The Discovery Channel blasts into Fall with the most ambitious project of its history – an unprecedented, daring and dangerous month-long exploration of the Red Planet: MARS. Discovery Channel announced today that this landmark multi-platform television event – including the World Premieres of “Race to Mars” and “Mars Rising” – is the cornerstone of the 2007-2008 season which includes the addition of 15 new specials and series, plus new episodes of 15 returning series.
As the scientific and space community marks the 50th anniversary of the Space Age initiated by Sputnik, Discovery Channel presents the most expensive science television project produced during the past year worldwide with “Race to Mars,” a four-hour expedition series; and “Mars Rising,” a six-hour companion documentary series. Experts suggest we could see a successful human voyage to Mars in our lifetime – and when it happens, it will be the most ambitious, complex and dangerous expedition ever undertaken. No longer science fiction, a near-future human mission to Mars is about to become science fact and this Fall Discovery Channel celebrates the innovation, technology and passion that will bring the voyage to fruition.
Developed and commissioned by Discovery Channel Canada, “Race to Mars” and “Mars Rising” build on the channel’s commitment to – and phenomenal success of – homegrown productions. Of the 15 new series and specials coming to Discovery Channel this season, nine are new Canadian productions, including “Against All Odds,” featuring incredible stories of real-life survival; and “Jetstream,” an adrenaline-charged from-the-cockpit series about the science and stamina required for ‘Top Gun’ pilot training. Nine out of the 15 returning series are also proudly Canadian, and viewers can look forward to new seasons of audience favourites, including “Canada’s Worst Driver,” “Guinea Pig” and “Mayday.”
And from the comprehensive look at the Red Planet to a fresh look at our own Green Planet, Discovery Channel explores the very latest technologies improving the world with Earth-focused programming. The focus on global warming has given new urgency to Discovery Channel’s ongoing commitment to celebrate and protect the planet. Now, Discovery Channel embarks on a bold global initiative, featuring new programs that celebrate the Earth, the steps being taken to protect it, and the revolutionary leaders behind these innovative safeguards. This year, watch for “Ten Ways to Save the Planet,” “Antarctica: The Inner Landscape” and “Mean Green Machines.”
Now in its second decade, Discovery Channel is a hit with Canadian viewers across key satisfaction categories. According to The 2006 TV Quality (TVQ) Survey, a national survey of audience attitudes, Discovery Channel is the No.1 specialty channel for viewer satisfaction – and it has consistently claimed top marks since the survey’s inception in 1997. From the Red Planet to the Green Planet and everything in between, Discovery Channel’s 2007-2008 season offers a blockbuster lineup that will inform, entertain and delight viewers.
Beginning this Fall, watch for 15 new series and specials including “Race to Mars,” “Mars Rising,” “The Phoenix Odyssey,” “ Pacific Wreck Abyss,” “Real Vampires,” “The Real Superhumans,” “Man Vs. Wild,” “The Science of Interrogation,” “In the Shadow of the Moon,” “Jetstream,” “Against All Odds,” “Crash Test, ” “Out in the Cold,” “Ten Ways to Save the Planet,” and “Antarctica: The Inner Landscape.”
This season, 15 popular series return to Discovery Channel including, “Canada’s Worst Driver 3,” “Daily Planet,” “MegaWorld,” “Deadliest Catch,” “Dirty Jobs,” “MythBusters,” “Future Weapons,” “How It’s Made,” “What’s That About?,” “Guinea Pig,” “Mayday,” “MegaBuilders,” “Mean Machines,” “A Haunting” and “American Chopper.”
Descriptions for both new and returning programs follow below.
Born out of exhaustive scientific research and consultation, the four-hour miniseries “Race to Mars” captures every exhilarating moment of the first human expedition to Mars – from leaving Earth’s orbit to the return voyage home. A companion documentary series, “Mars Rising,” details the work being carried out today that will make a near-future voyage to Mars a reality. Additional Mars-themed programming this Fall includes “Phoenix Odyssey,” a one-hour special chronicling the against-the-odds construction and launch of the newest Mars lander, set to blast off late this summer; and “Mars Week on Daily Planet,” an entire week themed around Earth’s nearest planetary neighbour, including exclusive behind-the-scenes footage from “Race to Mars.” Program details are as follows:
“Race to Mars” (four-hour expedition series)
In the year 2030, the race to be the first to reach the Red Planet is on – and China is leading the way. China has stunned the world by leapfrogging over America’s long-term plans and has landed a series of advanced rovers and robotic landers in their quest to make the most important discovery in history – extraterrestrial life on Mars. Once again, America and its partners, including Canada, are thrust into a winner-take-all space race – but the stakes are higher than the race to the Moon nearly seven decades earlier. The international team accelerates its plans to launch a human mission, drawing together astronauts from Canada, the United States, Russia, France and Japan for a gruelling assignment. These four men and two women must work together as a team, rise above their secret fears and struggle with the sacrifice of leaving friends and family behind. Among them, the driven mission commander who’s never known failure – until he loses one of his own to the unforgiving environment on Mars; the rational flight surgeon who discovers a new spirituality as she grapples with the magnitude of her journey; the veteran cosmonaut who knows just how many rules can be broken; the brilliant French nuclear physicist; and the Canadian astronaut who will play a key role before the end of the journey. Training and determination will get them only so far, and when this crew sets out on humanity’s first expedition to another world, nothing can prepare them for the unexpected danger and staggering wonder of what they will experience. Bringing this landmark television event to life, Michael Riley (‘Supervolcano,’ This is Wonderland) stars as astronaut Captain Rick Erwin, joined by Pascale Bussières (‘When Night is Falling’) as Jackie Decelles; Lothaire Bluteau (‘Jèsus de Montrèal,’ ‘Black Robe’) as Antoine Hebert; Claudia Ferri (‘Mambo Italiano,’ ‘Hunt for Justice’) as Lucia Alarcon; Frank Schorpion (‘One Dead Indian,’ ‘Human Trafficking’) as Mikhail Cerenkov and Kevan Ohtsji (‘Stargate SG-1’) as Hiromi Okuda.
“Mars Rising” (six-hour documentary series)
A companion to “Race to Mars,” “Mars Rising” is a six-part documentary series detailing the significant challenges facing a mission to Mars and explores the efforts being made by today’s scientists, engineers and planners to bring the mission to fruition. A human voyage to Mars will be the most ambitious and dangerous expedition ever undertaken. It will require multiple spacecraft, unparalleled ingenuity and a completely new breed of astronaut. Drawing upon thousands of hours of research, interviews with top scientists and experts around the world, and employing cutting edge CGI, “Mars Rising” will explain the science behind this complex and perilous undertaking, the reasons why we will go, the physical and psychological challenges of the mission, the critical moment of landing on the Red Planet, and the future scenario of living and working on Mars.
“Phoenix Odyssey” (one-hour special)
Go deep inside a most remarkable mission: a treasure hunt to the polar regions of Mars in search of the planet’s lost water. With unprecedented access to the science team leading this real-life mission – the first of its kind – meet Peter Smith, not a NASA scientist but a university professor with a passion for Mars. He has convinced NASA to give him US$350 million to build a space ship, pack it full of instruments, buy a rocket and head off to Mars. Smith faces an uphill battle, marked by budget cutbacks, antiquated equipment and strict information embargoes in the face of espionage and terrorism. But if all goes as planned, when the Phoenix touches down on Mars nine months, two weeks, three days, 14 minutes and 27 seconds after lift off – the rover will phone home and the quest for water – and life – on Mars will begin.
“Mars Week on Daily Planet” (theme week)
The new season of “Daily Planet” lifts off with an entire week themed around Earth’s nearest neighbour: Mars. Mars Week will feature uniquely crafted “Daily Planet” stories that look at what it might be like to travel to Mars and the latest developments in labs and on test sites throughout the world to make a Mars mission possible. “Daily Planet” will also feature exclusive behind the scenes stories from the production of Discovery Channel’s blockbuster expedition series, “Race to Mars.”
Also this Fall – back on terra firma – Discovery Channel explores the limits of human endurance and the remarkable – and seemingly inexplicable – power of the body and mind. “Against All Odds” (*working title), delves into incredible stories that happen to average people, including coming back from the dead, falling from the sky, saving others with their superhuman strength or surviving a lightning strike. In this kinetic six-part series, see how a typical human body can defy all known physical laws and survive the most dangerous events using cutting-edge science and physiology. And, in the one-hour special “The Real Superhumans,” meet real people with extraordinary powers, including a woman who can ‘taste’ music and a master painter born without eyes. These super powers transcend what it means to be human, how we use our natural senses and physical limitations – watch as the world’s leading geneticists, biologists, futurists and inventors reveal their startling perspectives on the implications of these super powers for future generations. Also this Fall, Discovery Channel sets out on a global quest to discover the origins of the vampire myth and to find out why these creatures continue to have such a hold on our imaginations with the two-hour special “Real Vampires.” Join archeologist Timothy Taylor and anthropologist Kathryn Denning on a journey that takes them from the mountains of Transylvania and the jungles of Brazil to the vampire “covens” of present-day New York, Taylor and Denning attempt to find out if there is a dark reality lurking behind the myth of this infamous creature.
For real life survival stories with a practical twist, the two-part special presentation “Man Vs. Wild” follows adventurer Bear Grylls as he strands himself in popular wilderness destinations where tourists often find themselves lost or in danger. Armed only with only the basics – a knife, a water bottle and a flint -Grylls must find his way back to civilization… alive. For adventure under the sea, the special presentation “Pacific Wreck Abyss” follows the ABYSS team’s perilous challenge is to journey to the bottom of Truk Lagoon, the watery graveyard for 5,000 men – the shipwrecks and sunken fighter planes of the Second World War. These wrecks, poignant reminders of a war torn era, are now colourful living reefs and artificial caves, ideal places to hunt for new species of marine animals.
Virtually everything we come across today has been tested to the point of destruction, from planes, trains and automobiles to buildings and bridges. And it’s all done for good reason: the constant quest to make the things we use every day safer. In “Crash Test,” witness these explosive, dramatic and visual tests; most have been filmed from every possible angle so that experts can analyze the results. In this six-part series, see how these crash tests are conducted, analyzed and improved upon to make the items we use everyday safer, stronger and more efficient.
Discovery Channel has consistently enlightened viewers about the science of their surroundings – and there is no more relevant a surrounding than the planet we humans call home. Coming in 2008, “Ten Ways To Save The Planet” is an enlightening series that aims to find innovative solutions to the planet’s most serious environmental threats by working with the globe’s leading eco-scientists to test innovative and ground-breaking ideas, including wrapping glaciers in thermal blankets to stop their melting, dropping thousands of saplings from planes in a mass reforestation effort, and painting entire towns white to reflect the sun.
Also coming in the New Year, world-renowned filmmaker Werner Herzog (‘Grizzly Man’) travels to Antarctica to capture the continent’s forbidding environment in “Antarctica: The Inner Landscape.” Working at Fang Camp, Mt. Erebus, and New Harbor Field Camp, Herzog interviews scientists and captures footage resulting in a poetic, feature-length film documentary on Antarctica, based on the idea that the continent’s volcanic activity, geological history, evolution and survival of life, represents the inner landscape of our planet. In addition, Herzog’s film explores the lesser-documented ‘strange life forms’ and the scientists who study them. And from one Pole to the other, Discovery Channel heads to the frozen North. When it’s -37 Celsius outside and the wind is howling, most people would do anything to avoid leaving their cosy homes and going to work. “Out in the Cold” profiles a handful of individuals living in the extremes of the Arctic, where going out in those mind-numbingly cold conditions is their work. Through the series, experience an unknown frontier and be fascinated at the resourcefulness of humanity and the outer limits of human endurance. And in addition to these new properties, watch for “green” themes in returning series, including “Daily Planet” and on Discovery Broadband.
In a taste of what’s to come in Winter 2008, watch for “Jetstream” and “In the Shadow of the Moon,” programming that celebrates the science of speed and space. With exclusive and unprecedented access to one of the world’s most elite jet fighter training schools in Cold Lake, Alberta, “Jetstream” chronicles the sheer grit, determination and skill it takes to survive Top Gun training – from the first day of classes to graduation. In this eight-part series, explore the state-of-the art technology reserved for only the world’s best pilots and see how this complex technology works from inside the cockpit. And, as we contemplate a mission to Mars, look back at the earlier days of the Space Race when Discovery Channel presents “In the Shadow of the Moon,” winner of the World Cinema Audience Award at Sundance and screened at the 2007 Hot Docs festival in Toronto. Of the seven billion humans on Earth, only nine of them have walked on another world and this documentary is the story of these men who have journeyed to and walked on the moon – in their own words.
Also premiering in Winter 2008, “The Science of Interrogation” reveals the finely tuned, meticulous tricks of psychology, technique and cutting edge technology in the interrogator’s arsenal, all designed to extract the truth that a prime suspect does not want uncovered. Experts with years of experience cracking the toughest of crimes; the human lie detectors who pinpoint the subtle ‘tells’ that give liars away; see footage of real criminal interrogations and meet the police officers who conducted them; and learn about the arsenal of cutting-edge technology now available to the modern interrogator.
And for viewers who enjoy the tried and true, Discovery Channel is pleased to announce the return of the marquee series that have helped build and define the channel. Continuing the quest to make Canada’s roadways safer, “Canada’s Worst Driver” returns! Hosted by Andrew Younghusband, this hit (and run) series is back for a third season this Fall as more dangerous drivers head to rehab. Watch as handpicked motor-challenged participants – each nominated by a friend, family member or colleague – are put through their paces in a controlled driving environment and evaluated by a panel of driving experts. Week by week, watch to see who earns their keys back and the right to merge back onto the open road… But if the purr of an engine is your siren song, hit the open road with the “American Chopper.” The Teutuls return for another season at their Orange County Choppers garage where the arguments fly right along with the sparks in this celebration of man and machine. When “Mean Machines” returns for a third season in 2008, there’s a big twist – and it’s a ‘green’ one! “Mean Green Machines” tracks down the toughest and meanest machines moving today, examines the construction, strength and speed of these incredible machines – then pits one against another in a battle of the best. New for season three, gear up for contests between original versions of super vehicles and their new, ‘green’ equivalents. The toughest sports cars, taxi cabs, buses, pickups, scooters, tractors, mini-cars and motorbikes will go head to head in a series of challenges that will determine which of them deserves to be crowned champion.
With tinkering that leans more towards the lab than the garage, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman are back with a new season of their runaway hit series “MythBusters,” a quirky scientific detective series that tests and validates – or debunks – urban myths. And returning in the Winter, Ryan Stock – magician, alternative circus performer and professional daredevil – is back for a second season of “Guinea Pig,” a fascinating series that sees Stock become a guinea pig in the name of science to explore the effects of various tests on the human body.
Also back this Fall, Discovery reels in a new season of “Deadliest Catch,” capturing the rugged and wild life of the Alaska King Crab fishermen during a critically short season fraught with danger and risk. And if crab fishing isn’t for you, check out the new season of “Dirty Jobs” as intrepid host and odd-job apprentice Mike Rowe meets hardworking men and women who overcome fear, danger – and often stench – to accomplish their daily tasks.
For a decidedly less dirty or deadly science fix, “Daily Planet,” Discovery Channel’s flagship science magazine, returns for a brand new season exploring the surprising, unusual and accessible science of everyday life. Host Jay Ingram and contributing columnists examine the very latest science behind the headlines and reveals the science that is everywhere. Throughout the season, “Daily Planet” will present several innovative new theme weeks, including a look at the mechanical world of robots; new technologies and developments that are helping to reduce climate change and other environmental threats; the wild inventions of out-of-the-box thinkers; and the science behind the things that fuel our need for speed. In the tradition of “Daily Planet Goes to Japan,” “Daily Planet Goes to China” and “Daily Planet Goes to India,” “Daily Planet” travels the globe to explore the latest advances in world science – and this time the crew is headed Down Under! “Daily Planet Goes to Australia” will look at the work being done with crocodiles through the Steve Irwin World Wildlife Warriors Foundation; the plight of Perth, a city threatened by a lack of water; the invasive cane toad population explosion; and Australia’s booming energy industry.
In more science specials with a world view, “MegaWorld” circles the globe to explore and highlight truly cutting edge innovations in science and technology and how these developments are changing the world and how we live in it. Destinations in development for the coming season include the Middle East to examine two powerhouse cities in the United Arab Emirates: Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Then, it’s Europe in the spotlight to examine the stunning engineering and technology achievements in Spain and Switzerland. And next it’s Australia, followed by Canada and the Western U.S.
And if you’ve ever looked at an ordinary object and wondered how it got here, “How It’s Made” returns with a new season that goes inside the process of making these familiar objects. Returning in the Winter, “What’s That About?” explores the drama, the science and the technology of seemingly familiar places, but with a view we rarely get to see. In new episodes, go behind the scenes and meet the real CSI investigators at a forensics lab; plug into the inside story of a power plant; and strap in for a hair-raising ride at a crash test facility. More interested in building it than deconstructing it? “MegaBuilders,” also returns in 2008, capturing the biggest, most complex, most stressful and most dangerous history-making builds and engineering projects around the world.
On your last commercial air flight, did you pay close attention to the cabin crew as they reviewed the plane’s safety features and emergency protocols? Never take a safe landing for granted! Returning with new episodes in the Winter, “Mayday” investigates high-profile international air disasters to reveal how and why these accidents happened. And in another forensic investigative series – but with a decidedly spooky spin – “A Haunting” chronicles the terrifying true stories of the paranormal told by those who experienced true horror tales. Returning for a fourth season this Fall, this chilling series dramatizes some of the scariest real-life ghost stories and uses the latest forensic tools to reveal a world in which tragedy, suicide and murder have left psychic impressions so powerful that they still resonate decades later.
They might not be helpful against ghosts, but host and ex-Navy SEAL Richard Machowicz “Mack” reveals the secret world of weapons development in “Future Weapons.” The third season of this series explores the science and technology that goes into making the latest weapons – and the bizarre characters that spend their lives inventing new ways to obliterate the enemy. Mack gets “hands on” with the weapons and tries them out, firing everything from smart missiles to futuristic lasers.
Looking for an even deeper, richer Discovery Channel experience this Fall? Located at DiscoveryChannel.ca Discovery Broadband is a free, premium video service that offers online viewers full-length Discovery Channel programs and exclusive bonus footage, presented on-demand and in enhanced resolution. Discovery Broadband continues to develop a series of “Big Live Events” – programming developed and produced exclusively for broadband viewers. “Big Live Events” planned for the Fall include:
Canadian in Space: Live shuttle launch from the Kennedy Space Center to the International Space Station with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams onboard.
Spot the Space Station: It’s not a bird or a plane – it’s the International Space Station! Spot the Space Station from Earth (this event will potentially include a live chat with astronauts)
Track Mars Live: This Fall, Mars will make its closest pass by Earth for several years – catch it live on Discovery Broadband!
With new episodes and exclusive broadband-only content and bonus footage being added each week, check DiscoveryChannel.ca regularly to delve deeper into favourite series. Coming this Fall, watch for special features and new content for “Daily Planet Mars Week,” “Phoenix Odyssey,” “Jetstream,” “Canada’s Worst Driver 3,” “MegaWorld” and “Guinea Pig 2.”