Going Wild Discovery Explores the Wonders of 'North America'

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), May 17, 2013 | Go to article overview

Going Wild Discovery Explores the Wonders of 'North America'


Byline: Kate O'Hare Zap2it By Kate O'Hare Zap2it

Every year, residents of North America shell out Canadian and U.S. dollars, Mexican pesos, Costa Rican colons and so forth to hop on planes or cruise ships to explore the wonders of South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania, in search of spectacular natural landscapes and impressive wildlife. What many of them don't realize is that they don't have to cross an ocean -- or even much more than the Panama Canal -- to get just that.

Over seven parts airing between Sunday, May 19, and Sunday, June 16, Discovery Channel aims to enlighten these folks with the natural history documentary "North America," narrated by Tom Selleck and executive produced by Keith Scholey, with Brit Huw Cordey as series producer. The song "Army of One" by American rock group Bon Jovi is the theme of the series.

Shooting over three years, in locations ranging from the Canadian tundra to the tropical rain forests of Panama, the "North America" film crew spent 2,830 days on 250 separate expeditions, using 11 types of cameras -- including ultra-high-speed and submarine ones -- to create more than 850 hours of footage.

As for why he's including lands south of Mexico as part of North America, Cordey says, "That's a good question. It's one that we've had to deal with quite a bit over the making of the series. But the important thing to realize is that this was the continent of North America. There is no continent of Central America. North America, as a continent, starts in Panama.

"Three million years ago, the two continents, North and South, joined at Panama. That's the blink of an eye in geological time. So when we were looking at the continent of North America, it goes from Panama all the way to northern Canada."

The first five episodes reveal intimate stories of animals, from the elusive desert jaguars of Mexico to grizzly bears diving after salmon in Alaska. That's followed by a "Making Of" episode that chronicles the challenges of the production team, which included battling Hurricane Irene. The final installment reveals which natural location online voters chose as their favorite via Discovery's "My North America" Facebook page. …

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