Tag: Television

Is ‘Sarah Palin’s Alaska’ Worth Watching, ‘Just for the Scenery’?

Jaunted checked out the new reality show and came back with an answer: “You betcha.”

‘Expedition Impossible’: Indiana Jones Meets ‘The Amazing Race’?

There’s a new travel-themed reality TV show in the works from “Survivor” producer Mark Burnett. “Expedition Impossible” will follow several three-person teams as they tackle challenges and solve problems while traveling through the wilderness areas of the world—Burnett calls it “an epic Indiana Jones-style experience.” So, fedoras and leather jackets all around? The show will air on ABC.

‘The Amazing Race’ Ends Seven-Year Emmy Streak

The travel-themed show had won every year since the reality TV category was added. This year’s upset winner? Top Chef.

‘There is Nothing Quite as Hypnotic as a Travel Show that Suggests it’s Better to Stay Home’

Alessandra Stanley finds a thread of fear and alarm in travel programs on television.

That fearfulness is perhaps fitting in an era of man-made economic decline and natural calamity—be it volcanic ash in Iceland or earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and Tibet—and the more standard travel fare on television has rarely seemed so timorous. Nowadays even the Travel Channel is hidebound and xenophobic, focusing on beaches of Florida and California, and only occasionally venturing farther abroad than hotel chains in the Caribbean.

She has half a point: Shows like “Locked Up Abroad” exist and they can give even the most intrepid traveler shivers. But a word in defense of the Travel Channel: Did she even watch the current lineup? What about this or this or this—all of which aired in the last two weeks?

‘Treme’: TV’s Best-Ever Take on New Orleans?

Slate’s Josh Levin, a NOLA native, thinks so. Our own take on the city, courtesy of contributor Adam Karlin, is here.

Schrute Farms: Fake Destination Still Garnering Fake TripAdvisor Reviews

Faux Schrute Farms debuted on TripAdvisor in 2007, right around the time that Dwight Schrute, the ninja-loving paper salesman on the U.S. version of The Office, mentioned it on an episode of the series. Like many, we had a little fun with it at the time, then forgot about it.

Turns out the fake page still exists and it has more reviews than “many major Manhattan hotels.” From the New York Times:

Many reviewers add their own funny flourishes, enhancing the show’s mythology: Mandy Pyszka from Milwaukee, who stumbled upon the TripAdvisor site while searching Google for Dwight Schrute quotes, raved about the beet pudding.

Carla Harrington of Fredricksburg, Va., was surprised to find 82 percent of reviews recommended Schrute Farms. “I thought about what it would feel like not to know them as TV characters but to really go to this B & B,” she said in an interview. Her one-star slam called Dwight “an overbearing survivalist who appears to have escaped from the local mental asylum.”

‘Fly Girls’: ‘Contrived Connivances’

Slate television critic Troy Patterson takes down the new reality show:

[Y]ou will need to stow your aesthetic judgment in the overhead compartment to enjoy “Fly Girls,” which parades the usual nonsense ... The Fly Girls’ trumped-up arguments are processed beefs. Their romantic travails are as inconsequential as the shabby guys they’re trysting with. The show fails to exploit the comedy-of-errors potential inherent to flight-attendant narratives, the coming-and-going-and-getting-laid-over farcical possibilities explored by classic texts from “Boeing Boeing” to “Three’s a Crowd.”

The Los Angeles Times’ Robert Lloyd is similarly unimpressed. Variety piles on.

Foreign Tube

international TV Photo by Tom Swick

On the pleasures of watching television in a faraway place

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Where Should Conan O’Brien Go Now?

World Hum contributor Mike Barish has some vacation ideas for the newly unemployed comedian.

‘Fly Girls’: Reality TV at 37,000 Feet

Yup, a slice of Airworld is coming to prime time. The CW has picked up eight episodes of the new reality show, which follows five Virgin America flight attendants from the air to their Los Angeles “crash pad” and beyond. The Los Angeles Times describes “Fly Girls” as having “a ‘Gossip Girl’-meets- ‘The Hills’-vibe”—which, I’ll admit, doesn’t have me rushing to write the air dates in my calendar. The same story offers some interesting points about the intersection of infomercial and entertainment on the show.

There Goes the Travel Channel’s ‘Bed and Breakfasts of New England’ Wad

So, according to the Onion, the Travel Channel is just going to have to “rely primarily on warmed-over Bermuda and Bourdain” for the rest of the fall.

It’s not the funniest thing I’ve read on the Onion, but it’s the first time I’ve been part of an organization that’s been spoofed by America’s Finest News Source.


Interview With Andrew Zimmern: Travels in a ‘Bizarre World’

Interview With Andrew Zimmern: Travels in a ‘Bizarre World’ Credit: Travel Channel, L.L.C.

Joshua Berman asks the Travel Channel host about his new show, his book, and the impact of globalization on culinary diversity

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Finding ‘Mad Men’ in Manhattan

Photo by joiseyshowaa via Flickr (Creative Commons)

With “Mad Men” mania gaining steam in the early days of season three, Travel and Leisure offers a guide to the inevitable Don Draper tourist trail. T&L’s Charlotte Savino notes the importance of the show’s setting: “[F]or many, it’s the moneyed haunts and good ol’ boy bars in Gotham that make the late-1950s and early-1960s drama so much fun to watch ... Manhattan—its energy, glamour, wealth, and, well, alcohol—plays like another character flitting around the Sterling Cooper ad agency. Manhattan is the comic foil to Don’s emptiness.”

Fair warning: The story includes some spoilers.

‘CSI: The Experience’ Comes to Vegas

‘CSI: The Experience’ Comes to Vegas Photo by ground.zero via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by ground.zero via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Well, finally. I’ve been waiting for Las Vegas to really tap into the “CSI” theme—no, the mugs and t-shirts in the cheapo gift shops on Fremont aren’t enough for me—and now the MGM Grand has obliged with a new exhibit, CSI: The Experience. Writes Jen Leo over at the Daily Deal blog: “You will act as an investigator and go through one of three crime scenes. Take notes, analyze clues and watch videos with characters from the TV show while you learn about DNA identification, firearm and toolmark identification, blood-spatter analysis, forensic entomology and more.”

Next time I make it to Vegas, I am so there. Who says learning can’t be fun?

Anthony Bourdain on Dora the Explorer

In a blog post “for Parents of Small Children Only and Otherwise Incomprehensible if Not Offensive to Others,” the “No Reservations” host holds forth on various children’s TV shows, which he watches with his 2-year-old daughter. Among the highlights: his take on one of our top fictional travelers, Dora the Explorer.

All parents must, sooner or later, come to terms with DORA THE EXPLORER and her alleged “cousin,” DIEGO. I’ve always found their relationship suspicious at best. And who is this kid, Diego, anyway? Where are his parents? How does he get to run around unsupervised in the jungle? And isn’t he too young to have a driver’s license? If not—then he’s certainly too goddamn old to be hanging out with Dora!! I do like the “Rescue Pack” song, however. And my daughter’s affection for these kissin’ cousins is unwavering. So much so that I brought her to see Dora “Live” at Radio City—which is to throw oneself into a Skittle scented mosh pit filled with thousands and thousands of screaming kids and their mothers. At every appearance of the rascally fox, “Swiper”, the walls shake like a high-pitched Nuremberg rally of sticky children, screaming “SWIPER NO SWIPING” in unison—as avidly as any cries of “Duce!” or worse. But…there’s no arguing with true love. All kids love Dora and Diego—and the sooner we resign ourselves to that, the easier it’ll go for us.

Too true. Plus, I can imagine Dora one day growing up to host a travel show of her own. No, she probably wouldn’t wear Ramones T-shirts like Bourdain. But given her appreciation for the Central American tropics, I can imagine her, like Bourdain, really digging, say, Vietnam.

‘Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre World’ Premieres Tonight—He Goes to Cuba

Andrew Zimmern’s Travel Channel series “Bizarre Foods” has evolved into Bizarre World, and it debuts tonight at 10 E/P. The first show goes where few American travel shows have gone recently: Cuba. Judging from the description of the show, it would seem that bizarre foods still have a place in “Bizarre World”:

Andrew participates in the Santeria ritual that leaves him covered in blood. He devours the biggest tree rats he’s ever seen, and he discovers how to grow world-class tobacco.

‘Central Perk’ Lands in London

OK, let’s see if I’ve got this right: A fake New York City coffee shop—you remember Central Perk, from “Friends,” right?—that never actually existed outside of a Los Angeles soundstage now has its very own functioning replica, in London? I’m guessing this is one tourist attraction they won’t even attempt to bill as “authentic.”

Dave Foley: The Sensible Traveler

The Canadian comedian, who you might remember from “Kids in the Hall” or “NewsRadio,” is the star of a new web series: The Sensible Guy’s Guide to Traveling. Each short segment shows Foley, as the ostensibly sensible traveler Bobby Fargo, offering a series of themed travel tips—and then finding himself in hot water despite his best efforts. I wasn’t busting a gut during the “unintended consequences” portions of each clip, but seasoned travelers will probably get a chuckle out of Foley’s straight-faced delivery of often-outrageous advice.

The Critics: ‘Confessions of a Travel Writer’*

So “Confessions of a Travel Writer” debuted last night, and the response—at least from the commenters on our interview with host Charles Runnette—has been ... colorful. But what did Runnette’s fellow travel writers think? I dipped into the blogs and my Twitter stream to find out.

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Continental Adds DirecTV on Domestic Flights

The system, which broadcasts live from satellite rather than airing pre-recorded programming, will be widely installed by 2011, and USA Today predicts that other legacy carriers will follow suit. The outcome for travelers: We may not be able to check a bag or drink a Diet Coke without paying an extra fee anymore, but soon we’ll be able to watch the latest episode of “Ice Road Truckers” at 37,000 feet. That makes up for everything else, right?