Docs

James Cameron ocean series, Jane Goodall doc among Nat Geo slate

Disney-owned science and nature cable net National Geographic unveiled a slate of new factual programming for its flagship and Nat Geo Wild channels on Tuesday (July 23), including a new ...
July 24, 2019

Disney-owned science and nature cable net National Geographic unveiled a slate of new factual programming for its flagship and Nat Geo Wild channels on Tuesday (July 23), including a new ocean exploration docuseries from Titanic, The Abyss and Avatar director and Nat Geo “Explorer-at-Large” James Cameron (pictured).

The six-part ocean life doc Mission OceanX (working title) takes viewers to oceanic frontiers, exploring the farthest reaches of Earth’s aquatic environments, 95% of which remain unexplored. The series follows next-gen exploration vessel Alucia2 on its maiden voyage, combining documentary footage with blue-chip sequences.

The vessel, formerly an oil survey ship, will be specially equipped with its own helicopter, two manned submersibles and a deep-diving robot, and it is capable of delivering ground-breaking news in real time, as it is equipped with its own dry and wet marine laboratories and a portable media studio.

Mission OceanX will be co-produced by BBC Studios Natural History Unit and OceanX Media for National Geographic. Cameron and Maria Wilhelm are executive producers for Earthship. Roger Webb, Orla Doherty and Stephen Rankin executive produce for BBC Studios. Ray Dalio, Mark Dalio and Joe Ruffolo are EPs for OceanX Media. And Kevin Tao Mohs executive produces for Nat Geo.

“National Geographic is a global leader in scientific exploration and adventure, revealing the wonders of the ocean and the significant challenges that are part of ocean exploration,” said Cameron in a statement. “In Mission OceanX, we’ll take viewers on an unparalleled ocean journey on the Alucia2, introducing them to the trials and tribulations of ocean discovery in real-time and the principled, passionate people behind them. We’ll tell a visually spectacular and dramatic story — a story that inspires the next generation of explorers and adventurers committed to protecting and preserving our oceans.”

Meanwhile, three new doc specials are coming to Nat Geo. Jane Goodall: The Hope, is a two-hour special following the success of the award-winning feature documentary Jane, about celebrity primatologist and conservationist Jane Goodall. The two-hour Hidden Kingdoms of China, Everest: The Greatest Mystery and the previously-announced Women of Impact, about female explorers, journalists, activists and policymakers, will round out the slate of specials.

Elsewhere, a special episode of Drain the Oceans will explore the Thai Cave rescue of 2018 using the most accurate rendering ever made of the Tham Luang cave system, made using advanced mapping and LiDAR technology.

By digitally draining the water from the flooded cave system, the series shows how the group of 12 boys and their soccer coach were trapped, and why it took rescuers three weeks to reach and free them from the underground cave network.

The special episode serves as the season two premiere of Drain the Oceans, airing on Sept. 2 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on National Geographic.

The series is produced by Mallinson Sadler Productions for National Geographic. For Mallinson Sadler, the executive producers are Crispin Sadler, Phil Craig, Tom Adams and Jobim Sampson, with series producer Savas Georgalis. Simon Raikes and Helen Hawken are executive producers for Nat Geo.

Finally, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo’s wildlife and natural history channel, will premiere a six-part series about the redemptive potential of dogs with behavioral issues in September.

Dog: Impossible follows dog behavior specialist Matt Beisner on his quest to prove there’s no such thing as a bad dog.

Beisner will work with dogs who everyone else has given up on, whether because they’re dangerous, aggressive or just misunderstood, to find progressive ways to address their behavior and find them homes.

The series is produced by High Noon Entertainment, an ITV America company, for Nat Geo Wild. Scott Feeley, Jim Berger and Corinna Robbins are executive producers for high Noon, with Amy Elkins serving as co-executive producer. For Nat Geo Wild, Tracy Rudolph Jackson is executive producer.

“From hardened hopelessness to real redemption, my personal transformation led me to create The Zen Dog, the world’s cutting-edge technique to help humans help dogs help themselves,” said Beisner. “Without treats, commands nor dominance-based methods, we continue to prove that there are no bad dogs. I’m able to teach people how to change their relationships with their dogs, which brings hope and peace back into their homes. Dog: Impossible tells the stories of these transformations.”

Dog: Impossible premieres Sept. 8 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Nat Geo Wild.

The slate announcement was made during National Geographic’s 2019 Television Critics Association (TCA) Summer Press Tour presentation yesterday.

(Photo courtesy of Nat Geo)

About The Author
Senior staff writer Frederick Blichert comes to realscreen with a background as a journalist and freelance film critic. He has previously written for VICE, Paste Magazine, Senses of Cinema, Xtra, Canadian Cinematographer and elsewhere. He holds a Master of Arts in film studies from Carleton University and a Master of Journalism from the University of British Columbia.

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