The responsibility of parenthood is enough to scare anyone, but a new documentary series alleviates some of that worry.
“Babies,” a Netflix original series, explores the intricacies within children’s first year of life. Released on Feb. 21, “Babies” offers viewers an inside look into the science behind topics like babies’ sleep and speech patterns, movements and other milestones in babies’ first years.
“Love,” the first of six episodes, explores the connection between parent and child starting immediately post-birth. The series follows many real life families over the course of several years, but only a handful of babies are in each episode, which makes it hard to connect emotionally in each episode. However, the clear story arc makes the documentary satisfying to follow from birth in the first episode to the baby’s first steps.
The series relies heavily upon the science behind each topic, featuring renowned scientists and researchers in each field of study. This could make for an emotional disconnect for viewers looking for more baby-related content. However, the clear explanation of science behind every subject is easy to follow for those with no knowledge in each particular subject.
Quality themes are aided by beautiful shot composition. “Babies” is visually intriguing, switching up camera angles and shooting styles from close ups and slow-motion pans to iPhone-quality footage. While the documentary crew obviously filmed the majority of the footage, each parent had a lower-quality camera to film more intimate moments, like birth or breastfeeding in the middle of the night. However, some jolty shots feel out of place compared to the professionalism of the rest of the camerawork.
The minuscule title cards for each scientist and researcher are a puzzling stylistic choice, as the viewer must pause and peer at the screen to read each description. This and some questionable camerawork take away from the otherwise high-quality production.
Diversity among its cast, whether that’s a homosexual pair adjusting to parenthood or a multilingual family using their native tongues to teach language to their children, ensures “Babies” appeals to a broad audience.
For those looking for more emotional pull, the moments between several different parents and their babies are sweet and intimate. It’s clear the parents love their children and are thrilled to see them grow. The unfiltered interactions between each character make the viewer feel as if they’re watching a home video. The sincerity of these interactions only enhance the reality of the documentary, never making the action feel scripted or forced.
The six-hour runtime makes viewing the series a labor of love, but for those with time to spare, it’s a documentary worth watching.
Even for those terrified by the new inductees of the human race, “Babies” is a heart-warmingly honest and scientifically fascinating look into the first years of life. Each viewer can celebrate alongside the parents as the children achieve milestones of language and physical capabilities, even if it’s just on a screen.