2007, TV

Long Way Down (2007)

The sequel to Long Way Round is another excellent adventure travel documentary series featuring the same lovable cast of characters (i.e. a movie star, his far less famous friend, a Swiss camera man and some producers). This time they head from the top of Scotland to South Africa. There are similarities to the two series, sure, but there are a surprising number of differences.

One of the things I like most about these series – and which they have in common with Michael Palin’s excellent TV travel shows – is how human McGregor and Boorman are. They are flawed people just like you and me and this arguably comes out even more in this series, in which they spent an annoying amount of time complaining about the choices they made about their schedule. Yes, it’s annoying, but it’s also real. And it represents a distinct difference from Long Way Round – for much of this trip their main enemy isn’t so much the terrain and the elements as it is each other. It isn’t really until they encounter a physical challenge like the ones they encountered in the first show that they stop the infighting. It’s fascinating.

Though I really like the first series, I found this series gave me the travel bug much more. And I think it’s because these countries are relatively accessible to me post-pandemic. Jenn and I were thinking of going to Ethiopia or Namibia (or one or two other places) before the pandemic. Seeing them through this show just makes us miss traveling all the more.

The show is full of the usual incredible struggles with nature and the friendly people that travelers inevitably find on trips like this. It’s also got a lot more wildlife than the first one. So if that’s your thing, you’ll like this one more.

They are both really worth watching if you like travel documentaries. Long Way Round feels like the harder accomplishment but this has plenty of cool moments. And lots and lots of gorgeous scenery.


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