David Rees, the host of National Geographic Channel’s new show “Going Deep,” bills his show as a true how-to series. So it’s fitting that he spent much of his time at the Television Critics Association press tour Tuesday (July 8) teaching a roomful of reporters how to fold a paper airplane.
In between explaining the design — which came from a paper-airplane champ and is decidedly different from the ones you probably folded as a kid — Rees laid out the philosophy of his show, which is all about exploring everyday things in a new way. If you know Rees, it may be from the fact that he operates an artisanal pencil-sharpening business and has written a book about it. So he’s not messing around when it comes to the mundane.
“There’s a couple criteria for a good episode for us,” he says. “One is that if somebody sees it listed on their DVR or their episode summary, they have to think to themselves, ‘There’s no way I could learn anything about how to open a door.’ Like, ‘This must be a joke’ or ‘I know how to tie my shoes. How are we going to do 30 minutes on this?'”
Here’s how: By taking something that legitimately interests Rees — Monday’s (July 14) series premiere is about making the perfect ice cube — and exploring it to the limits of logic with the help of experts on the subject. Rees’ dry sense of humor helps too.
“I wanted to do [an episode about] how to climb a tree because when I was growing up, my mommy and daddy did not allow me to climb trees, which was a huge injustice,” Rees deadpans. “So at the end of episode, I go home, and I literally climb the childhood tree that my mom and dad didn’t let me climb. I make them sit there and watch me. It was profoundly satisfying.”
Here’s a taste of “Going Deep with David Rees,” which premieres at 10 p.m. ET/PT Monday on Nat Geo.