There are no car chases. There are no rapes or murders. The biggest excitement is when the old man goes to sleep outdoors at his Kenya camp and you can hear the lion growling close by.
This is armchair-and-slippers TV, a modest, relaxed hour spent with two men who are trying to help some lions get wild again. "The Most Endangered Species . . . George Adamson" airs tonight at 10 on Channel 26.
Veteran naturalist Adamson (from whose diaries his late wife Joy wrote "Born Free," the famous novel about Elsa the lioness) and his young sidekick, Tony Fitzjohn, are anxious that Black 'n' Tan, a wild male lion, not kill the two cubs of Koretta, the last hope for the lion population in the 500-square-mile preserve.
That's the plot.
There is some driving around in a Land Rover, some shots of Koretta and her female companion Naja and the cubs, a villager or two, scenes of the camp. Narrator John Huston laconically talks of the legendary 75-year-old Adamson, a game warden in colonial days, and 38-year-old Fitzjohn, a hellraising cockney who attached himself to the older man eight years ago as unpaid assistant.
We watch Adamson getting up in a pink dawn that you can almost smell, tending the dik-dik and guinea fowl that run underfoot, cautiously feeding Koretta at the camp gates. We sit at the patio table, with the two men leisurely smoking and sipping their Pimm's Cup and saying maybe 20 words in five minutes while the birds caw and whistle and clatter out in the bush and the evening sky silently goes up in flames. We never even really learn how to untame a lion. Did we need to? All we get is a charming glimpse of two lives being lived in busy contentment. It's nice to know that they are over there in Kenya even now, under the same moon as we.