The central conceit of Springwatch is that a big collection of BBC cameramen decamp to some location in the British Isles and set up small cameras everywhere - often in birds' nests. They then just watch what happens. In its modern iteration Chris Packham has steered it and shaped it in his own image: a completely uncompromising look at what the natural world is all about - typically, death.
What I like most about Springwatch is that it doesn't pull any punches, but nor does it dress things up in melodrama. It simply presents what happens with neutral, careful commentary which explains but never judges. There's no music or slow motion or any of the other bullshit you get in nature documentaries. (The BBC has in recent years been creating some outstanding wildlife programmes, but it has become obsessed with slow-mo to the point of self-parody. But let's not get started on that.) Just the facts, ma'am.
The effect this achieves is to magnify the uncaring brutality of the natural world. It shows exactly how hard things actually are for animals to survive, especially when young. Watch this encounter between some great tit chicks and a jay.
As soon as that jay figures out where they are, those poor little blighters are fucked. They don't stand a chance. Their entire experience from life to death can be summarised as being shut away in a box eating caterpillars for couple of weeks and then getting a brief glimpse of a vast and frightening world before being messily dispatched by an aggressive corvid. I mean, HP Lovecraft had nothing on this.
And sometimes you're not even safe in the nest. These green woodpecker chicks (four or five of them, it turned out in the end) didn't even get as far as the great tits. As soon as a female stoat figured out where they were their days were numbered.
Of course, we all know this is part of life. I don't want to turn into James Lovelock and start blathering on about Gaia...but you could interpret Springwatch as a sort of implicit text of the Gaia hypothesis: at times it seems to present - whether accidentally or by design - a cyclical view of nature that is almost too perfect. The stoat eats the woodpeckers, a tawny owl eats the stoat, the owl shits in the woods and fertilises an acorn which grows into a tree full of insects which woodpeckers eat, etc.
But viewed through a different lens it presents what is in a sense the bleakest picture imaginable - life is unremitting struggle for no purpose and it will get you sooner or later (and it's often sooner). If you're an animal you can battle to survive but the best thing that you can hope for is to perpetuate your genes (but what good does that do you really?) and that when you're killed off it will be relatively painless.
So forget the Great Old Ones, Morgoth, and the unending struggle between Law and Chaos. Nature, if you want to see it that way, is bad enough: survival horror on the biggest scale imaginable. If a jay doesn't eat you, a stoat will, and you will be absolutely none the wiser about what the point of the whole thing was. Why make a special plea for supernatural uncaring alien deities when the real world conveys that message more purely than fantasy ever could?
[I don't actually see the world this way, of course. I lean much closer towards Lovelock than Lovecraft. But you see my point anyway.]