NEW YORK CITY -- His friends are lions and leopards, sea lions, and seals. Explorer Bertie Gregory introduces us to them on his National Geographic show, "Epic Adventures With Bertie Gregory."
The series takes the 27-year-old host and cameraman to the four corners of the earth, and the result is informative and highly entertaining. Viewers can go on his incredible journeys without ever leaving their couch.
Gregory nurtured his interest in wildlife photography as a teenager and then developed a special talent for sharing his joy on television.
"The thing that makes me most excited is if I have no idea what's in store for us," Gregory tells viewers in the show's trailer.
And, as the title "Epic Adventures" would suggest, his journey is as important as his destination.
"What it took to get there, the conditions, the odds," Gregory said. "We want people to come along on the adventure with us, and be with us when we're failing and be with us when we're winning."
Gregory grew up watching nature shows that offered a glimpse behind the scenes during the closing credits.
He decided to take what had been an afterthought and incorporate those scenes into the main narrative of the show.
What makes this series from other shows going all the way back to "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" is that it takes viewers along for the ride.
Each episode allows the audience to feel like they are participating in the storytelling process, making the series more magical and more memorable.
The timing of the show's release is impeccable. Gregory shows viewers the wonders of the natural world so they can appreciate what we're all in danger of losing due to climate change.
"It's no secret that the natural world is in trouble because of humans," Gregory said. "And so when you see a wildlife event just on a mind-boggling scale, it's emotional."
In true explorer style, Bertie spent a month on a sailboat in Antarctica-- waiting to film.
The patience paid off when he captured what turned out to be the largest gathering of fin whales ever shown on camera.
"Each of those whales is 80 feet long, weighs as much as a fully loaded airliner, but there wasn't just one," Gregory said. "There were 300 of them."
He filmed from the air using drones and from sea level with gyro-stabilized cameras on his small boat. Then, he got in the water with them.
"It's like being on a freeway and having trucks coming past from all directions," Gregory said.
For him, the risk is clearly worth it for the reward.
"There's something about seeing wildlife on a really big scale that is just so, so magical," he said.
"Epic Adventures With Bertie Gregory" was produced by NatGeo and streams on Disney+, which are both owned by the same parent company as this station.