Although stories about previously unknown, ancient treasures and unveiled mysteries are usually seen as fictional fantasies, those same topics are exactly what makes “Expedition Unknown” so endearing. While the show takes us to the most fantastic and historically meaningful places around the world, what has really been keeping us engrossed with it for years it’s discovering the biggest secrets history has in store for us, which wouldn’t otherwise be possible.
“Expedition Unknown”s premise is very unique and so are the show’s settings, format and approach to topics. However, knowing how well produced and planned it is, it makes us wonder about things we aren’t able to see on-screen.
For this we have prepared a list of the less known facts about the show, including interesting bits about its host Josh Gates, his crew and what they’ve discovered so far. This is the unknown truth about “Expedition Unknown”.
- 1 Josh Has An Impressive Career
- 2 Filming Takes A Long Time
- 3 The Most Dangerous Place
- 4 Unexpected News While Filming
- 5 Humor Doesn’t Always Go As It Should
- 6 Food Is Not Always Safe To Consume
- 7 Josh Married A Co-Star
- 8 Josh Gates Famous Necklace
- 9 How Topics Are Selected
- 10 What Josh Has To Say About William Shatner
- 11 The Reason They Went On Exploring Sharks
- 12 The Reason It Has Many Spin-Offs
Josh Has An Impressive Career
Just in case you have missed it, Josh Gates has an impressive career both in and outside the entertainment industry. A native of Massachusetts and born into a British-American family, Josh graduated from Tufts University with a degree in Archeology and Drama.
Although the fields are an uncommon combination, his professional background has allowed him to incorporate both. His debut on TV happened back in 2002, when he made short appearances in the ESPN’s game show “Beg, Borrow & Deal” and other TV productions. His big time finally came in 2007 with “Ghost Hunters” and “Destination Truth”, which became Syfy’s most watched show for a while.
While his career as an actor is less well-known, it’s not non-existent either, having played roles in low-budget movies such as “Party Foul” in 2003, and “Hard Cell” in 2007.
Josh has also been involved with the production of many of the series he’s hosted, including “Stranded” and “Legendary Locations”.
Though Josh’s background as an archaeologist has allowed him to develop the proper experience to be his show’s investigator, his involvement with paranormal-related and myth-hunter shows make him a very multi-faceted TV personality as well.
Filming Takes A Long Time
As expected, when it comes to a show so well planned and shot on location like “Expedition Unknown” is, filming could take unexpectedly long periods of hard work.
As it happens, in “Expedition Unknown” we’re used to seeing Josh and his experts travel around the world. Though that would be genuinely enjoyable for almost everyone, transporting the camera crew and production staff to those places usually takes weeks or even months of preparation, besides the normal time filming takes.
All in all, it’s said that to produce every season of “Expedition Unknown”, the crew take 200 days a year, out of which hundreds of hours are spent in airplanes and other transport, as Josh affirms.
The Most Dangerous Place
For those who are used to seeing Josh Gates shenanigans in the show, it’s hard to think of naming only one place as the most life-endangering.
However, Josh’s closest call was definitely in Myanmar. It happened back in 2015, when he and his crew were filming the episode “Curse Of The Golden Bell” in the search for an ancient and lost artifact which took him to the depths of the Yangon River. While Josh is a professional scuba diver, he didn’t consider the difficulties that entailed swimming in such muddy waters.
The lack of visibility caused by the heavy pollution and strong currents made his mission to find King Dhammazedi’s Great Bell impossible.
As he affirms, diving there was like ‘working with a blindfold on, feeling around underwater’ and despite his initial enthusiasm, the conditions were not only just too dangerous, but actually the worst he’d ever experienced.
All in all, desisting from it was a good idea, especially considering how many people have actually died in the Yangon River while looking for the Great Bell.
Unexpected News While Filming
It’s nothing out of the normal for TV casts to be in contact with their families while filming, especially for shows like “Expedition Unknown”, in which the crews have to spend long periods traveling and away from their loved ones.
As it comes, Josh Gates was given one of the best news items of his life while filming the show. It was back in season two, when Josh and his crew were in Portugal filming the episode “Secrets of Christopher Columbus”, as he was phoned by his wife to tell him they were having a baby.
The exact moment in which an overly excited and emotional Josh informs people around him that he was going to become a dad for the first time, was filmed and included in the episode.
Later in season four, again while on the road with the “Expedition Unknown”s crew, Josh was informed that he was going to become a father for a second time; he wasn’t filmed, we can clearly imagine his reaction.
Humor Doesn’t Always Go As It Should
Despite being an investigation-centered show, “Expedition Unknown” always has a little touch of humor to make everything lighter.
However, despite how entertaining and light-hearted Josh Gates’ jokes are to us, he affirms that being funny isn’t his strongest skill. According to him, his attempt at humor ‘falls flat all the time’, but it’s admittedly his way of not only keeping the audience’s attention, but to make the work environment easier to endure during situations hard to deal with.
Despite the extensive planning the show’s staff does, things in “Expedition Unknown” don’t always go as they should while filming, so joking and trying to lift everyone’s spirits on set is considered important in Josh’s perspective. That positive approach is probably appreciated by his fellow co-workers, and the audience surely enjoys seeing and hearing it.
Food Is Not Always Safe To Consume
For a show such as “Expedition Unknown”, unexpected problems related to environmental factors occur quite often. As is obvious, the crew usually deals with problems just fine, but there are times in which things get so out of hand that it could endanger the cast’s wellbeing.
The latter situation happened during the fourth season, when the crew was in Ecuador filming “Hunt for the Metal Library”, and had to spend a long time enclosed in a cave. While the crew was prepared beforehand to successfully face the conditions of said environment, having to eat in a place where there were many animals had its consequences.
This resulted in three members of the show’s crew falling sick for consuming bat’s excrement that somehow had fallen on their food. While their health’s condition didn’t worsen and their sickness was actually not as serious as it sounds, it’s enough to give us an idea of how far the show goes to keep the cameras rolling.
Josh Married A Co-Star
As should be obvious, Josh Gates’ work schedule has been very hectic since he made his TV debut. Knowing he spends a significant part of his life on set, it’s understandable that he ended up meeting his significant other half there as well.
As it happened, Josh and his then wife-to-be Hallie Gnatovich met on the set of his formerly-hosted show “Destination Truth”, for which she worked as an off-camera researcher. Though details about their relationship are unknown, in 2014 they tied the knot, and have since welcomed two children together.
Despite Josh’s celebrity status, he and Hallie have carefully kept their children’s privacy, by not revealing their names or faces to the public. Regardless of their choice maintaining their private, their relationship always looked blissful from the outside, that is until Hallie announced in August 2021 that she and Josh had been separated for ‘a year and half’. In her words, their divorce had been officialized just a couple of months before, and both of them were still trying to figure out their shared parenthood and separate lives.
Josh Gates Famous Necklace
One never gets surprised enough when it comes to celebrities and things their fans do for them. Although Josh Gates’ personality is pretty much on the humble and chill side, some of the weirdest aspects of being famous is the fact that his necklace ,which he usually wears in the show, has become quite popular as well.
— Josh Gates (@joshuagates) June 30, 2021
If you don’t believe us, you only have to look up “Josh Gates Necklace” on Facebook, and see it for yourself. As it turns out, the page is very active and usually updates “Expedition Unknown” fans on Josh’s shenanigans.
While the aforementioned accessory has been described as ‘not magical’ by Josh, seeing that its page has over 3,000 fans and keeps growing, it makes us question if his words are actually untrue.
How Topics Are Selected
Seeing that “Expedition Unknown”s main premise is that of pursuing and unveiling ancient mysteries, it’s only expected that a lot of research takes place prior to letting its crew adventure into often unknown territory.
There are certain aspects which play a big role while choosing what and where the show’s crew is going to explore. While every myth could be interesting enough to be considered, what catches the show’s research team’s attention is if the stories indeed have substance, or as Josh describes it, if they have ‘meat on the bone’.
With the help of international archaeologists and experts in other fields, Josh and his crew follow the leads that actually lead to something instead of simply being completely unproven.
Besides the obvious pre-research that they go through, logistics and resources are factors not to be left aside. However, according to Josh, he and the show’s crew go on their adventures without knowing a great deal about what is going to happen in the end, which obviously makes the whole deal more interesting for both them and the audience.
What Josh Has To Say About William Shatner
Throughout the years, “Expedition Unknown” has surely given us many memorable moments. Out of those, one of the most interesting was shown in the series’ spin-off, “Shark Trek”, featuring William Shatner.
Of course, this sort of tribute to “Star Trek” was unexpected considering the show’s usual concept. Despite that, the challenges encountered by Josh Gates’ crew along the way turned out as an extraordinary experience for everyone.
However, if there’s something that stuck in our heads it was how easily William adapted to the show. It wasn’t only us who noticed it though, as Josh admitted himself that besides being an amazing co-star, William’s genuine interest made everything more enjoyable.
According to Josh, what made William’s a memorable partner was definitely his willingness to ‘tackle and understand’ his fear, in order to ultimately conquer it. Those are qualities which surely an expedition expert such as Josh appreciates a lot, and will make us remember the special show with a smile for a long time.
The Reason They Went On Exploring Sharks
As entertaining as “Expedition Unknown: Shark Trek’ was, at first many people were surprised to find that the series would continue exploring sharks, which was an admittedly unusual topic for a series mostly focused on uncovering other types of mysteries.
While the reaction is understandable, there were actually good reasons for this objective. As Josh explained, more than just going on a trip looking for sharks, his main focus was to explore human’s fearful attitude towards the unknown. In his words, the common fear towards these animals is partially caused by the media’s influence, films such as “Jaws”, and prejudices based on their appearance. However, by examining these sea creatures, Josh wanted to not only understand them, but to debunk the many misconceptions surrounding the species.
Needless to say, Josh’s intentions with the show are well appreciated by the audience, and surely by environmentalists as well.
The Reason It Has Many Spin-Offs
“Expedition Unknown” has spawned several spin-off mini-series over the years, including titles such as “Hunt For The Yeti” and “Egypt Live”, which makes us feel happy to see it becoming a successful franchise.
However, while these aforementioned series were meant to show specific expeditions made by the crew in a deeper way, for the last couple of years, long-running spin-offs “Josh Gates Tonight” and “Expedition X” have also been released.
The reasoning behind creating these series in this new format, is a matter of adapting to the several regulations related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made it difficult to produce “Expedition Unknown” in the same way we were used to.
Traveling and filming is also a big concern for the show’s production team for the same reason, but they’ve at least continued to produce content for the franchise until the situation improves. That’s a relief for fans, who still wait for “Expedition Unknown”s return to TV screens as it was previously.