Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New TV Series Seeks Out Hidden Urban Spots

USA Today: Flying over the limitless urban sprawl of Los Angeles on the final approach into LAX, a young Don Wildman surveyed the scene below and pondered: Where does all the sewage go?

"I've always been very interested in how things work," he says.

Years later, Wildman continues to indulge his curiosity about the hidden underpinnings of the urban landscape. His new show, Off Limits, airing tonight on the Travel Channel, promises to "unearth the truths of our past and find their secret connections to our future."

How so?

"By piecing together the puzzle that is any city or region, questioning how these places work and exploring the hidden aspects of them in order to better understand them," he says.

In tonight's episode featuring New York City, Wildman discovers in the tidal estuary between Coney Island and Brooklyn, a 40-foot submarine built by hand in 1970. Its creator had hoped to use it to raise the sunken ocean liner Andrea Doria. (It didn't work.)

But there's a broader focus to the episode. "We're exploring the sensibility that New York is really a city of islands – 40 in all. There's this misconception that it's five boroughs on an island," he says.

Other upcoming episodes focus on Boston, St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Hawaii.

Wildman is a familiar face on reality/documentary TV, from the Travel Channel's Weird Travels to Discovery's FilthyCities. Another new Wildman venture on the Travel Channel, Mysteries at the Museum, premieres tonight at 9 p.m., followed by Off Limits at 10 p.m.

By the way, Wildman hasn't made it into the sewers of LA – yet. But he does venture into Boston's waste-water management realm in an upcoming episode.

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