Smith’s wide-eyed travels into spectacular and dangerous locales essentially cast him as an enthusiastic tour guide, a role that he freely embraces. He begins by quoting his grandmother telling him, “All the best things in life lived on the other side of fear,” and closes the six episodes by citing his desire to “connect with the planet, and hopefully inspire others to do the same.”
Others, of course, don’t necessarily have access to the same options, which in “Welcome to Earth” include plunging to ocean depths of more than 3,300 feet with a marine biologist, visiting the edge of an active volcano and scaling the side of a glacier.
Not surprisingly, Smith frequently resorts to movie references to describe the wonders he’s encountering, comparing the ocean light show to “Star Wars” and “Close Encounters.” If that’s not enough, the inordinately insistent music does the rest.
Produced by Smith’s company along with director Darren Aronofsky and others, the series certainly features spectacular cinematography, which has become standard for the genre. Each episode also carves out a window for other explorers, expanding the vision and vistas beyond a Smith’s-eye-view.
“Welcome to Earth” premieres Dec. 8 on Disney+.