On December 22, 2014 I had the opportunity to participate in a conference call with Josh Gates about his new Travel Channel show: Expedition Unknown. It premieres January 8, 2015.
He began the call by giving us (“us” being bloggers and reporters) an idea of what the show will be about. Fans of his SyFy show Destination Truth might be a little disappointed to learn that this show won’t be like that. Yes, he’ll still be taking us to exotic locations in search of legends and mysteries. It just won’t be to find vampires, banshees, leprechauns or the like.
However, I think it’s safe to say most fans of DT were actually fans of Josh and will be thrilled to have him back on air. Plus, he’ll be delving into some of histories most enduring mysteries. So…even though the emphasis isn’t on trekking in search of spooks, beasts, or creatures, there’s still that element of the “unknown” (which is aptly reflected in the title of his new series).
In the 2-hour season premiere of Expedition Unknown, adventurer Josh Gates hunts down new evidence on the disappearance of Amelia Earhart. He treks to uncharted tribal lands in Papua New Guinea and ends his journey in Fiji, hoping to uncover the pilot’s remains.
Josh was really excited about this episode. He referred to it a bunch during the Q&A session. It seemed he learned a lot about the life and times of Earhart and respected all she had done, and what she was trying to do, not only as a pilot but as a woman during a time when women were more inclined to stay home, not try to navigate the world.
He also brought up Myanmar a lot. I’m not sure what he was looking for there, but that seemed to affect him a lot and he conveyed a deep appreciation for getting the chance to travel there and experience the sites and culture.
Captain Morgan and the Amber Room were the other expeditions he referred to a lot. Of course he didn’t give much away about what was found or what happened, but it seems viewers will be treated to Josh’s trademark wit and exploration style.
An Immersive Format
Another thing Josh emphasized during the call was he wants to highlight the journey, the whole journey, not just the destination. Much like he did on episodes of DT, he searches out scientists and experts to talk with regarding the legends he’s investigating. He uses them to help tell the story and bring viewers into his travels.
That was something else that was particularly important to him: he wants the viewers to feel as if they’re “riding shotgun” with him. He wants people to experience the story with him, as he’s discovering it.
He said that the show accomplishes this by way of filming as they go. Surprises that happen to them are not staged. He used the example of an earthquake that happened during the filming of the Amelia Earhart episode. One second they’re talking to an expert and the next they find themselves trying to maintain their balance during a 7.something magnitude earthquake.
Josh Gates inspired the creation of the first HJ poll (which is an on again/off again feature). It was after a debacle with an airplane that’s top started peeling off while in the air. (To this day I don’t know how that plane didn’t crash.) Anyway, the poll was sort of morbid: I wondered which paranormal reality star would be most likely to give up the ghost during an investigation.
One of my questions to Josh was based on that: “Can we expect the same humor and foibles, especially with transportation, as we saw during DT?”
He assured me that, yes. There’s still all of that aspect to him as there ever was, as the picture below proves!
Great. I’m looking forward to the show. I’ve matured in my haunt jaunting ways myself. I’m not just about the ghosts and monsters these days. (Although of course that still intrigues me.) But I find myself more drawn to the mysteries and legends of the places we visit, whether they be scary or just intriguing.
Mostly I, like millions of other fans, have missed Josh Gates and his travels and it’ll be good to see him back on TV.
Are you looking forward to Expedition Unknown too?