Post Author: Amanda Rosenblatt
San Diego, California. When mentioned, it might conjure up mental images of their iconic zoo, the beach, baseball, maybe Sea World, or even an adventurous decampment to Tijuana. In August, though, it synonymous with one phrase: Comic Con.
San Diego Comic Con is the mecca of all that is pop culture. A pilgrimage for those interested in comics, cartoons, film, TV, video games, toys, and all things science fiction. Naturally, the Syfy network (previously known as Sci-Fi) has been a mainstay at the Con for exactly ten years.
Syfy boasts a gaggle excellent and diverse programming that is constantly changing, as well as head scratching. Destination Truth is one show that is silently taking the network by storm, even beating out it´s usual predecessorGhost Hunters in ratings during Season 3.5 in the Spring.
Josh Gates, the host of the mystery travel program, can be seen as a pillar himself for his homestead network. He´s served as a vivacious SDCC panel moderator on Syfy´s behalf for years, as well as moderating at New York Comic Con in 2008 for Jay and Grant of Ghost Hunters.
"I want to begin today by talking to you about the pressures of being a Comic Con moderator," Gates tells the crowd of the packed Indigo Ballroom at the Hilton Bayfront. "This job used to be easy…it´s crazy now!"
"Every single moderator in every single panel tries to outdo every other panel," he declares in mock disgust with his finger in the air. He presses his hand to his forehead, then looks out in dismay. "How am I going to compete with Angelina Jolie?"
After some encouragement from the crowd, Gates whips out a print up of an article entitled "How NOT to Screw up a Comic Con Panel" and declares that he will follow the document to the letter. He makes crazed declarations of sexual affairs with the cast members of "Sanctuary," which the panel is being held for, and even presents an open container of beer to the show´s star, Amanda Tapping, to evoke a wild crowd response.
After the panel is over, Gates sits at a table in a quiet press room just outside of Indigo, where someone prior has laid out their pack of cigarettes. He quips if he can have a smoke before the interview and fidgets with a Sharpie in his hand, used just moments ago to make out autographs.
"We did an episode in Micronesia on an island that´s now called Chuuk…an underwater episode with a Japanese fleet from World War II," Gates proclaims when asked about his favorite location for his recent filming trek. "I´m a dive nut and it´s just some of the best wreck diving in the world."
"The worst illness I´ve had in the history of this show is this season, actually," the host says. "in Micronesia, as well, on a different island called Pohnpei."
"A lot of vomiting," he states with a chuckle. "We have some of it on film, I´m not sure if it´s gonna make air."
The day before his panel moderating duties, in the hallway of San Diego´s Hard Rock Hotel, Gates is at a meet and greet planned for a few diehard fans of the show. Kris and Amy of Ghost Hunters are also present, along with DT´s medic from Season 3, Rex, and a surprise pop-in from Colin Ferguson of Eureka.
Gates leads the pack over to a PinkBerry connected to the hotel and announces he´s treating everyone who showed up to yogurt with all the trimmings. While waiting in line, he signs autographs and talks about his dismay with not being at Comic Con the day prior to see the Quantum Leap panel.
Upon purchasing sweets for his fans, he speaks to a few of them as they ask random questions. "Oh, it´s totally scary that we´re up there by ourselves now," he states upon being asked about DT´s move from Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. to Thursday nights at 9 p.m..
The change in the show´s slot means Ghost Hunters won´t be preceding it, which is a risk factor for DT´s ratings. Gates is well aware of this fact, which all the more adds to his humility factor during this particular Con.
Cut to a Sunday afternoon. The sunny Gaslamp Quarter is just as crowded as it´s been the last four days of Comic Con.
Though the streets are just as congested as ever with pedestrian traffic, wistfulness is heavy. The phrase "I can´t believe it´s over already" seems commonplace around the diversely dressed crowd of fans.
Inside the Cafe Diem, a staple location for all things Syfy, it´s the morning after the Syfy/Entertainment Weekly party. Gates, whose wearing Ray Ban Aviators indoors, sits at a table with Kris, as well as his Production Coordinator Danny and Allison Scagliotti of Warehouse 13.
Gates looks at the waitress in a Syfy shirt who comes to their table, which coincidentally has a giant DT ad hung over it on the wall, and asks what the best item on the menu is. She replies back that she likes the tacos a little bit.
A smile forms on Gates´ face and he points to the tacos on the menu. "These tacos? They´re named after my show." The waitress nods slightly but looks confused.
"Oh. So you want the tacos?" Even when your show is able to pull in 2.5 million viewers, you´re still capable of having a bad day, it seems. The TV host grimaces slightly and closes the menu. "Just a water for now, please."
Destination Truth returns to Syfy on September 9th at 9/8c, right after an all-day marathon of the show from 8 in the morning leading up to the Season Four premiere episode. Amanda Rosenblatt is a freelance writer and has been published on NoControl before.