Award.
Executive producer: Fred Kaufman. Writer and Producer: Doug Shultz. Supervising producer and Director of photography: Peter Schnall. Coordinating producer: Whitney Johnson. Series producer: Bill Murphy. Editor: Mark Fason. Original music: Gary Pozner. Narrator: F. Murray Abraham.